Union of South American Nations

Union of South American Nations
Unión de Naciones Suramericanas
União de Nações Sul-Americanas
Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties
Union of South American Nations
Member states of the UNASUR in dark green; observer states in light green.
Member states of the UNASUR in dark green; observer states in light green.
Administrative centers Ecuador Quito[1]
(Secretariat Headquarters)
Bolivia Cochabamba[2]
(Parliament seat)
Largest city Brazil São Paulo
Official languages Spanish
Demonym South American
 -  President Paraguay Fernando Lugo[3]
 -  Secretary General Colombia María Emma Mejía[4]
 -  Cusco Declaration 8 December 2004 
 -  Constitutive Treaty 23 May 2008 
 -  Functioning entity 11 March 2011 
 -  Total 17,731,457 km2 
6,846,154 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 8.91[5]
 -  2008 estimate 387.948 million[6] 
 -  Density 21.9/km2 (192nd)
56.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $7.942 trillion[6] (3rd)
 -  Per capita $9,736[6] (77th)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $3.532 trillion[6] (4th)
 -  Per capita $7,421[6] (68th)
Time zone (UTC-2 to -5)
Internet TLD
www.pptunasur.com (Spanish)

The Union of South American Nations (Dutch: Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties (About this sound pronunciation ) - UZAN, Portuguese: União de Nações Sul-Americanas - UNASUL, Spanish: Unión de Naciones Suramericanas - UNASUR) is an intergovernmental union integrating two existing customs unions: Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), as part of a continuing process of South American integration. It is modeled on the European Union.

The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty was signed on May 23, 2008, at the Third Summit of Heads of State, held in Brasília, Brazil.[7] 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 are located in Caracas, Venezuela.[2]

The combined population of the 12-member Union as at 1 July 2010 was estimated at 396,391,032.

On 4 May 2010, at an extraordinary heads of state summit held in Campana, 75 km (47 mi) north of Buenos Aires, former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner was unanimously elected the first Secretary-General of UNASUR for a two-year term. This new office was conceived as a first step towards the establishment of a permanent bureaucratic body for the supranational union, eventually superseding Mercosur and CAN political bodies. On 1 December 2010, Uruguay became the ninth nation to ratify the UNASUR treaty, thus giving the union full legality.[8][9]

As the Constitutive Treaty enters into force on 11 March 2011, UNASUR will become a legal entity during a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador, where they will lay the foundation stone for the Secretariat Headquarters.[10]



At the Third South American Summit on 8 December 2004, presidents or representatives from 12 South American nations 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 their intention to model the new community after 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 29–30 September 2005. An important operating condition of UNASUR 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.

Name change

On 28 December 2005, Chilean former foreign minister Ignacio Walker proposed that the Union's former designation, the South American Community of Nations, abbreviated as CSN, be changed to South American Union; nevertheless, many members stated to him that that proposal had already been rejected to prevent confusion since its acronym of U.S.A. (Spanish: Unión Sudamericana) would be easily confused for the United States of America.

The name was finally changed on 16 April 2007 to Union of South American Nations. The new name was jointly agreed by all member states during the first day of meeting at the First South American Energy Summit,[11] held at Isla Margarita, Venezuela.

Structure of the UNASUR

At the moment, the provisional structure of the UNASUR is as follows:

  • A permanent Secretariat is to be established in Quito, Ecuador. The Secretary General, with a two-year mandate, is to be elected on a consensual basis among the Heads of State of the member states. Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner was designated the first Secretary General on 4 May 2010.[12]
  • The presidents of the member nations will have an annual meeting, which will have the superior political mandate. The first meeting was in Brasília (Brazil) on 29–30 September 2005. The second meeting was in Cochabamba (Bolivia) on 8–9 December 2006. The third meeting was held in Brasília on 23 May 2008.
Néstor Kirchner, first Secretary General.
Extraordinary Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Union of South American Nations, held in Brasília.
  • The Presidency Pro Tempore, is exercised for a one-year period on a pro tempore basis by one of the heads of state of each UNASUR Member State, the succession following alphabetical order. The first leader to occupy this position was Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. According to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue[13] which was signed during the I South American Energy Summit.
  • 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.
  • Sectorial Ministers' meeting will be called upon by the presidents. The meetings will be developed according to Mercosur's and CAN's mechanisms.
  • On 9 December 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.[13]

