This overview of the IX Summit of the Americas was sent as part of NWC’s “Sunday Read” series that aims to educate supporters about whistleblower stories and whistleblower legislative or policy initiatives and current events. For more information like this, please join our mailing list.
On June 6–10, the Ninth Summit of the Americas took place in Los Angeles California. The Summit is a gathering of countries from throughout the western hemisphere, including representatives from Couth, Central, and North America. The theme this year was “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future.” The Ninth Summit of the Americas took place in Los Angeles California, which was important because it’s one of the largest cities with a great majority of the population being Hispanic/Latino and it’s also a place full of diversity in which inclusivity is fostered — making it the perfect location for such a multi-national event.
National Whistleblower Center was invited to participate in the IX Summit, and Siri Nelson, our Executive Director was in attendance. In addition, NWC participated in work leading up to the Summit as an invited participant in working groups and was also included in the Summit’s “Initiative Fair” where we presented our Americas Initiative.
In this week’s Sunday Read, we discuss the IX Summit and how important it was that whistleblowers were highlighted in these critical transnational discussions.
What is a Summit of the Americas?
The Summit of the Americas is an international Summit meeting where leaders of the Western Hemisphere gather and discuss common policy issues and assert their commitment to take action upon these issues in order to face the challenges of the Americas. The Summit of the Americas brings together leaders from North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean. The Summit is meant to promote cooperation and democracy in order to address issues facing the Americas. The purpose of Summit of the Americas is to address the region’s shared challenges and opportunities. This year’s theme, “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future”, guided the discussions throughout the Summit and National Whistleblower Center presented on how whistleblowers are the key to advancing those themes through transnational cooperation and greater whistleblower protections.
Anti-Corruption Discussions at the IX Summit
The panel on strengthening regional and national emergency preparedness discussed the lack of transparency and accountability during the COVID-19 pandemic and the toll this took on our democracies. According to panelists, corruption in the Latin American and Caribbean region there is a lack of citizens’ trust in governments throughout those regions. One key topic in the panel was that there needs to be participation from civil society, the private sector, and the social actors in the prevention of and the fight against corruption.
The Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance includes a section about Transparency and Anticorruption. In that section, one of the goals of anticorruption and transparency measures is that there needs to be “public awareness campaigns that generate incentives to improve conditions for reporting of possible irregularities and acts of corruption”. The report also mentions that there needs to be measures established in order to protect such reporting from retaliation or intimidation against whistleblowers.
Another key goal after the Ninth Summit of the Americas in relations to transparency and anticorruption is for countries throughout the region to take appropriate “measures to strengthen mechanisms aimed at preventing, detecting, and punishing acts of corruption, fraud, or unethical conduct”. Whistleblowers and whistleblower protections play a key role in this.
Progress made, but still a long path ahead:
NWC helped to establish whistleblower protections as a goal for the Americas after the Ninth Summit. It is important that the public feel compelled to report possible corruption acts without fear of retaliation because with it there is increased transparency and accountability — throughout the western hemisphere.
Through our Americas program, NWC will continue to advocate for whistleblower protections throughout the western hemisphere and seeks to encourage the adoption of strong whistleblower laws which foster transnational cooperation. This global work, for whistleblowers everywhere is made possible by your generous support. Please donate today to help continue our work throughout the Americas.
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This story was researched and drafted by NWC Intern, Melissa Peinado, a Senior double major in Criminology, Law and Society and Political Science with a minor in Sociology at University of California, Irvine.