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Home / Monitored IGOS / America / Central American Integration System

Central American Integration System

PARLACEN

Name: Central American Integration System

Acronym: SICA
Year of foundation: 1991
Headquarters: Republic of El Salvador
SICA documents: go to page
Official web site: go to page
 
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Central American Parliament

Description

Central American Integration System (called SICA from its Spanish acronym – Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana), is the institutional framework of regional integration in Central America and has set among its objectives the establishment, not only of a free-trade zone, but also of a common market and, in the long-run, of a political union. It also presents a number of original characteristics which deserve particular consideration, not the least of which is the fact that the last wave of regional integration started with the establishment of a directly elected parliamentary body, the Central American Parliament (Parlacen from its Spanish acronym of Parlamento Centroamericano) and that the original purpose of this process was to strengthen internal and regional democratization. Furthermore, it is one of the rare cases of regional integration where its judicial organ, the Central American Court of Justice, is entrusted with supranational powers and, at least in theory, enforceability of its rulings. At this moment, the process of integration in Central America is at a crossroads. The SICA can boast of a number of successes. They include a common external tariff, an almost complete customs union and substantial advances in the area of free movement of persons, capitals and services. Furthermore, its integrated institutions acquired considerable weight. The Court of Justice has shaped the embryo of a Community legal order and the General Secretariat has gradually become the System's administrative and political core, with the Secretary General obtaining an internationally recognised political status and role. In order to develop a closer political, cultural and migratory integration four member countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua) have founded The Central America Four Union (CA4), which has introduced common internal borders. Costa Rica joins the CA4 only in matters of economic integration and regional friendship.

Number and Member countries: 8

 Countries

      Date 

Notes 

 Flags

 Costa Rica

             1991          

Full member

Costarica

 El Salvador

             1991          

Full member

 El Salvador

 Guatemala

   1991

Full member

 Guatemala

 Honduras

   1991

Full member

 Honduras

 Nicaragua

              1991          

Full member

 Nicaragua

 Panama

              1991          

Full member

 Panama

 Belize

              2000          

Full member

 Belize

 Dominican Republic

               2004           

 Partner   member

 Dominican Republic

 

Regional Observers: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico

 

Extra-regional Observers: Germany, Italy, Spain, Taiwan

 

History

 

Origins and developments of a Central American integration

 

The five countries that composed traditionally the Central American Isthmus (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) share a long common past. Geographically, Central America also includes Panama (which became an independent State, carved out of Colombia in 1903 – with the active U.S. help, in order to facilitate the construction of the Panama Canal) and English-speaking Belize, formerly British Honduras, but  historically, neither country was oriented towards Central America, while Belize had a long-standing feud with Guatemala which considered it as part of its territory even if both countries have gradually come to a rapprochement with the other Central American States These countries formed part of the Mayan cultural zone and, following the Spanish Conquest, they became a separate administrative unit (the General Captaincy of Guatemala) within the Vice-Royalty of New Spain (Mexico). During the Spanish American independence struggles of the 1820s, Central Americans, after a brief annexation to the Mexican Empire, declared their independence and formed a federal state, the United Provinces of Central America. However, internal fighting between rival political factions and among provinces led to the dissolution of the Federation in 1838. Notwithstanding this initial failure, the dream of Central American union, "the patria grande" guided a number of attempts to reconstruct the Federation throughout the 19th and the 20th centuries. Each of them failed for similar reasons that led to the demise of the Federation: local antagonism, lack of communication, absence of democratic traditions, insufficient economic and political development, foreign intervention.

 

The first organization: the Central American Common Market (CACM)

 

Only after the Second World War did a successful integration scheme appear: the Central American Common Market (CACM) – in Spanish Mercado Común Centroamericano (MCCA), founded in 1960, aimed at creating a customs union and, later on, a common market, while at the same time co-ordinating the region's industrialisation and economic development. An integrated executive organ (called with a Spanish acronym SIECA - Secretería de Integración Económica Centroamericana - in English Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration) was entrusted with the implementation of the common rules adopted and the monitoring of the States’ abiding to them and, gradually, it acquired an existence of its own. Although one of the most successful examples of economic integration in the 1960s, the CACM. failed to transform economic performance into genuine prosperity and during the 1970s it lost its regional significance. Several reasons can explain this failure: Member States were unwilling to deepen the process and to allow for more democracy in the region. At the time, all Member States with the exception of Costa Rica were under authoritarian regimes, little interested in surrendering economic sovereignty to regional organs. In addition, the CACM. was not able to offset the disparities between those Member States who were the “beneficiaries” and the “victims” of integration; the reluctance to proceed towards deeper integration led to the eventual break-up of the Common Market in the early 1970s, while the region foundered in an series of civil conflicts.

