At the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama, President Obama highlighted the commitment of the United States to upholding the essential role independent civil society and the private sector play in contributing to a shared democratic agenda that benefits all of the people of the Americas.
The 2015 Summit of the Americas demonstrated the global importance of the region and the progress we have made over the last two decades to improve people’s lives. Our region’s leaders must continue to work together, focusing on pressing issues that need our attention and action, so that we redouble our commitment to a more prosperous, safe, sustainable, equal, and democratic Western Hemisphere.
President Obama worked with his counterparts to build on partnerships introduced at the 2009 Summit in Trinidad and Tobago and the 2012 Summit in Colombia to launch a series of initiatives:
Democracy and Citizen Participation
In his meeting with civil society leaders, the President announced the support of the United States for civil society’s effort to establish a permanent public consultative mechanism and role in the Summits of the Americas.
- The President further highlighted the importance of updating transparency laws in the region to strengthen access to information and public disclosure regimes in law and practice, and making a priority transparent and accountable public institutions in the post-2015 development agenda. He supported Mexico’s proposal to establish a network of “Open Government Reformers.”
Economic Growth and Opportunity
Building from the Broadband Partnership of the Americas that President Obama launched in 2012, the United States will work with its partners to increase the adoption of fixed and mobile broadband service the deployment of broadband infrastructure as necessary.
- The United States joined a shared commitment among the region’s World Trade Organization (WTO) Members to accept the Trade Facilitation Agreement prior to the December 2015 WTO Ministerial by submitting letters of acceptance to the WTO so that the agreement can enter into force.
- In his meeting with the Americas Business Dialogue at the 2nd CEO Summit of the Americas, President Obama encouraged governments and business to work together to increase economic opportunities for youth, particularly in Central America. He announced $68 million in new programs to increase training, educational, and job opportunities for at-risk youth in Central America and the Caribbean.
- The President emphasized the contribution small businesses make to creating jobs and growth, particularly for women. President Obama highlighted successes of the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) and Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas initiatives since 2012 and announced the United States will work with its partners to expand SBNA so that it can independently help micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and entrepreneurs, and increase opportunities for growth.
- President Obama also encouraged the region’s business leaders to get involved in advancing the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative to prepare young people with the linguistic and cultural competencies they will need to succeed in our increasingly interconnected region. The President applauded those of his counterparts who have adopted their own national plans to increase student exchanges within the hemisphere, and urged those who have not, to do so as well.
Clean and Sustainable Energy Future
In his meeting with leaders, the President sought to ensure that all countries in the hemisphere have open access to climate data and information that enhance their capabilities for resilient development by 2020. The United States will contribute to achieving the President’s goal by applying for accreditation as a Regional Climate Center by the end of 2015.
- President Obama addressed the challenge of combating climate change and securing a clean energy future by setting ambitious targets for climate-resilient energy development. The President and several leaders committed double the collective share of non-hydro renewable energy (including solar, wind, geothermal, and sustainable, non-traditional biomass) in the Americas’ electricity mix by 2030.
- The President also called on leaders to aggressively phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and recommended the 2015 meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas consider additional fossil fuel subsidy reforms.
The President welcomed the leadership of other governments that seek to share their expertise in a spirit of partnership to strengthen citizen security, fight transnational organized crime, improve the health of our people, and coordinate on disaster response.