August 28, 2020
coronavirus

President Piñera leads Prosur meeting to strengthen regional cooperation

President Piñera leads Prosur meeting to strengthen regional cooperation
On Thursday, President Sebastián Piñera led a meeting of leaders of the Forum for the Progress and Development of South America (PROSUR) to continue to strengthen political dialogue and regional cooperation in the face of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the meeting, the countries issued the following declaration:

The Heads of State of the Republic of Chile, the Republic of Colombia, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, the Republic of Paraguay and the Republic of Peru, along with the Vice President of the Republic of Ecuador, the Foreign Ministers of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Plurinational State of Bolivia as Observatory States and the Undersecretary of Foreign Relations of the Republic of Uruguay as an Invited Country, participated in a video conference presided over by Chile, as the country that holds the PROSUR Pro Tempore Presidency, on Thursday, August 27, 2020. In that context, the Presidents:

Concerned with the serious threat and impact that the rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the health, safety and wellbeing of the global population, particularly in the South American region,

Aware of the challenge that effective, accessible and equitable global treatment and vaccination for COVID-19 poses, 

Highlighting the importance of multilateralism in the fight against the pandemic and the importance of governments’ role in the development, implementation and monitoring of effective and timely responses to the scourge of COVID-19, 

Aware of the importance of international cooperation, solidarity and the role that regional mechanisms and agencies play in providing joint and timely responses to the complex health, economic, social and humanitarian challenges that we face due to the pandemic, 

Reaffirming the contents of the two “PROSUR Presidential Declarations on Joint Actions to Address the Coronavirus Pandemic”, 

WE DECLARE THAT WE:

1.- Promote regional cooperation in order to achieve universal, equitable and timely access to the future COVID-19 vaccine in South America, recognizing it as a global public good and coordinating efforts that favor its joint purchase and the transfer of technology for its local production. 

2.- Urgently promote the work begun by the five PROSUR Ad-hoc Working Groups established in the context of the pandemic to promote spaces for dialogue, coordination and consensus around epidemiological information, migration and borders, access to international credit, the free transit of goods and joint purchases of medical supplies.

3.- Value the work developed by the various agencies and officials responsible for cooperation of PROSUR member states, who have engaged in a dialogue process to generate spaces of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, particularly in regard to promoting scholarships and training courses in the field of health. 

4.- Act in a coordinated manner to implement, as appropriate and based on the reality of each country, processes for reopening borders to individuals through an organized, safe and regular migratory process that facilitates the return of co-nationals of the region to their countries of origin and residence. To this end, we have created a Working Group composed of the officials that each country designates, which is to present its proposals within ten days.

5.- Continue to combat contraband and transnational organized crime, which impact the countries’ economic reactivation, through efficient and effective joint actions. 

6.- Highlight the role that International Financial Institutions (IFIs) play in promoting greater technical and financial support for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to address the health, social, economic and humanitarian consequences associated with COVID-19.

7.- Strengthen joint work with the United Nations System, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in support of national health systems and regarding the development, production and distribution of treatments and vaccines along with maintaining international supply chains of goods, equipment and medications for the countries of our region. 

8.- Take note of the initiatives developed by PROSUR member states regarding the assessment of the role of and response to the pandemic provided by the WHO and PAHO and promote the proposal advanced by Chile in the context of the WHO to adopt a “Global Multidimensional Pandemic Preparation and Response Instrument”.

9.- Reaffirm our willingness to continue acting in concert to provide effective responses to the health challenges posed by the pandemic through concrete actions such as strengthening regional epidemiological surveillance observatories.

10.- Reiterate our gratitude for the important cooperation and technical assistance work that the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB-INTAL) has provided for the various activities of PROSUR, particularly those related to joint work around COVID-19.

11.- Thank the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, the Director of PAHO, Carissa Etienne, and the Regional Director for the UNDP for Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Felipe López Calva, for participating in and contributing to the meeting.

12.- Agree to the exceptional extension of the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Republic of Chile through December 12, 2020 with the purpose of making progress on actions to address COVID-19. The Presidential Summit will be held on that date and the Pro Tempore Presidency will be transferred to the Republic of Colombia, which will have that role for one year, through December 2021. The Republic of Paraguay will then take over that role.

13.- Express our gratitude to the Government of Chile and to the Government of Colombia for taking the initiative to call the meeting and for their commitment to monitoring the agreements reached.