 

 

From civil wars to a new beginning: the Esquipulas-I plan and the Central American Parliament (Parlacen)

 

Throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, Central America came to international attention, as civil wars in Salvador and Nicaragua and external intervention put the region in the centre of the East-West conflict. Amid concerns that the military escalation might lead to a generalised regional war, regional integration came again to the forefront as a way out to the crisis. After all external efforts to reduce tension failed to produce results and with a military stalemate, newly-elected Presidents Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica and Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala proposed a peace plan based on confidence-building, internal democratisation and the holding of free elections; the Esquipulas-I plan, adopted in the Guatemalan city of Esquipulas in July 1986 during the first meeting of all Central American Presidents for a generation, included the call for the creation of a directly-elected regional parliament, the Central American Parliament (henceforth, the Parlacen from its Spanish acronym) as a focal point for the reconciliation and peace in the region. A remarkable feature of this new wave of regional integration in Central America is that it did not start, as it had done in the past in the region (and as it happens in other parts of the world), by the establishment of a comprehensive regional organisation, composed of separate institutional entities and entrusted with specific competences. In the case under examination, political integration started from the specific (.i.e. a regional parliamentary organ) and expanded, later on, to the general (a new integration system). This sequence of events makes it difficult to understand the structure of and the interaction between integration institutions, in particular given another characteristic of regional integration in Central America: the quasi perennial attempts to modify, to restructure or to rearrange the existing integration instruments. The establishment, in this way, of such a parliamentary institution completely disconnected from any other regional organism (namely the CACM, which in any case was barely functioning at the time) did not, obviously, obey to an regional integration imperative, but rather to that of regional and national democratisation. Still it is interesting to stress the explicit nexus thus established between regionalisation and democratisation. For the first time, Central American leaders recognised the link between, on the one side, pacification and, on the other, internal and regional democratic consolidation. Indeed, breaking with the tradition prevailing elsewhere in Latin America, they looked towards a regional tool in order to facilitate and measure democratic progress nationally and they admitted that national and international democracy could not be separate. Thus, the renewed Central American integration process immediately followed a political path and appealed to the popular legitimacy, to be achieved through the direct election of members of the Parlacen.

 

 

The reorganisation of the integration system – the creation of the SICA

 

 

