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The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.

Fifth Summit of the Americas Bulletin 1

Civil Society at the Fifth Summit of the Americas

March 27, 2009

The Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago is less than a month away and FOCAL and its partners are working to keep civil society involved and engaged in this important event of the inter-American system.

The Summits of the Americas is the only forum in which all of the democratically-elected Heads of State of in the Americas gather to discuss common social, economic and political concerns and set an agenda for action across the hemisphere. FOCAL promotes civil society participation in setting the agenda of this meeting and in the important follow-up that can make a difference in the lives of all citizens in the Americas.

We look forward to working with civil society in Canada and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere to encourage participation and engagement in the inter-American system.
Yours Sincerely,

Racquel Smith
Program Manager, Inter-American Affairs


Civil Society Forum at the Fifth Summit of the Americas
Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
April 15-16, 2009
Registration is now closed
This forum for civil society happens immediately before the Summit of the Americas. FOCAL will serve as a resource organization at the session on the “Impact of the Economic Crisis on Promoting and Protecting the Human Rights of all Citizens, in particular Migrants, Children and other Vulnerable Groups”.

Democratic Governance in the Americas: Canada’s National Alliance for the Implementation of Summit Mandates
FOCAL and our partners are hosting a series of half-day meetings with Canadian civil society organizations, government officials and democratic governance experts to:

  • Discuss Summit themes and processes, status of preparations and what to expect;
  • Develop a National Alliance Action Plan for advancing democratic governance in Canada in support of Summit mandate fulfillment; and
  • Document Canadian experiences and expertise in themes and mandates on the Summit of the Americas agenda.

The first two meetings will be hosted by:

Latin American Research Centre              
University of Calgary                                  
March 26, 2009                                           
Media Release

Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada
March 27, 2009
Media Release

Contact Racquel Smith at 613-562-0005 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   613-562-0005 end_of_the_skype_highlighting ext. 227 or by email rsmith [at] focal.ca for more information about these and future events.


Hemispheric Think Tank Working Group 2009 Summit of the Americas
The aim of the Hemispheric Think Tank Working Group was to reinforce and complement the efforts of official agencies by mobilizing needed intellectual and policy resources for the Fifth Summit process. Meetings were held in Ottawa in September 2008 and Washington, D.C., in January 2009 where ideas and priorities were discussed. This is a joint project of FOCAL and the Inter-American Dialogue, with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency. The summary report will be launched in April 2009. More Project Information.


Publications—Hemispheric Think Tank Working Group Papers Now Online

Washington, DC
January 13, 2009

Private Sector Participation in Inter-American Summitry: From Inputs to Outputs
Richard Feinberg, University of California, San Diego

Now More than Ever:   The Case for a New Integration Strategy for the Americas
Nancy Lee, Center for Global Development

Human Prosperity Faces New Challenges
Nora Lustig, George Washington University

Reproductive Health as an Essential Component of Human Prosperity
Carmen Barroso, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region

Energy for the Hemisphere: Reflections on the Energy Aspects of the Draft Declaration of Commitment Fifth Summit of the Americas
Paul Isbell, Visiting Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue

Quinto Cumbre de las Américas: Asegurar el futuro de nuestros ciudadanos promoviendo la prosperidad humana (Spanish)
Francisco Rojas Aravena, Lucia Dammert, John Rapley, Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)


Ottawa, Canada
September 22, 2008

Expanding Skills in the Hemisphere: A Proposal for a Partnership for Secondary Education
Nancy Birdsall, William Savedoff, Katherine Vyborny, and Ayah Mahgoub, Center for Global Development

Enhancing the Voice of the Caribbean in The Summit Process
Gordon Shirley, University of the West Indies

Fifth Summit Needs a Big Idea to Stay Relevant
Paul Haslam, University of Ottawa

More Growth with More Income Equality in the Americas:  Can Regional Cooperation Help?
Nancy Lee, Center for Global Development

Tema Seguridad (Spanish)
Francisco Rojas Aravena, Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)

Environmental Sustainability in the Caribbean
Gordon Shirley, University of the West Indies


Summit Resources

FOCAL and the Summit of the Americas
This two-page brief provides the background of FOCAL’s interest and involvement in the Summit of the Americas.
English, French, Spanish

FOCAL’s Fifth Summit Follow-Up Project
Visit FOCAL’s Fifth Summit web page to find out what FOCAL has done and is doing and how to get involved.

Active Democracy: Citizen Network for the Implementation of Summit Mandates
Learn more about FOCAL’s current Summit Follow-Up project, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Development Resource Centre (IDRC).

Active Democracy: Citizen Network for the Implementation of Summit Mandates / Democracia Activa: red ciudadana por el cumplimiento gubernamental de las cumbres
Learn about the work of this civil society network in 23 countries of the Americas, of which FOCAL is a coordinating member.

Fifth Summit of the Americas Draft Declaration
English, Spanish, French


A View of the Hemisphere



Explore the link between governance and development.