ALBA-TCP agrees on post-pandemic work plan to consolidate integration in the region

At the 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), held on Monday, December 14, on the 16th anniversary of the regional integration bloc, the member countries agreed on a post-pandemic work plan to consolidate joint cooperation, political agreement and economic recovery.

I.-International/Multilateral Area

1.-To start, widen and consolidate relations based on political agreement and technical cooperation with third countries.

Likewise, with regional organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania such as CELAC. CARICOM, ACS, the Central American Integration System (SICA), UNASUR, the African Union, the Arab League, the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA), ECLAC, the Ibero-American System, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Eurasian Community, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, the Arab Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation, among others, including Russia and China.

2.-To strengthen our presence and voice in the international community through a common agenda that includes:

a) The promotion and defense of International Law, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, particularly the self-determination of the peoples and peace,

b) The relaunch of an integration, unity and regional dialogue agenda.

c) The defense of Multilateralism.

d) Resuming the offensive in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights for all, and condemning their politization with destabilizing purposes.

e) Condemning and fighting unilateral coercive measures and economic, commercial and financial blockades.

f) Condemning and fighting the judicialization of politics (lawfare).

g) Strengthening the coordination of positions in the fight against existing world crises, especially Climate Change, and for the democratization of water and the rights of Mother Earth.

h) Linking ALBA-TCP’s social agenda to the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.

i) Promoting the reparation of peoples of African descend and American native people.

II.-Economic Area

1.-To relaunch an ALBA-TCP Economic, Commercial and Financial Agenda based on the June 2020 Post-pandemic Economic Plan (Annex).

a) To appoint a new coordinating country in the Council of Economic Complementation.

b) To establish coordination and follow-up actions among the Ministers of the area, National Coordinators, the authorities of the Bank of ALBA, the Sucre Monetary Council and the ALBA-TCP Executive Secretariat.

c) To hold ALBA-TCP Economic, Trade and Financial technical roundtables in the first quarter of 2012 in order to establish the Alliance’s economic priorities, including the technical-political review of the ALBA-TCP Complementary Economic Zone project.

d) To strengthen the operational action to lever the Bank of ALBA.

e) To hold a meeting of Presidents of Central Banks to assess the situation and feasibility of OROCARIBE, PETRO and SUCRE.

f) To relaunch ALBA-Fishing, ALBA Agriculture and Petrocaribe.

III.-Social Area

1.-To relaunch the ALBA-TCP Social Agenda:

To establish a coordination and follow-up scheme among the Ministers of the area, National Coordinators and the ALBA-TCP Secretariat.

To call the 6th ALBA-TCP Social Council to revitalize its bodies in the calendar year to deepen the social, collective, solidarity-based, popular model.

To relaunch the ALBA-TCP Social Missions as a Political Strategy.

To make a diagnosis of the international social missions.

To launch a campaign for the respect of migrants’ human rights.

IV.-Social Movements-Coordination of Political Parties Area.

1.-To relaunch the ALBA-TCP Council of Social Movements:

To ratify Bolivia as a coordinating country in the Council of Social Movements.

2.-To foster coordination of political forces and social movements.

V.- ALBA-TCP Communications, Culture and Identity Area.

1.-To activate the ALBA-TCP Policy on Communication:

To coordinate an ALBA-TCP Meeting of Ministers of Communication and Information in the first quarter of 2021 to develop a high-impact Communication Plan, both in formal and alternative media, and, in this regard, to promote the participation of our top media representatives, especially TELESUR and other media outlets of friendly nations (Russia, China, Iran and others).

b) To activate the ALBA-TCP Social Networks by defining and implementing an ALBA-TCP Strategy in social networks, in coordination with Social Movement and Political Forces.

2.-To strengthen ALBA-TCP Institutional Identity:

To agree on a schedule of meetings between national authorities.

To undertake a similar process including universities, institutions and centers of studies and research.

3.-To continue moving forward with the work by ALBA-Cultural.

VI.-Revitalization of the ALBA-TCP Bodies:

Executive Secretariat

1. To strengthen the political and diplomatic capacities of the Executive Secretary.

2. To raise the profile of the Executive Secretary, widen his/her international presence and reach according to the ALBA-TCP strategic agenda.