The Esquipulas process did not mark a renewal of regional integration in the region: it only created the Parlacen but did not formally affect the existing integration schemes in the region, in particular the CACM. The gradual normalisation of the political situation, though, as well as external factors (international pressure, in particular the increasing role of the European Community, and the dominant trends of economic globalisation) contributed in taking conscience of the fact that the region’s structural problems and its economic under-development should be better combated with regional coordination rather than national measures. In this context, Central American common identity as well as the historic, but also economic and political links left aside in the preceding period re-emerged as significant parameters for the region and brought a renewed interest not only for political rapprochement but also for economic integration. After 1986, the region witnessed a large number of projects aiming to (re-)establish and strengthen political cooperation and economic integration. The pivotal role of this process, though, was not (or no longer) the Parlacen, as had been expected earlier, but the Meeting of Presidents. The reasons were manifold but the most significant one was linked to the time factor. The Meeting of Presidents started functioning already from the signature of the Parlacen Treaty – and existed informally even earlier. On the contrary, the Parliament itself was only set up after Costa Rica’s reservations were lifted. This five-year gap – and the departure of the Presidents who had imagined and promoted the Parliament – moved the focus of integration into the inter-governmental field.Between 1986 and 1990, many pre-existing integration institutions were re-established, while new ones were set up. The so-called “old” institutions had started operating at different stages of the integration process; the regional panorama was thus composed of a blend of neo-functionalist institutions and of traditional sectoral inter-state cooperation organisms which often dated back to the 1950s and 1960s (among them the Secretariat for touristic integration in Central America, the Council for Central American electrification, the Central American Commission for maritime transports and the regional technical Commission on telecommunications) as well as the institutions created by the Constitutive Treaty of the Parlacen.. It was obvious that there was a need for coordination between all these organs as well as for setting specific priorities. Gradually, the countries recognized the usefulness of an organism serving as an “umbrella” for the dispersed integration activities and able to provide the necessary impetus to a more coherent, political direction of regional integration and this aim was first expressed  in the ministerial meeting of the ministers responsible for economic integration, an organ which started functioning again in the late 1980s. Although some had defended the need for a totally new and comprehensive integration treaty, it was finally decided that the best framework was the institutional setup of the Organization of Central American States ODECA (Organización de Estados Centro-Americanos – Organization of Central American States) a regional cooperation organization, founded in 1951 by the five countries of the region with the Charter of San Salvador (signed in San Salvador on October 14, 1951 and entered into operation in 1955), emulating objectives and institutional setting of the UN and the Organisation of American States (OAS), lacking of any supranational institution and inactive almost from its inception even if  re-shaped, on the wake of the establishment of the CACM, by the Panama Charter, signed in Panama on December 12, 1962. Despite the fact that the Charter spelled out ambitious objectives (among them, to create “an economic and political community [aspiring to] Central American integration” in order to “ensure economic progress [for States parties], to eliminate the barriers [dividing them], to improve (...) living conditions for its peoples, to guarantee stability and growth of the industry and to confirm solidarity among Central Americans” as stated in the Preamble of the Charter) and a complex institutional framework (not less than eight principal organs, among which a meeting of Presidents, a legislative Council and a Court of Justice) it never took off, its competences being vague and competing with those of the CACM and its powers being overwhelmed by the need for consensus in all decisions. It remained inactive during the entire 1970s and 1980s and its organs were never convoked during that period. During the 11th Meeting of Central American Presidents held in Tegucigalpa, on 13 December 1991, the presidents of the five Member States of the ODECA and the president of Panama signed the Tegucigalpa Protocol which reformed the Charter of the ODECA and established the Central American Integration System (Sistema de integración centroamericano, abbreviated as SICA). The SICA should constitute the “region’s organic structure aiming to achieve integration in all its aspects (...) in the perspective of the transformation of Central America into a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development" (point 4 of the “Tegucigalpa Declaration.” Final Communiqué of the Meeting of Central American Presidents. 13 December 1991). The meeting also decided to set up a preparatory commission for the implementation of the necessary institutional modifications. The Protocol entered into force on February 1, 1993. The Protocol defines a number of new goals for member States: the first was the consolidation of democracy. It also includes such objectives as the reinforcement of elected and democratic institutions, respect of human rights, the establishment of a new model of regional security; the creation of a regional system for prosperity and economic and social justice, pursuing the construction of a regional economic bloc; reaffirming the self-determination of Central America in foreign affairs, promoting a sustainable development and protecting the environment by the establishment of a new regional ecological order (Article 3 of the Tegucigalpa Protocol). The SICA system received full support by the United Nations General Assembly (Resolution A/48 L of December 10, 1993) and the Tegucigalpa Protocol was registered with the UN.  

SICA structure and decision-making procedures

The Meeting of Presidents

The Meeting of Presidents, the “supreme organ of the Central American Integration System” consisting of “the constitutional Presidents of the Member States” and “meeting in ordinary session every six months”. “The country hosting the Meeting of Presidents shall speak on behalf of Central America during the six months following the holding of the Meeting”. It “shall be seized of regional questions on which it is required to take decisions, with regard to democracy, development, freedom, peace and security” in particular to “define and direct Central American policy by establishing guidelines for the integration of the region, as well as the provisions necessary to ensure the coordination and harmonization of the activities of the bodies and institutions of the region, and the verification, monitoring and follow-up of its mandates and decisions; to harmonize the foreign policies of its States; to strengthen regional identity as part of the ongoing process of consolidating a united Central America; to approve… amendments to the Protocol….; to ensure fulfilment of the obligations contained in the … Protocol and in the other agreements, conventions and protocols which constitute the legal order of the Central American Integration System and to decide on the admission of new members of the Central American Integration System”. The Meeting of Presidents takes its decisions by consensus.

The Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers, composed of the relevant ministers holding the relevant portfolios provides the necessary follow-up to ensure the effective implementation of the decisions adopted by the Meeting of Presidents in the sector in which it is competent, and to prepare the topics for possible discussions by the Meeting. It is chaired by the competent minister of the Member State speaking on behalf of Central America – again for a 6-month period. The coordinating body is to be the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, competent for all political matters – democratisation, peacemaking and regional security, for the coordination and follow-up in respect of political decisions and measures in the economic, social and cultural sectors as well as for approving the budget of the central organization. The Protocol makes special reference to the “Council of Ministers responsible for economic integration and regional development” responsible for implementing the decisions of the Meeting of Presidents concerning economic integration, and fostering economic policies geared towards regional integration.

The Executive Committee (CE-SICA)

The Executive Committee, a permanent organ of the SICA, is a hybrid body, composed of representatives of Member States – not unlike the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) of the European Union. They are appointed by their Presidents through the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The Executive Committee is chaired by the representative of the host country where the last Regular Meeting of Presidents was held. It meets once a week and has a wide range of tasks including the effective implementation of the decisions of the Meeting of Presidents, compliance with the provisions of the Protocol, prepare, evaluate and submit proposals to the Council of Ministers and so on.

The General Secretariat (SG-SICA)

The General Secretariat, created by decision of the Central American Presidents in the Protocol of Tegucigalpa in 1991 with the purpose of providing services and technical and executive capabilities in support of the regional integration efforts, particularly in the gradual and progressive construction of the Central American Union, is the coordinating entity of the SICA, aimed to implement decision-making initiatives of the Meeting of Presidents and Councils of Ministers, and to promote participation of the civil society, communication and information for sustainable development and also international cooperation. The Presidency of the General Secretariat will be rotated every six months among the Member States.

The General Secretary, who is in charge of the General Secretariat, is appointed by the Meeting of Presidents for a period of four years, is the chief administrative officer and the legal representative of the System, is entrusted with the tasks of representation, execution of policies, preparation of regulations and other legal texts, monitoring of the implementation of the provisions of the Protocol and of the work program, has budgetary powers etc.

The Meeting of Vice Presidents

The Meeting of the Vice-presidents, besides the task to examine the recommendations submitted by the Parlacen, had a “wide initiative in the process of regional integration ... in particular to analyse, propose and examine attributions, to promote the said process, to monitor the implementation of decisions adopted and to give its support to regional integration organisms”. The Vice-presidents were also able to submit to the Meeting of Presidents any matter needing a political decision at the highest level (Articles 20-22 of the Treaty) The Meeting of Vice-Presidents is, in fact, a residue of the Parlacen Treaty without specific tasks; according to the Protocol it acts as an advisory and consultative organ to the Meeting of Presidents and meets normally every six months. In practice, this organism gradually lost its original importance. Most of the important issues were dealt by the Presidents while others were taken over by the SICA Secretariat.

The Central American Parliament (Parlacen)

