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Member states of the Union of South American Nations.
Political centres Ecuador Quito[1]
Bolivia Cochabamba[1]
Official languages
Demonym South American
Membership
Government Continental union
 -  President pro tempore Ecuador Rafael Correa
Formation
 -  Cusco Declaration 8 December 2004 
 -  Constitutive Treaty 23 May 2008 
Area
 -  Total 17,731,457 km2 
6,846,154 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 8.91[2]
Population
 -  2008 estimate 387.948 million[3] 
 -  Density 21.9/km2 (192nd)
56.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $4.066 trillion[3] (4th)
 -  Per capita $9,736[3] (77th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $2.879 trillion[3] (5th)
 -  Per capita $7,421[3] (68th)
Currency
Time zone (UTC-2 to -5)
Internet TLD
Website
UNASUR

The Union of South American Nations (Dutch: About this sound Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties - UZAN, Portuguese: União de Nações Sul-Americanas - UNASUL, Spanish: Unión de Naciones Suramericanas - UNASUR) is an intergovernmental union integrating two existing customs unions: Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations, as part of a continuing process of South American integration. It is modeled on the European Union.

The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty was signed on May 23, 2008, at the Third Summit of Heads of State, held in Brasília, Brazil, but not as of yet ratified by the required ninth nation. [4] According to the Constitutive Treaty, the Union's headquarters will be located in Quito, Ecuador. The South American Parliament will be located in Cochabamba, Bolivia, while the headquarters of its bank, the Bank of the South (Dutch: Bank van het Zuiden, Portuguese: Banco do Sul, Spanish: Banco del Sur), will be located in Caracas, Venezuela.[5] The Union's former designation, the South American Community of Nations (Dutch: About this sound Zuid-Amerikaanse Statengemeenschap , Portuguese: Comunidade Sul-Americana de Nações, and Spanish: Comunidad de Naciones Suramericanas), abbreviated as CSN, was dropped at the First South American Energy Summit on April 16, 2007.[6]

Contents

Overview

At the Third South American Summit on 8 December 2004, presidents or representatives from 12 South American nations signed the Cusco Declaration, a two-page statement of intent announcing the foundation of the South American Community. Panama and Mexico attended the signing ceremony as observers.

The group announced their intention to model the new community after the European Union including a common currency, parliament, and passport. According to Allan Wagner Tizón, former Secretary General of the Andean Community, a complete union like that of the EU should be possible by 2019.

The mechanics of the new entity came out of the First South American Community of Nations Heads of State Summit, which was held in Brasília on 29 September–30 September 2005. An important operating condition of UNASUR is that no new institutions will be created in the first phase, so as not to increase bureaucracy, and the community will use the existing institutions belonging to the previous trade blocs.

Name change

On 28 December 2005, Chilean former foreign minister Ignacio Walker proposed that the name of the community be changed to South American Union (Dutch: Zuid-Amerikaanse Unie, Portuguese: União Sul-Americana, Spanish: Unión Sudamericana); nevertheless, many members stated to him that that proposal had already been rejected to prevent confusion related to its acronym (U.S.A. in comparison to the United States of America).

The name was finally changed on April 16, 2007 to "Union of South American Nations" (Dutch: Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties, Portuguese: União de Nações Sul-Americanas, Spanish: Unión de Naciones Suramericanas), abbreviated "UNASUR" in Spanish and "UNASUL" in Portuguese. The new name was jointly agreed by all member states during the first day of meeting at the South American Energy Summit held at Isla Margarita, Venezuela.

Structure

Extraordinary Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Union of South American Nations, held in Brasília.

At the moment, the provisional structure of the UNASUR is as follows:

  • The presidents of each member nation will have an annual meeting, which will be the superior political mandate. The first meeting was in Brasília (Brazil) on September 29 and September 30, 2005. The second meeting was in Cochabamba (Bolivia) on December 8 and December 9, 2006. The third meeting was held in Brasília on May 23, 2008.
  • The ministers of foreign affairs of each country will meet once every six months. They will formulate concrete proposals of action and of executive decision. The President of the Mercosur's permanent representatives committee and the director of the Mercosur's department, the Andean Community's general secretary, ALADI's general secretary and the permanent secretaries of any institution for regional cooperation and integration, Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization among others, will also be present at these meetings.
  • A Secretary General would be elected, to establish a permanent secretariat in Quito, Ecuador.
  • Sectorial Ministers' meeting will be called upon by the presidents. The meetings will be developed according to Mercosur's and CAN's mechanisms.
  • The temporary Presidency will be held for a year and will rotate among the member countries between each UNASUR meeting. According to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue[7] (Dutch: Besluiten Bereikt in de Politieke Dialoog, Portuguese: Decisões Tomadas no Diálogo Político, Spanish: Decisiones Alcanzadas en el Diálogo Político), which was signed during the I South American Energy Summit, a general permanent office will be created and this will be hosted in Quito, Ecuador.
  • On December 9, 2005 a special commission was established in charge of advancing the process of South American Integration (Dutch: Commissie ter Stimulering van het Proces van de Zuid-Amerikaanse Integratie, Portuguese: Comissão Estratégica de Reflexão sobre o Processo de Integração Sul-americana, Spanish: La Comisión Estratégica de Reflexión a cargo de formular propuestas con miras a impulsar el proceso de integración sudamericano en todos sus aspectos). It consists of 12 members, whose function is to elaborate proposals that will help the process of integration between the South American nations.
  • An Executive Commission, which was created by the II CSN meeting, was transformed in the Political Commission or Delegates Council, according to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue.[7]

Current work in progress

Presidents and other members of UNASUR at the First Brasília Summit on September 29, 2005.
Presidents of UNASUR member states at the Second Brasília Summit on May 23, 2008.
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Single market

  • One of the initiatives of UNASUR is the creation of a single market, beginning with the elimination of tariffs for non-sensitive products by 2014 and sensitive products by 2019.