Organs of the Unasur

The organs of UNASUR are[14][15][16]:

  • Council of Heads of State and of Government of Unasur
  • President Pro Tempore of UNASUR
  • Council of Minister of External Relationships of Unasur
  • Council of Delegates of Unasur
  • Secretary General of UNASUR

Ministerial Councils of the Unasur

They are eight Ministerial Councils of the Unasur.[17]

  • South American Council of Social Development
  • South American Council of fight against the drug traffic
  • South American Council of Health
  • South American Council of Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Innovation
  • South American Council of Defense
  • South American Council of Energy
  • South American Council of Economy and Finances
  • South American Council of Infrastructure and Planning

Other institutions of Unasur

Current work in progress

Union of South American Nations
Emblem of the Union of South American Nations.svg

view · edit] Single market

One of the initiatives of UNASUR is the creation of a single market, beginning with the elimination of tariffs for non-sensitive products by 2014, and for sensitive products by 2019. The process is to be developed upon the progressive convergence of the procedures of pre-existing Mercosur and CAN subregional economic blocks.[citation needed]

Economic development

Presidents of the seven founding countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay) officially launched the South American Bank in Buenos Aires in December 2007. The heads of all the founding countries were at the ceremony, with the exception of President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay. The capital will be US$7b, with Venezuela responsible for US$3b and Brazil US$2b. The headquarters will be located in Caracas with offices in Buenos Aires and La Paz.[18][19]

The Bank of the South will finance economic development projects to improve local competitiveness and to promote the scientific and technological development of the member states.

The founding chart affirms that the Bank will promote projects in "stable and equal" manner and priorities will be pointed to reinforce South American integration, to reduce asymmetries, and to promote egalitarian distribution of investments.

The Brazilian Minister, Guido Mantega, stated that the bank is not similar to the International Monetary Fund; it will be a credit institution similar to the World Bank.

Defence policy

Presidents and other members of UNASUR at the First Brasília Summit on 29 September 2005.
Presidents of UNASUR member states at the Second Brasília Summit on 23 May 2008.

The South American Defence Council (CDS) was proposed by Venezuela and Brazil to serve as a mechanism for regional security, promoting military co-operation and regional defence. From the beginning Brazil, Argentina and Chile, the countries that took the leadership of the project, made clear that they did not intend to form a NATO-like alliance, but a cooperative security arrangement, enhancing multilateral military cooperation, promoting confidence and security building measures and fostering defense industry exchange. Colombia initially refused to join the defence council due to the strong military ties it has with the United States through the Plan Colombia. However after reviewing the proposal they decided to join on 20 July 2008.[20][21]

Shortly following the signing by Colombia's President, President of Chile Michelle Bachelet appointed a working group to investigate and draft a plan for the new council. Finally, on 10 March 2009, the 12 nation members held, in Chile, the first meeting of the newly formed council.[22]

In mid-2010 UNASUR played a key role in mediating the 2010 Colombia–Venezuela diplomatic crisis. On 1 September 2010, the agency "UnasurHaití" was created to provide US$ 100 million in help to Haiti.[23]

Infrastructure cooperation

  • There is an Initiative for Infrastructure Integration of South America (IIRSA) underway, which has received the support of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean Development Corporation.
  • UNASUR started plans of integration through infrastructure cooperation with the construction of the Interoceanic Highway, a road that intends to more firmly link the Pacific Coast countries, especially Chile and Peru with Brazil and Argentina by extending highways through the continent, allowing better connections to ports from Bolivia and the inner parts of Argentina, Peru, and Brazil. The first corridor, between Peru and Brazil, began construction in September 2005, financed 60% by Brazil and 40% by Peru, was expected to be ready by the end of 2009.
  • The South American Energy Ring is intended to interconnect Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay with natural gas from several sources, such as the Camisea Gas Project in Peru and Tarija Gas Deposits in Bolivia. Though this proposal has been signed and ratified, economic and political difficulties in Argentina and Bolivia have delayed this initiative, and to date, this agreement remains more like a protocol than an actual project, since Chile and Brazil are already building LNG terminals to import gas from overseas suppliers.