The Central American Parliament (Parlamento Centroamericano or Parlacen) is the permanent regional forum for the political representation of the Central American integration (SICA) and also a directly elected parliamentary body providing the only popular participation in this regional integration process. Parlacen consists of twenty directly elected representatives from each member state plus the former presidents and vice presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama as well as twenty.two appointed representatives of the Dominican Republic. In May 1986 the presidents of the Central American countries agreed on founding Parlacen at a meeting in Esquipulas, Guatemala (kmown as Esquipulas I, in order to “strengthen the dialogue, the common development, democracy and pluralism as fundamental elements for peace in the region and for the integration of Central America". The next step was the signature of the “procedure to establish solid and permanent peace in Central America”  by the Central American presidents in the meeting held in Guatemala City in August 1987 (Esquipulas II), where they agreed: “to hold the Central American Parliament as a symbol of liberty and independence of the reconciliation to which all of us aspire in Central America” (preamble). Parlacen was established in Guatemala City and became effective on October 28, 1991, during the first Plenary Assembly. In each of the member states’ capitals and the Dominican Republic local departments are located. Member states of Parlacen are Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Panama; special observer is the Dominican Republic; permanent observers are Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Taiwan. Parlacen consists of the Plenum (all the members) the Board of Parliament  (the executive and administrative body elected annually and composed by one president, four vice presidents and five secretaries while the Dominican Republic also sends a vice president and a secretary, including additionally – as The Extended Board of Parliament - the parliamentary parties’ representatives (at president  level) and the Secretariat (the technical and administrative body of Parlacen consisting of a the Secretariat for Parlamentary Affairs, the Secretariat for Administration and Finance, and the Secretariat of the Board of Parliament). Different working commissions of the Central American Parliament are divided into: permanent commissions appointed by the Plenum (commissions on matters with special importance for the Central American Parliament and the process of integration), special commissions (appointed by the plenum for special tasks) and permanent commissions (Commission of politics and party affairs; Commission of peace, security, human rights and ethnic groups; Commission of monetary and finance; Commission of education, culture, sports and technology; Commission of integration, trade and economic development; Commission of agriculture, stock-farming, fishing, environment and natural resources; Commission of women, children, youth and family; Commission of urban development and public participation; Commission of health, social security, population, labour and corporations; Commission of legal affairs, integration law and regional institutions; Commission of international relations; Commission of tourism. The Parliamentary groups in Parlacen are required a minimum of ten members representing two or more countries and reflect the different political views of the parliamentary members who organize themselves according to their party’s political opinions (currently Parlacen is divided in six parliamentary groups: The Democratic Centre (CD); The Democratic Alliance of Central America (ADC); The parliamentary group of the Lefts (GPI); Democratic Convergency of Central America (CDC); Democratic Integration; Central American and Caribbean Group for Innovation)The direct election of this regional parliament is a significant and rare step in regional integration: with the exception of the European Parliament the only other such body is the Parlacen. However, despite its many attempts to acquire a role in regional integration, the Parlacen remains a consultative body – if anything, its reputation is tarnished by the accusations against its members. Not unlike its European counterpart, it is considered a luxury, a nuisance and, for all purposes, a second-rate institution: the establishment, in the 1990s of a forum for the cooperation of national parliaments – initially a Costa Rican attempt to bypass the Parlacen, the FOPREL (in Spanish Foro de Presidentes de Poderes Legislativos de Centroamérica y la Cuenca del Caribe), formally set up in Managua, on 26 August 1994 and that brings together the presidents of national parliaments of the region and members of thematic committees,  is a further risk to the centrality of this organism. For further details see Focus – Parlacen.

 

The Central American Court of Justice (CCJ)

The Central American Court of Justice is aimed to promote peace in the region and unity between its member-states and has jurisdiction to hear cases between member States, between a member state and a non-member state which agrees to the Court's jurisdiction, between states and any natural or legal person who is a resident of any member state, regarding the integration process between SICA’s organs and member states or natural or legal persons. The Court was the last institution of the SICA to see the light – not surprisingly so, since the establishment of a regional court with binding powers represents a revolution for Central America. The Court appeared in the Tegucigalpa Protocol although a predecessor of it had been established for a brief period in the early 20th century (Central American Court of Justice, in Spanish Corte de Justicia Centroamericana and known as Court of Cartago, created during the Central American Peace Conference in Washington, D.C in December 1907, composed of five judges, - one each from each member state and dissolved in 1918). It was considered a necessary element in the re-construction of the entire integration system of the region and an indispensable accessory in a new era of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Central America. The Protocol provided that “the composition, functioning and attributions of the Central American Court of Justice shall be regulated in the Statute of the Court …[to] be negotiated and signed by the Member States within 90 days of the entry into force of the Protocol”. The Statute of the Court was signed by the Presidents of the six States that had signed the Tegucigalpa Protocol, during their 13th Presidential Summit, in Panama City, on December 10, 1992. It includes 48 articles in total, was largely drafted by the Presidents of the Supreme Courts of the member States and entered into force on the 2nd of February 1994, after Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, the three States that were also the first to ratify the Tegucigalpa Protocol, ratified it. The Court was installed in Managua and became operative on 12 October 1994 and is composed by at least one full member per Member State and the same number of alternate members, currently counting  two judges as full members and two as alternate per Member State which has ratified the Statute. The Court has a President and a Vice President who are in office for one year. Article 22 of the Statute enumerates the competencies of the Court and entrusts it with a substantial number of powers, among which to examine, at the request of any Member State, disputes which may arise among them, to examine the validity of legislative, regulatory, administrative or any other acts taken by a State, when these affect Conventions, Treaties or any other provision of the Central American Integration Law or the agreements and decisions of its organs and bodies, to act as a standing Advisory Tribunal for the Supreme Courts of Justice of the States, for explanatory purposes, to act as a consultative body for the organs and bodies of the Central American Integration System in matters concerning the interpretation and implementation of the Tegucigalpa Protocol and to examine and rule, at the request of the affected party, on conflicts that may arise between the fundamental Organs or Powers of the State, as well as when judicial rulings are not respected in fact. These powers far exceed those of all other organs of the System and make the Court a genuinely supranational institution with almost sovereign powers. The Court has issued around a hundred rulings since it started operating. They are mainly actions for failure to act lodged against governments and opinions requested by other integration institutions. It has dealt with delicate issues too, such as the application of Arnoldo Alemán against the legal proceedings to prosecute him for graft when he became a Member of the Parlacen, it mediated in the power struggle between President Bolaños and the Assembly of Nicaragua and even an application from a custom agents organisation against Costa Rica –which has not ratified the Statute and does not recognize the Court. Strangely, it was not asked to mediate – always according to article 20 (f) of its Statute – on the recent institutional conflict in Honduras, although the terms of this latter article seemed made to purpose. The Court has not been spared the accusations of inefficiency and costliness and the BID-CEPAL proposals suggested transforming it into an ad hoc court, meeting when asked to. For the time being, though, no action against it has been undertaken.