Infrastructure cooperation

  • There is an Initiative for Infrastructure Integration of South America (IIRSA) underway, which has received the support of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean Development Corporation.
  • UNASUR started plans of integration through infrastructure cooperation with the construction of the Interoceanic Highway, a road that intends to more firmly link the Pacific Coast countries, especially Chile and Peru with Brazil and Argentina by extending highways through the continent, allowing better connections to ports to Bolivia and the inner parts of Argentina, Peru and Brazil. The first corridor, between Peru and Brazil, began construction in September 2005, financed 60% by Brazil and 40% by Peru, is expected to be ready by the end of 2009.
  • The South American Energy Ring (Dutch: Zuid-Amerikaanse Energiekring, Portuguese: Anel Energético Sul-Americano, Spanish: Anillo Energético Sudamericano) is intended to interconnect Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay with natural gas from several sources, such as the Camisea Gas Project in Peru and Tarija Gas Deposits in Bolivia. Though this proposal has been signed and ratified, economic and political difficulties in Argentina and Bolivia have delayed this initiative, and to date, this agreement remains more like a protocol than an actual project, since Chile and Brazil are already building LNG terminals to import gas from overseas suppliers.

Free movement of people

  • Visits by South American citizens to any South American country of up to 90 days require only the presentation of an identity card issued by the respective authority of the travellers' country of origin. On 24 November 2006
    • Argentina
    • Bolivia
    • Brazil
    • Chile
    • Colombia
    • Ecuador
    • Guyana
    • Paraguay
    • Peru
    • Suriname
    • Uruguay
    • Venezuela
waived visa requirements for tourism travel between nationals of said countries.[8]

Immigration

Brazil has introduced a new temporary residency program for citizens of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Under the new program, eligible citizens of these countries will benefit from a simplified application process, which can be completed from within Brazil. If successful, they will receive two-year residency status, after which they will be eligible for permanent residency.

Eligible citizens of the Mercosur member countries (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and two Mercosur "associated countries" (Chile and Bolivia) can now apply for a special two-year temporary residency program in Brazil using a simplified application process. The new program was introduced by a government decree published on October 8, 2009, but administrative delays prevented the new program from being implemented until now.

Under the new program, natural-born citizens of these countries, or individuals who have held citizenship in these countries for at least five years, plus their legal dependents (regardless of nationality), may obtain temporary residency status in Brazil that will remain valid for two years. The temporary residency program is not linked to a specific employer, and from an immigration perspective, these residents are eligible to work for any employer in Brazil. After the first two years, the candidate is eligible for permanent residency.

Nationals of these five countries may apply for this residency program abroad at a Brazilian consular post or from within Brazil to the Brazilian Federal Police. Applicants must demonstrate their identity, citizenship, and good character by presenting documents requested by immigration authorities, such as: passports, identity cards, or nationality certificates issued by their country of origin's consular post; birth certificates; marriage certificates (if applicable); declarations of criminal clearance or criminal clearance certificates; and registration fees.[9]

According to Brazilian Labour Department, between 2005 and july, 2009 entered in Brazil: 3,083 Argentines, 1,303 Venezuelans, 1,168 Chileans, 476 Bolivians, 314 Uruguayans, 159 Paraguayans.[10]

Economic development

Presidents of the seven founding countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay) officially launched the South American Bank in Buenos Aires in December 2007. The heads of all the founding countries were at the ceremony, with the exception of President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay. The capital will be US$7b, with Venezuela responsible for US$3b and Brazil US$2b. The headquarters will be located in Caracas with offices in Buenos Aires and La Paz.

The Bank of the South will finance economic development projects to improve local competitiveness and to promote the scientific and technological development of the member states. Chile and Colombia participated on initial meeting, but decided not to join the project due to their objection to Hugo Chavez's influence in the bank's creation[citation needed].

The founding chart affirms that the Bank will promote projects in "stable and equal" manner and priorities will be pointed to reinforce South American integration, to reduce asymmetries, and to promote egalitarian distribution of investments.

The Brazilian Minister, Guido Mantega, stated that the bank is not similar to the International Monetary Fund; it will be a credit institution similar to the World Bank.

Defence policy

The South American Defence Council (SADC) was proposed by Venezuela and Brazil to serve as a NATO-like mechanism for regional security, promoting military co-operation and regional defence. Colombia initially refused to sign up to the defence council due to its strong military ties it has with the United States through the Plan Colombia. However after reviewing the proposal they decided to join on July 20, 2008.[11][12][13] Shortly following the signing by Colombia's President, President of Chile Michelle Bachelet appointed a working group to investigate and draft a plan for the new council. Finally on March 10, 2009, the 12 nation members held its first meeting in Chile of the newly formed council.[14]

Participating nation states

Unasur member states

¹ These countries are also considered to be associate members of Mercosur
² These countries are also considered to be associate members of the Andean Community.
³ Guyana and Suriname are currently members of CARICOM and entered its single market in 2006. It is unknown if simultaneous UNASUR and CARICOM membership would be possible to accomplish; these states may remain UNASUR associate members only.
Has ratified the constitutive treaty.

Participating non-South American territories

The following territories situated outside South America are part of member states and therefore participate:

Non-participating territories

The following parts of South America are dependent territories and therefore do not participate:

See also

References

External links


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