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Home / Monitored IGOS / America / Union of South American Nations

Union of South American Nations



Name: Union of South American Nations - Unión de Naciones Suramericanas

Acronym: USAN - UNASUR 

Year of foundation: 2008
Headquarters: Quito, Ecuador
Parliament: South American Parliament
UNASUR documents: go to page
Official website: go to page






The Union of South American Nations (USAN, Unión de Naciones Suramericanas - UNASUR) is going to be a regional organisation integrating two existing customs unions: Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations, as part of a continuing process of South American integration. It is modeled on the European Union pattern.




Member States



12 countries signed the Constitutive Treaty:






23 May 2008

(date of the signature

of the Treaty)


Members of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN). These countries are also considered to be associate members of Mercosur.Bolivia and Ecuador had ratified the constitutive treaty.


Members of Mercosur.These countries are also considered to be associate members of the Andean Community. Venezuela had ratified the constitutive treaty.


Member of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Chile is also considered to be associate members of Mercosur and of the Andean Community.


These countries are currently members of CARICOM and entered its single market in 2006. It is unknown if simultaneous UNASUR and CARICOM membership would be possible to accomplish; these states may remain UNASUR associate members only.Guyana had ratified the constitutive treaty.




Brief History



At the 3rd South American Summit on 8 December 2004, presidents and representatives from 12 South American countries signed the Cusco Declaration, a two-page statement of intent announcing the foundation of the South American Community. Panama and Mexico attended the signing ceremony as observers.
The group announced the intention to model the new community as the European Union, including a common currency, parliament, and passport. According to Allan Wagner Tizón, former Secretary General of the Andean Community, a complete union like that of the EU should be possible by 2019.
The mechanics of the new entity came out of the First South American Community of Nations Heads of State Summit, which was held in Brasília on 29 September-30 September 2005. An important operating condition of the new organisation is that no new institutions will be created in the first phase, so as not to increase bureaucracy, and the community will use the existing institutions belonging to the previous trade blocs.
On 28 December 2005, Chilean former foreign minister Ignacio Walker proposed that the name of the community, South American Union; nevertheless, many members stated to him that proposal had already been rejected to prevent confusion related to its acronym (U.S.A. in comparison to the United States of America).
The name was finally decided on 16 April 2007: Union of South American Nations. The new name was jointly agreed by all member states during the first day of meeting at the South American Energy Summit held at Isla Margarita, Venezuela.
The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty was signed on 23 May 2008, at the Third Summit of Heads of State, held in Brasília, Brazil, but not yet ratified by the required ninth nation. According to the Constitutive Treaty, the Union’s headquarters will be located in Quito, Ecuador. The South American Parliament will be located in Cochabamba, Bolivia, while the headquarters of its bank, the Bank of the South, will be located in Caracas, Venezuela.




USAN Structure and Decision-making Procedures



At the moment, the provisional structure of the USAN is as follows.
The presidents of each member state will have an annual meeting, which will be the superior political mandate. The first meeting was held in Brasília (Brazil) on 29 and 30 September 2005.
The ministers of foreign affairs of each country will meet once every six months. They will formulate concrete proposals of action and of executive decision. The President of the Mercosur’s permanent representatives committee and the director of the Mercosur’s department, the Andean Community’s general secretary, ALADI’s general secretary and the permanent secretaries of any institution for regional cooperation and integration, Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization among others, will also be present at these meetings.
A Secretary General would be elected, to establish a permanent secretariat in Quito, Ecuador.
Sectorial Ministers’ meeting will be called upon by the presidents. The meetings will be developed according to Mercosur’s and CAN’s mechanisms.
The temporary Presidency will be held for a year and will rotate among the member countries between each UNASUR meeting.
On December 9, 2005 a special commission was established in charge of advancing the process of South American Integration.
It consists of 12 members, whose function is to elaborate proposals that will help the process of integration between the South American nations.
An Executive Commission, which was created by the II CSN meeting, was transformed in the Political Commission or Delegates Council, according to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue.


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