Powell at the Summit Implementation Review Group
Intervention at the Summit Implementation Review Group
Secretary Colin L. Powell Santiago, Chile June 9, 2003
Mr. Chairman, let me congratulate on you assuming the chairmanship of our summit process and join with other in expressing my thanks to Bill Graham and the Government of Canada for the fine job they have done over the last several years. Distinguished colleagues, t wo years ago, at the last summit of the Americas in Quebec, President Bush spoke of the constant effort developed and developing countries alike must make to improve our governments and societies. "Democracy," he said, "is a journey, not a destination."
As we implement the summit agenda that our heads of state and government set forth in Quebec, all of our citizens journey farther along the path to a better future. The principle guiding our work at each summit of the Americas is now enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which states that democracy, social investment, and economic development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Each of our leaders recognizes that the prosperity of our democracies, young or old, large or small, depends on the well being of our hemispheric neighbors and the close relationships we forge with one another.
Let me mention just a few of the innovative ways my government is following through on our Quebec commitments: You may recall that in April 2001 in Quebec, President Bush launched a $20 million public-private partnership initiative to help establish regional centers of excellence for teacher training. The first three centers have been set up in Peru, Jamaica and Honduras and will train over 4,000 teachers by the end of 2004.
Last year, my government devoted over $34 million to projects that foster judicial reform and promote the rule of law. In particular, we strongly support the justice studies center of the Americas, located here in Santiago, and we hope the center can count on the same commitment from others in the region. We have concluded debt-for-nature agreements with El Salvador, Belize and Peru under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act. Taken together, these swaps have reduced debt by $42.2 million, generating $33.6 million for conservation.
The Inter-American E-Business Fellowships Program, which President Bush also launched at Quebec, already has provided over 5,000 hours of training for business executives from across Latin America and the Caribbean. E-business alumni have begun to establish networks and apply lessons learned to their own companies. Each of these efforts has resulted in real people receiving real benefits from the Summit of the Americas process. We are proud of our contributions, and we will make more in the months and years ahead.
President Bush's groundbreaking Millennium Challenge Account initiative holds great promise for countries in the hemisphere. If fully funded, by 2006 the initiative would add 50% to our core development assistance funding level of 2002. From 2006 onward, we would put $5 billion per year in the Millennium Challenge Account. The Millennium Challenge Account could, for example, supply the seed capital to extend credit to microbusinesses. It could provide Internet access to craftspeople so they can sell their goods online, and otherwise help hardworking men and women of the hemisphere harvest the self-respect that comes with earning a decent living. The Millennium Challenge Account could also help developing countries carry through on needed reforms.
The upcoming special summit in Mexico is an important opportunity to bring democracy's promise home to the people of our hemisphere. As my government sees it, this special summit should provide concrete answers to one key question: What specifically can we do to create opportunity for all of our citizens? This question goes to the heart of democratic government.
Good government ensures that people-all people- have the opportunity to contribute to the life of their country and to create a better future for themselves and their children. Good government is police and courts that are trustworthy defenders of rights. Good government is economic policies that create stability, free markets and clear and equitable rules so that small entrepreneurs and large investors alike can build their businesses with confidence. Good government is providing access to education, basic health care services and credit, so that the least powerful of our citizens are empowered to achieve their dreams.
We must use the special summit to spur us forward: toward more responsive, accountable and transparent government, toward wise investments in social programs, and toward growth-generating economic policies. In short, the special summit can help us give the Inter-American Democratic Charter real meaning for the men and women of this hemisphere. And the United States looks forward to working with each our summit partners to ensure that it does. [End]