The Consultative Committee (CC-SICA)

The civil society has been the other target of the Parlacen's campaign to expand its role and enlarge the spectrum of integration. Even more than political society, civil society was completely excluded from the regional integration process. Certainly, the general political situation of Central American countries did not make easy for civil society to exist, in the first place, much less to intervene in a process considered primarily of being competency of the executive. The creation of the Consultative Committee of the SICA, according to Art. 12 of the Protocol of Tegucigalpa (1991) and paragraph 34 of the Agenda of Guatemala (1993) of the XV Meeting of Central American Presidents. and its effective incorporation in the SICA as independent and autonomous body of the civil society responsible for strengthening integration, development and democracy in the region in 1996, bringing  together a series of non-governmental organisations and platforms allowed, for the first time, to these non-state actors to have a saying, be it a consultative one, over the developments in regional integration. The Parlacen snatched this opportunity and multiplied its contacts with various local, national and regional organisations and movements with the objective both to recall the existence of the Parliament to them and to take into account their needs and demands. These contacts were useful: in the past civil society, especially those movements that challenged the governments in place, tended to reject all expressions of organised political life and considered that the Parlacen was nothing more than a group of highly-remunerated establishment politicians, completely detached from the real needs of the people. The permanent relations thus created broke, little by little, this diffidence and permitted to both sides to find common ground for discussions as well as to determine their adversaries and act together on various cases.

 

SICA sub-system structures and specialized institutions

The setting up of the SICA had significant consequences for the region. It set a number of economic integration goals – the creation of a customs union, a common market and freedom of movement for citizens and goods. On October 1993, the Guatemala Protocol was adopted: the Protocol reformed the 1960 General Treaty on Economic Integration establishing the CACM and set new targets for economic integration (including the creation of a Central American Economic Union) and formalized the so-called economic subsystem of the SICA (including also the Central American Bank for Economic Integration - BCIE). This remodelling of economic integration allowed, finally, Central Americans to be taken into consideration by the other economic blocs of the world, in particular by the EU which has since the beginning supported integration of the region – for political/ideological as well as economic reasons – and the NAFTA which was the Central America’s primary economic objective. Gradually, the SICA expanded to other areas of integration, too. Member States adopted, on the 30th of March of 1995, the Treaty on Social integration, aiming to coordinate harmonize and allow the convergence of their social policies; this set up the Social Sub-system of the SICA. Earlier on, the ALIDES (Alianza para el Desarrollo Sostenible – Alliance for a Sustainable Development), signed on 12 October 1994, formed a comprehensive strategy for the environmental sustainable development of the region. Later on, it also expanded to the cultural area.

 

 

 
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