11/24/2005

GARÍFUNA SUMMIT DECLARATION



GARÍFUNA SUMMIT DECLARATION
CORN ISLAND, SOUTH ATLANTIC AUTONOMOUS REGION
November 12, 2005

Considering the official invitation from the Government of Nicaragua, the Chiefs of State and Governments of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Belize, Guyana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, as well as representatives and delegations from indigenous peoples and ethnic communities, convened on the 12 of November of the present year, for the First Garífuna Summit on Corn Island, in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Taking into account that UNESCO defines culture as the set of distinctive spiritual and material, intellectual and affective features which characterize a society or social group, and that encompasses, in addition to the arts and letters, the way of life, the style of living together, the value system, the traditions and beliefs.

Considering that respect for cultural diversity, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation, in a climate of trust and mutual understanding, are among the best ways of guaranteeing international peace and security,

Recognizing a greater solidarity based on the recognition of cultural diversity, in the conscience of mankind and in the development of cultural exchanges,

Considering that the Government of Nicaragua has established the projection of the Caribbean dimension of its Foreign Policy as one of its most urgent objectives,

Considering that the Government of Belize has been the pioneer in the effort that led to the Proclamation of a set of elements of Garifuna Culture as Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity,

Considering that the Magna Cartas of the Nation States of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua uphold the cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity of their peoples,

Noting the presence and condition of the Garífuna people, which affects other communities in the four countries of the Central American region.

Reaffirming that the peoples of the Caribbean coast of Central America, a part of which is in the Republic of Nicaragua, maintain historical and commercial bonds with the rest of Central America and the wider Caribbean.

Recognizing that the ethnic communities contribute with their knowledge, culture and traditional practices to sustainable and equitable development and to the preservation of the environment.

AGREE TO:

State our commitment to submit to our respective legislative bodies for ratification, the CONVENTION FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE approved in the UNESCO General Assembly in October, 2003.

Acknowledge the interest of the Garífuna communities in the management and conservation of the ecosystems and the protection and conservation of the environment.

Express our satisfaction at the interest of the ethnic communities, as well as their associations, in participating in the elaboration and definition of strategic policies for the development of their territories.

Recognize the importance of the involvement of the Garífuna communities and the organizations which represent them, for generating actions for the sustainable development of their communities and territories

Encourage the participating Governments in this Summit, which consider it feasible, to establish a National Garífuna Day.

Manifest our willingness to undertake necessary actions to incorporate elements of Garifuna culture into our educational strategies and national education systems, thereby contributing to the implementation of the Action Plan for the safeguarding of the language, music and dance of the Garífuna people.

Recognize and support the efforts of the Garífuna communities in the Central American region towards the development and implementation of the Plan of Action for the Safeguarding of the Garífuna Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Support the decision of the Government of the Republic of Nicaragua, which in its capacity as President Pro Tempore of the Integration System (SICA), will include in the XXVII Ordinary Meeting of the Heads of State and Governments of SICA, next December, a Joint Plan of Action for the coordinated and systematic management which will allow the generation of concrete actions for the safeguarding of the Garífuna Heritage.

Express our gratitude and recognition to the Government of Nicaragua for promoting this Garífuna Summit, which is the first in what is expected to be a series of encounters that will allow the realization of the aspirations of our ethnic communities.

Thank the Garífuna people of Nicaragua, the local authorities and all the ethnic communities for allowing us to share this historic cultural event, in which important Government leaders and community representatives came together, with the certainty that the world and our nations, will gain greater appreciation for our cultural diversity

SIGNATORIES:

Óscar Berger Perdomo,
President of the Republic of uatemala

Said Musa,
Prime Minister of Belize

Ricardo Maduro Joest,
President of the Republic of Honduras

Enrique Bolaños Geyer,
President of the Republic of Nicaragua

Abel Pacheco,
President of the Republic of Costa Rica

Roosevelt Skerritt,
Prime Minister of Dominica

Ralph E. Gonsalves,
Prime Minister Saint Vincent and Grenadines

Bharrat Jagdeo,
President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana