Tuesday, 15 February 2011

CASE 218 - UNASUR - The Union of South American Nations

The Union of South American Nations

The Union of South American Nations 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. 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 are located in Caracas, Venezuela. The combined population of the 12-member Union as at 1 July 2010 was estimated at 396,391,032.
On 4 May 2010, at an extraordinary heads of state summit held in Campana, 75 km (47 mi) north of Buenos Aires, former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner was unanimously elected the first Secretary-General of UNASUR for a two-year term, providing Unasur with a defined political leadership on the global stage. This new office was conceived as a first step towards the establishment of a permanent bureaucratic body for the supranational union, eventually superseding Mercosur and CAN political bodies. Although the Secretariat headquarters were originally planned to be located at Quito, Ecuador, it was reported that it will probably start operating at Buenos Aires, Argentina. On December 1, 2010, Uruguay became the ninth nation to ratify the UNASUR treaty, thus giving the union full legality.

Also please have a look at CASE 001 - The european Union - (EU) and CASE 183 The North American Union - (NAU)

Current work in progress

Union of South American Nations

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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 for sensitive products by 2019. The process is to be developed upon the progressive convergence of the procedures of pre-existing Mercosur and CAN subregional economic blocks.

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.

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

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.
The South American Defence Council was proposed by Venezuela and Brazil to serve as a mechanism for regional security, promoting military co-operation and regional defence. From the beginning Brazil, Argentina and Chile, the countries that took the leadership of the project, made clear that they did not intend to form a NATO-like alliance, but a cooperative security arrangement, enhancing multilateral military cooperation, promoting confidence and security building measures and fostering defense industry exchange. Colombia initially refused to join the defence council due to the 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. 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, in Chile, the first meeting of the newly formed council.

In mid-2010 UNASUR played a key role in mediating the 2010 Colombia–Venezuela diplomatic crisis. On 1 September 2010, the agency "UnasurHaití" was created to provide U$ 100 million in help to Haiti.
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 from 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, was expected to be ready by the end of 2009. The South American Energy Ring 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 and Venezuela waived visa requirements for tourism travel between nationals of said countries.

Groups and committees
As of November 2010, several working groups have been created within UNASUR:

Working Group on Financial Integration
South American Council on the World Drug Problem
South American Council for Infrastructure and Planning
Board of Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Innovation
Coordination of Culture
Coordination of Education
Coordination of Science, Technology and Innovation
South American Council of Social Development
South American Defense Council
South American Energy Council
South American Council of Health
Working Group on Disputes Settlement

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