FORUM FOR THE PROGRESS AND INTEGRATION OF SOUTH AMERICA (PROSUR)
On September 25, 2019, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Paraguay, as well as a representative from Guyana met in New York, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, to follow up on the implementation of the Forum for the Progress and Integration of South America (PROSUR), an initiative launched at the meeting of South American presidents held in Santiago on March 22, 2019.
At the New York meeting the Forum's first ministerial declaration was issued whereby the Ministers adopted the Guidelines for the Functioning of the Forum for the Progress and Integration of South America (PROSUR), a mechanism idealized as a new space of regional dialogue for strengthening relations and cooperation among South American states. PROSUR will be built upon a commitment to fundamental values, such as the defense of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
INFORMATION ON THE GUIDELINES FOR THE FUNCTIONING OF PROSUR:
FORMAT AND "STATUS" OF THE GUIDELINES (numeral 13.7):
Adopted by the first statement by the PROSUR Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Guidelines are declarative, of a political nature, and do not create legal obligations under international law.
DEMOCRATIC CLAUSE AND RULE OF LAW (numeral 3 and numeral 11.4):
The Guidelines establish as an essential prerequisite for participation in PROSUR the defense of the Rule of law, representative democracy, free elections, the separation of powers, human rights, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. As provided for by numeral 11.3, it is possible to adopt the “suspension of a participating country due to non-compliance with the essential requirements for participation in PROSUR, established in numeral 3”. The eventual suspension will be decided in the Presidential Summit by a majority of 2/3 of the countries.
A light structure was devised, without headquarters, a General Secretariat and a budget. The work will be coordinated by the Pro Tempore Presidency – PTP (numeral 7), to be exercised annually, on a rotating basis, by each participating country. The Guidelines establish the formation of a “Troika” to support the PTP (numeral 7.2.3). Annual meetings of Heads of State or Government are suggested, within the framework of the Presidential Summit (numeral 5), and the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (numeral 6). It would be up to the Presidential Summit to adopt the declarations of the Forum, following a proposal by the Ministers. In numeral 8, the designation of national coordinators is established.
OBJECTIVES, THEMATIC AREAS AND WORKING GROUPS (numeral 4.2 and numeral 9):The mechanism will also act based on the formation of Working Groups (and subgroups, if necessary) for specific topics, as formally decided by the Foreign Ministers. There are six WGs: infrastructure (which includes public works, transportation and telecommunications); energy; health; defense; security and fighting crime; and disasters. The activities of the WGs should count on the support of IDB-INTAL, which will develop, at no cost, two digital platforms: a website and a PROSUR digital community.
OBSERVERS (numeral 10 - participation):
South American states that may show interest in participating in PROSUR in the future may temporarily join – as observers of the Presidential Summit and the Meeting of Ministers – until unanimous approval of their accession by the Heads of State. The prerequisite is respect for the parameters of numeral 3 (democratic clause).
QUORUM OF MEETINGS:
The Councils of Presidents and Ministers may meet with the presence of the majority of countries. The WGs quorum would be smaller: attendance of at least half of the members that make up each group.
DECISION MAKING AND OPERATION (numeral 11 - adoption of declarations and determinations):
Summit and Ministerial meetings will adopt their determinations (of an essentially political nature) by an absolute majority of member countries. In addition, they may adopt their own internal procedures. As noted earlier, the suspension of a participating country would be decided by the Presidents by a majority of 2/3 of the countries. Only eventual changes to the “Operational Guidelines” should require the consensus format.
VARIOUS PROVISIONS (numeral 13):
PROSUR starts to work with the adoption of the Guidelines by at least five countries, a fact that took place in NY, on 9/25/19. Any participant can stop participating in the Forum and must only communicate their interest to the President Pro Tempore. Such manifestation will take effect 60 days after its communication to the other participants.