Free movement of people

Visits by South American citizens to any South American country of up to 90 days require only the presentation of an identity card issued by the respective authority of the travellers' country of origin. On 24 November 2006, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela waived visa requirements for tourism travel between nationals of said countries.[24]


Brazil has introduced a new temporary residency program for citizens of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Under the new program, eligible citizens of these countries will benefit from a simplified application process, which can be completed from within Brazil. If successful, they will receive a two-year residency status, after which they will be eligible for permanent residency.

Eligible citizens of the Mercosur member countries (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and two Mercosur "associated countries" (Chile and Bolivia) can now apply for a special two-year temporary residency program in Brazil using a simplified application process. The new program was introduced by a government decree published on 8 October 2009, but administrative delays prevented the new program from being implemented until now.

Under the new program, natural-born citizens of these countries, or individuals who have held citizenship in these countries for at least five years, plus their legal dependents (regardless of nationality), may obtain temporary residency status in Brazil that will remain valid for two years. The temporary residency program is not linked to a specific employer, and from an immigration perspective, these residents are eligible to work for any employer in Brazil. After the first two years, the candidate is eligible for permanent residency.

Nationals of these five countries may apply for this residency program abroad at a Brazilian consular post or from within Brazil to the Brazilian Federal Police. Applicants must demonstrate their identity, citizenship and good character by presenting documents requested by immigration authorities, such as: passports, identity cards, or nationality certificates issued by their country of origin's consular post; birth certificates; marriage certificates (if applicable); declarations of criminal clearance or criminal clearance certificates; and registration fees.[25]

According to Brazilian Labour Department, between 2005 and July, 2009: 3,083 Argentines, 1,303 Venezuelans, 1,168 Chileans, 476 Bolivians, 314 Uruguayans, 159 Paraguayans entered Brazil to work.[26]

Participating nation states

In force
Cartagena Agreement
Treaty of Asunción
Cusco Declaration
Constitutive Treaty
Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif
      Union of South American Nations (UNASUL)
  Andean Pact (Andean Community of Nations)
    Mercosur Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif
        v · d · e
UNASUR member states, map includes the claimed Antarctic territories by Chile and Argentina. Territories in white are not part of Unasur

¹ These countries are also considered to be associate members of Mercosur.
² These countries are also considered to be associate members of the Andean Community.
³ Has ratified the Constitutive Treaty.[27][28][29]
C Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state
L Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) member state
M MERCOSUR acceding state, only waiting for Paraguay's congress ratification

Participating non-South American territories

The following territories situated outside South America are part of member states and therefore participate:

  • Easter Island (Rapa Nui), a Chilean territory situated in Oceania
  • San Andrés y Providencia, a Colombian territory situated in Central America
  • Isla Aves, a Venezuelan territory situated in the Antilles.
  • Argentine and Chilean Antarctic bases in their Antarctic territorial claims

Non-participating South American states and territories

The following parts of South America are territories of non-South American states and therefore do not participate:

1 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are commonly associated with Antarctica.


  • First UNASUR Summit, 2008, 15 September, Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • Second UNASUR Summit, 2009, 10 August, Quito, Ecuador
  • Third UNASUR Summit, 2009, 28 August, Bariloche, Argentina
  • Fourth UNASUR Summit, 2010, 26 November, Georgetown, Guyana

There were many other presidential extraordinary meetings such as :

  • May 2010 : Buenos Aires : Election of Néstor Kirchner as secretary-general
  • September 2010 : Buenos Aires : 2010 Ecuador crisis
  • December 2010 : Mar del Plata ( in concordance with the Ibero-American Summit ) : Kirchner's successor after his death

