Integral Development Strengthens Democratic Governance.

Author:Costa, Mauricio E. Cortes
Position:Reflections on the Inter-American Democratic Charter


The Organization of American States ... proclaims the following essential purposes [among others] To eradicate extreme poverty, which constitutes an obstacle to the full democratic development of the peoples of the hemisphere ...

--OAS Charter, Article 2

Democracy Cannot Exist without Development, nor Development without Social inclusion

Democratic governments are fragile where there is no development, and true development is not attainable in the Americas unless all of its inhabitants can participate in it and enjoy its benefits. Political and civil processes are necessary for the full development of democratic systems, but they are not sufficient by themselves. The Organization of American States (OAS) and its member states have always understood the interrelationship and interdependence that exists between governance and integral development. The Democratic Charter goes into some detail about the connection between the struggle against poverty and the struggle for stability and the consolidation of democracy:

"Poverty, illiteracy, and low levels of human development are factors that adversely affect the consolidation of democracy. The OAS member states are committed to adopting and implementing all those actions required to generate productive employment, reduce poverty, and eradicate extreme poverty, taking into account the different economic realities and conditions of the countries of the Hemisphere. This shared commitment regarding the problems associated with development and poverty also underscores the importance of maintaining macroeconomic equilibria and the obligation to strengthen social cohesion and democracy."

--Inter-American Democratic Charter, Article 12

Each country's progressive attention to economic, social, and cultural rights is also directly related to democratic governance and the ability for the entire population to enjoy the fruits of development. These rights include the ability to meet the minimum requirements necessary for a dignified life: food, education, housing, employment, and health, among other basic needs. All human rights are indivisible and interdependent. For example, a vulnerable group's inability to access social services like health and education not only keeps the members of the group from a dignified life; it also curtails the full exercise of their civil and political rights. The full right to freedom of expression cannot be said to exist if it does not ensure access to...

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