3. To boost the agenda of political meetings and operational execution.

Political Council

1. To strengthen permanent coordination among the Alliance’s Foreign Ministers.

2. To assess permanently the regional changing dynamics.

3. To define, implement and monitor the political actions demanded by circumstances.

4. To call an urgent meeting of ALBA-TCP National Coordinators to complete the comprehensive work plan and delegate responsibilities for its implementation and follow-up.

5. To resume quarterly meetings of National Coordinators in the most feasible format to agree on and coordinate follow-up of the ALBA-TCP Strategic Agenda.

6. To foster Coordination among Political Forces.

Council of Economic Complementation

1.-To appoint a new coordinating country of the Council of Economic Complementation.

Council of Social Movements

1.-To ratify Bolivia as Coordinating Country of the Council of Social Movements.

ANNEX

POST-PANDEMIC ECONOMIC CONTINGENCY PLAN

1. To boost sanitary security:

To Reactivate the ALBA Health program

First, work should be done to establish a program to strengthen the health systems of the ALBA-TCP member countries, to overcome the existing gaps for the most vulnerable population to access health, and to be capable of addressing the increase in the number of imported cases from other countries as the opening of borders takes place and international transport is resumed.

In this regard, we propose the reactivation of the ALBA Health program by first undertaking three actions:

To establish an ALBA-TCP bank of medicines, medical equipment and sanitary supplies specialized in the treatment against COVID-19. This includes the adoption of a common in order to guarantee access and availability for all the ALBA member countries to vaccines when they are released.

To establish an ALBA-TCP health observatory to monitor the evolution of pressure on the health services of the ALBA member countries, and anticipate eventual collapses in national health systems.

To maintain scholarship programs for students of ALBA-TCP member countries in the Latin American Schools of Medicine, particularly in the West Caribbean countries.

To boost food security:

To reactivate the ALBA Food program

The post-pandemic economic recovery will leave behind big holes in sectors such as international tourism, which represents an important motor of the economy in most of the ALBA member countries.

Likewise, there will be an important decline in imports as a consequence of slower incomes and the reduction of international transport.

Therefore, it is urgent to design a special plan to boost agricultural production and increase the self-supply levels for food security.

In this regard, we propose the reactivation of the ALBA Food program by undertaking the following action:

To promote a contribution to the Solidarity Fund from the Bank of ALBA amounting to $5 billion, aimed at the West Caribbean countries to contribute to the strengthening of their agricultural production systems. This implies each country will disburse between $500,000 to $1.5 million according to the size of their population and each country’s vulnerability level.

3. To strengthen Intra ALBA Transport as a support for commercial exchange and travelers.

In the face of the closure of borders and the reduction of all kinds of transport, it is important for ALBA.TCP to reinforce its own transport systems, where airliners play a determining role.

In this regard, the joint meeting of the ALBA-TCP ministerial councils will be able to propose measures aimed at strengthening the air transport sector by:

3.1. Backing up the approval of a credit line to strengthen the LIAT regional airline through the Bank of ALBA, so that by the year 2021 it can strengthen its capacity to provide air connectivity to the West Caribbean region, especially to ALBA-TCP member countries.

3.2. Backing up the approval of a line of credit to strengthen Venezuelan airline Conviasa through the Bank of ALBA, so that by the year 2021 it can strengthen its capacity to offer long-range flights.

3.3. Boosting synergy between the two airlines by intertwining their itineraries to provide a better interconnection of passengers to the multiple destinations of the region and beyond, particularly to provide an air corridor linking Managua and Havana through Caracas to the West Caribbean.

4.To guarantee energy security by giving a new impetus to the Petrocaribe initiative:

At the joint meeting, we expect to assess the proposal to give a new impetus to the Petrocaribe initiative by following these guidelines:

4.1. To announce the end of the reconciliation of debts of East Caribbean countries with Petrocaribe and the assignment of these debts to the Bank of ALBA, bringing benefits through a 50% reduction as a consequence of the application of the net present value.

4.2. To promote the intervention of each country’s fuels in the local market from Petrocaribe joint ventures, including the purchase of different products from PDVSA to reactivate competence in such markets and counter the speculative increase due to the abuse of a dominant position of local fuel companies.

