Partners of the Americas has been engaged in the Summits of the Americas process since 1994, coordinating and expanding the role of civil society before, during, and after the Summit. Partners believes that an active civil society is vital to ensuring that solutions benefit all sectors of society.
Partners' history of engagement in the Summit of the Americas
Partners led a consultative process of civil society organizations in preparation for the III Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City in April 2001 resulting in the formulation of 243 recommendations on democracy and participation offered to Summit organizers.
In 2004, Partners of the Americas convened public forums on pressing issues addressed in the Summits of the Americas. Hundreds of people participated in the events that were held in San Antonio, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Davis, California; Chicago, Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts; and Raleigh, North Carolina. The forums provided a space for students, Partners volunteers, artists, teachers, former Peace Corps workers, civil society organization members, and others to begin this task by dialoguing and deliberating about a range of key issues facing the Americas.
In 2005, Partners facilitated theme-based virtual deliberative forums on Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendants, transparency/anti-corruption, sustainable development/environment, peace building, citizen participation, education, democracy and political parties, and labor. The results were shared with governments and civil society at the IV Summit of the Americas in Argentina to strengthen participation of minority groups in the OAS and Summits process.
As part of a hemispheric follow-up strategy to the Summit of the Americas in Quebec in 2001, Partners of the Americas was one of 22 civil society organizations from 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere that worked together to assess that status of implementation of five democracy-related commitments made by the regionís governments in the Quebec Summit of the Americas Plan of Action. The findings from the investigation were published in the US in a national report and throughout the hemisphere in a regional report.
In addition, to strengthen CSO participation in the inter-American system, Partners produced a guide for CSOs on conducting advocacy in the OAS and Summits process, and a case study publication on lessons learned from national-level advocacy and the impact of the Summits on national politics. These publications are useful tools for with civil society organizations, governments, and the OAS in order to fulfill the objectives of the Summits of the Americas and to increase the participation of civil society and citizens throughout the inter-American system.
In 2009, Partners convened nine outstanding youth to participate in the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. For the first time in Summit history, youth were given a platform on which they could come together and contribute to the process through a separate youth forum. During the forum, youth discussed various ideas and decided upon recommendations to give to the delegates at the main Summit. Partners' youth delegates led world-wide webchats, answering live questions from youth across the globe, many of which addressed the Youth Forum as well as questions about engaging youth volunteers in the Western Hemisphere. Partnersí youth delegate Marianne Bernatzky (Uruguay) was elected to be one of four youth to present the Summit Youth Forum Declaration to 34 foreign ministers, ambassadors and representatives. Read Carolina Escobar's report (in spanish).