Canadian Foundation for the Americas

Canadian Foundation for the Americas

March 26, 2009 11:15 ET

FOCAL Forming National Alliance for the Fulfillment of Summit of the Americas Mandates

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 26, 2009) -

Friday, March 27, 2009, 9 am - 12 pm

Liu Institute, Multipurpose Room, University of British Columbia

6476 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver

The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) and the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions ( are hosting one in a series of consultations across Canada as the first step in founding a national alliance to support Canada and other Organization of American States (OAS) members and give real meaning to the Summits of the Americas process.

Traditionally, these civil society consultations have happened in Latin America and the Caribbean, not North America. "These meetings give Canadian citizens the opportunity and ability to help shape the hemispheric agenda," said Racquel Smith, Project Manager for FOCAL's Inter-American program. "The Summits are not one-off events, but an ongoing process with action plans that can make a significant contribution to improving the quality of the lives of the citizens of this hemisphere."

Civil society groups, academics, and business leaders will meet to discuss the 2009 Summit's official theme, Securing Our Citizens' Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability, hosted by Trinidad & Tobago on April 17-19, 2009. They will also discuss how to convert Summit mandates into government mandates. Other meetings are planned in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. A report will be presented to the OAS and the Active Democracy Network (, which FOCAL helps to coordinate.

Canada helped institutionalize citizens' participation in the summits process at the 2001 Quebec City Summit. For that Summit, FOCAL and its partners, Corporacion Participa of Chile and the ESQUEL network, organized the first transnational civil society consultations with over 900 representatives participating before the Quebec City Summit. More than half of the 243 civil society recommendations generated by these consultations were included in the Quebec City Plan of Action. The Summit of the Americas is the only meeting of all of the democratically-elected Heads of State in the Americas.

To attend, RSVP by email to

For more information, visit FOCAL's Inter-American program website:

The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to strengthening Canadian relations with Latin America and the Caribbean through policy dialogue and analysis.

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