4.3. To promote joint ventures the continuity of investments of Petrocaribe’s remaining funds in the development of logistic capacities to strengthen the region’s energy security.

5. To guarantee financial stability:

Moratoria on credits

The global economic collapse due to the pandemic is having serious consequences putting at risk the fiscal stability of ALBA governments and the financial situation of the organizations supporting their economies.

In this regard, the joint meeting of the ALBA-TCP ministerial councils will be able to propose measures aimed at mitigating these effects by:

5.1. Promoting a moratorium on the lending portfolio of the Bank of ALBA for the year 2021.

5.2. Promoting a moratorium on the lending portfolio of the SUCRE Stabilization and Reserve Fund during 2021.

These two decisions will enable the countries to have at their disposal resources for debt services to address other priorities.

This is an appropriate occasion to invite the government of Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis to join the Bank of ALBA Constitutive Agreement to complete the full membership of ALBA countries.

6. To guarantee the free movement of funds:

Local currency compensation and use of cryptocurrency

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, the region’s countries have experienced the reduction of possibilities to move their funds through the gradual reduction of correspondent banks, in some cases due to the lack of interest and mainly due to the over-compliance with financial standards of prevention associated to prejudices towards some ALBA’s countries under unilateral coercive measures.

This circumstance restricts the possibilities of developing stable, consistent commercial exchanges. The proposal is to move forward with a strategy countering this financial blockade through the implementation of trade compensation mechanisms by using local currency and cryptocurrencies.

The joint meeting of the ALBA-TCP ministerial councils will be able to propose measures aimed at mitigating these effects by:

6.1. Backing up the reactivation of the Sucre through the renewal/ratification of representatives to the Sucre Regional Monetary Council, especially its Presidency. This is an appropriate occasion to invite the governments of East Caribbean to join the SUCRE Constitutive Agreement as a compensation and payment mechanism by using local currency.

6.2. Assessing the implementation of mechanisms of payment, within and outside the Sucre, in cryptocurrency, including Petro, for commercial exchange operations among the ALBA member countries.

7. To adopt natural disaster relief measures:

Creation of the ALBA Humanitarian Fund

ALBA-TCP has a special responsibility towards its member countries in the East Caribbean region, which have not overcome the pandemic and must face the upcoming hurricane season.

In this regard, we propose to strengthen the Alliance’s instruments to face this kind of situations through the creation of an ALBA Humanitarian Fund:

7.1. To agree on the creation of an ALBA Humanitarian Fund, consisting of a fiduciary mechanism without legal personality and managed by the Bank of ALBA, which will receive and manage donations in cash for this purpose and record the value of non-monetary donations and contributions (medical services, air support, donations of goods).

This fund will start with a $2 million contribution from the Bank of ALBA Solidarity Fund which will be made by the ALBA Natural Disaster Mitigation Program.

8. To project ALBA in supra-regional organizations to attract cooperation funds.

In a post-pandemic economy, it will be indispensable to use more efficiently the scarce available funds available for cooperation and development.

In the case of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), where Venezuela is the second largest shareholder, it will be able to propose initiatives aimed at raising funds for the region’s development by:

8.1. Backing up the development of projects aimed at improving the region’s capacities and physical infrastructure.

8.2. Backing up the development of the region’s energy infrastructure projects.

8.3. Backing up the development of projects aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change and natural disasters in the region. Venezuela’s representation in the OFID will make the relevant arrangements for managing these projects through the Bank of ALBA.

9. To promote a common strategy for economic development by boosting the ALBA Council of Economic Complementation

The ALBA-TCP post-pandemic economy will require constant efforts to overcome the inevitable difficulties in the economic area, a task that will be more effective if it is undertaken in coordination with allied countries that can become commercial partners.

A boost to the Council of Economic Complementation, comprised by the economy ministers of ALBA member countries, is the natural space to agree on common strategies in the productive, commercial and financial areas.

In this regard, we propose the following measures to strengthen and relaunch this Council:

9.1. To establish an ALBA Technical Office of Economic Complementation in Caracas, under the sponsorship pf the Bank of ALBA.

9.2. To appoint a new coordinating country in the ALBA-TCP Council of Economic Complementation.