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Home / Monitored IGOS / America / Andean Community of Nations

Andean Community of Nations


Name: Andean Community of Nations

Acronym: ACN

Year of foundation: 1969
Headquarters: Lima, Peru
ACN documents: go to page
Official web site: go to page

Andean Parliament


The “Andean Community” or A.C. (Spanish: Comunidad Andina, CAN), previously known as the “Andean Pact”, is an intergovernamental organization created by Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Columbia and Ecuador with the aim to promote the expansion of markets and guarantee an effective economic development to the region.

Member countries:

Bolivia Colombia Ecuador Peru

Associated member countries:

Argentina Brasil Chile Paraguay Uruguay

Observer countries:

Mexico Panama 

Former member countries:

Chile Venezuela



In the sixties the failure of the first sub-continental integration initiative, the Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA), favoured the increase of subregional integration blocs. Among these, the Andean Group was created in 1969 by the Cartagena Agreement. The Andean Pact was based on two fundamental conceptions. First, it was tied to a closed integration model, which conceived the joining processes between countries as facilitators vehicles of the market expansion, the implementation of joint development programs at industrial level and the protection to third countries. Second, from the institutional point of view, the Andean Organization, mainly inspired by the process of European integration, was built on functionalist and neo-functionalist schemes. The first decisions adopted by the Ministers of the Andean Pact were focused exclusively on economic matters.

At the end of the eighties years, the implementation of the Washington Consensus in the dynamics of the integration processes generated a business trend sustained in the formation of trade agreements between the developed and the less developed countries. This new trend led the Andean Group towards an open regionalism that favoured the elimination of tariff barriers and the signing of trade agreements with various economical centers worldwide. In the 1990's, the Andean Community integration gained impetus with intra-CAN trade growing significantly, partly due to the establishment of a free trade area between four of the then five Andean countries (except Peru). The common rules adopted in various sectors, such as agriculture, intellectual property, investment, competition and trade defense instruments also created optimum conditions for economic growth and integration. In addition to this economic transformation, the Andean authorities redesigned institutionally the integration process towards an intergovernmental neoliberal approach. In 1997, the entry into force of the Amending Protocol of Trujillo marked a key step towards Andean integration. It modified the original Cartagena Agreement and, basically, it had two concrete consequences: the « Andean Pact » was transformed into the « Andean Community » and the Andean Integration System (AIS, or SAI in its Spanish acronym, which means “Sistema Andino de Integracion”) became the space that brings together the various institutions, governmental agencies and community bodies.

The ACN structure and decision-making procedures

Andean Council of Presidents 

The Andean Presidential Council is the highest body of the Cartagena Agreement. Made by the Heads of State of the member countries, the Council meets annually in regular sessions with the aim to define the overall policy process. The Presidents establish work guidelines and priorities and, in general, indicate the direction of the integration in its different aspects. They pronounced through Guidelines that fall under the Acts or Declarations of presidential meetings.

Andean Council of Foreign Affairs 

The Andean Council of Foreign Ministers represents the national political leadership. Composed by the Foreign Ministers of the member countries, it is responsible for ensuring that the objectives of Andean sub regional integration are attained and for making and carrying out the Andean Community’s foreign policy.

Andean Community Commission 

Drawing a parallel with the European Union, the European Commission fulfills almost the same attributions.

The Commission “shall be comprised of a plenipotentiary representative from each Member Country’s government” (Decision 563, 1969). It is made up of four country representatives, one of them being the Chairman. As for the General Secretariat, it is provided that it has to act solely in the interests of the Sub region. It is one of the main institutions and has to give technical support to any institution of the Andean Integrated System.


Andean Community General Secretariat 

The General Secretary, which is elected by consensus of the Andean Council of Foreign Affairs for a five-year term, is the most visible part of the Secretariat. She/he “shall be a person with broad representation and acknowledged prestige, and must be a national of one of the Member Countries. He shall act only in the interests of the Sub region as a whole” (Art 29, Cartagena Agreement).


Andean Community Court of Justice

As the Andean Parliament, the Andean Court of Justice is part of the 1979 reform. Both complete the Andean Integration System and make it more similar to democracy standards with the presence of the three separated powers. The creation of the Court of Justice can also be considered a response to high criticism of human rights and democracy principles violations in the 1970’s- 1980’s in South America.
The designation of the judges uses a method similar to what is customary in many countries, such as in the USA, for the Supreme Court's justices1. They are pointed out by few representatives of the executive or political power for a six-year mandate: « The magistrates shall be appointed from three-members lists submitted by each Member Country and by the unanimous decision of the Plenipotentiary Representatives entitled to do so. » (Treaty creating the Andean Court of Justice, 1979)
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