See also


  1. ^ "UNASUR Means Union of South American Nations, Hugo Chávez". mathaba. 18 April 2007. http://mathaba.net/news/?x=553613. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Goodman, Joshua (23 May 2008). "South American Presidents Agree to Form Unasur Bloc (Update3)". Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=abWOMOeJUK7Y&refer=home. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  3. ^ http://www.guyanachronicleonline.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=34950:the-republic-of-paraguay-is-new-pro-tempore-chairmanship-of-unasur&catid=2:news&Itemid=2
  4. ^ http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/66646/mar%C3%ADa-emma-mej%C3%ADa-appointed-as-unasurs-secretary-general
  5. ^ The World Factbook. The World Factbook.
  6. ^ a b c d e World Economic Outlook Database, April 2009 edition.
  7. ^ "South America nations found union". BBC News. 23 May 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7417896.stm. Retrieved 23 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Uruguay Senate puts Unasur over the top". Buenos Aires Herald. 30 November 2010. http://www.buenosairesherald.com/BreakingNews/View/52731. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Uruguay‘s ratification gives Unasur legal status (nine out of twelve)". MercoPress. 2 December 2010. http://en.mercopress.com/2010/12/02/uruguay-s-ratification-gives-unasur-legal-status-nine-out-of-twelve. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Sede de Unasur llevará el nombre de Néstor Kirchner" (in Spaninh). telesur. 9 March 2011. http://www.telesurtv.net/secciones/noticias/89973-NN/sede-de-unasur-llevara-el-nombre-de-nestor-kirchner. 
  11. ^ "Chávez: presidentes acordaron llamar Unasur a integración política regional" (in Spanish). Terra Networks. 17 April 2007. http://www.terra.com.pr/noticias/articulo/html/act804400.htm. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Garces, Raul O.; Calatrava, Almudena (4 May 2010). "Néstor Kirchner to Head South American Bloc". ABC News. Associated Press. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=10551494. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Decisions reached in the Political Dialogue among the Heads of State and of Government". 16 April 2007. http://www.comunidadandina.org/ingles/documentos/documents/unasur16-4-07.htm. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ [3]
  17. ^ [4]
  18. ^ "South American leaders sign agreement creating South Bank". MercoPress. 27 September 2009. http://en.mercopress.com/2009/09/27/south-american-leaders-sign-agreement-creating-south-bank. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  19. ^ "Venezuela summit criticises West". BBC News. 27 September 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8277016.stm. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  20. ^ "Uribe anuncia que Colombia ingresará al Consejo de Seguridad de Suramérica (Unasur)" (in Spanish). El Economista. 20 July 2008. http://ecodiario.eleconomista.es/internacional/noticias/664160/07/08/Uribe-anuncia-que-Colombia-ingresara-al-Consejo-de-Seguridad-de-Suramerica-Unasur.html. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  21. ^ "Colombia refuses to join regional defense council". People's Daily Online. 24 May 2008. http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90852/6417480.html. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  22. ^ "The Paradox of South American Integration: The Founding of a Defense Council". Council on Hemispheric Affairs. 12 March 2009. http://www.coha.org/the-paradox-of-south-american-integration-the-founding-of-a-defense-council/. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  23. ^ "La Unasur ya tiene oficina en Haití" (in Spanish). Página/12. 1 September 2010. http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-152380-2010-09-01.html. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  24. ^ CNN
  25. ^ Immigration in Mercosur
  26. ^ Foreign Workers in Brazil 2005-July 2009
  27. ^ Perú oficializa ratificación de Tratado Constitutivo de Unasur
  28. ^ "Argentina ratifies adhesion to Unasur following unanimous vote in Congress". MercoPress. 10 June 2010. http://en.mercopress.com/2010/06/10/argentina-ratifies-adhesion-to-unasur-following-unanimous-vote-in-congress. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  29. ^ "Cámara Alta aprueba proyecto constitutivo de la Unasur" (in Spanish). El Mercurio Online. 8 September 2010. http://www.emol.com/noticias/economia/detalle/detallenoticias.asp?idnoticia=435182. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  30. ^ "Falkland Islands government - organisation". http://www.falklands.gov.fk/organisation.php. Retrieved 24 May 2008. 
  31. ^ Treaty of Lisbon: Annexes.
  32. ^ See Sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and Sovereignty of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

External links

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