The participation of Colombia in the Mesoamerica Project has become a unique opportunity to cooperate with Central America and lay the foundations for a proper physical integration from Mexico to the country.
Profile of the Organization
The Mesoamerica Project was formally created to replace the Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP) on July 29, 2009, through the “Minutes of Formalization of the Mesoamerica Project”, signed by the Heads of State of the Member Countries (Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá and Dominican Republic ) in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The PPP had been created on June 15, 2001 and formalized through the Tuxtla Declaration and Minutes in 2004, in Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México.
The Project aims to improve the quality of life of the region’s inhabitants, by way of the promotion of a sustainable and comprehensive development plan that influences regional integration and fosters social and economic development plans. The Mesoamerica Project´s main trait is the execution of specific regional impact programs.
The following are the decision-making organs:
- Summit of Heads of State and Government.
- Executive Commission (the High Counselor to the President for Competitiveness and Citizen Participation represents Colombia and the Assistant Presidential Commissioner is the Director for the Americas).
- Executive Management.
- Promotion and Financing Commission.
- Inter-Institutional Technical Group.
- Technical Commissions.
The Mesoamerica Project encompasses a series of projects classified in nine main priority areas articulated on economic and social axes:
- Highways and infrastructure.
- Modernization of Customs systems and Border Crossings.
- Energy (Electricity and Biofuels).
- Telecommunications Integration.
- Competitiveness Indexes.
- Mesoamerican Public Health System.
- Mesoamerican Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
- Mesoamerican Territorial Information System.
- Program for the Development of social Housing in Central America.
The Mesoamerica Project has a Presidency Pro Tempore that rotates every six months, based on geographic criteria. Colombia held the Presidency during the second half of 2010.
Participation process of Colombia
Colombia started its participation as an observer of the PPP on November 19, 2004. Later, on July 11, 2006, during the VIII Summit of the Tuxtla Dialogue and Consensus Mechanism held in Panamá City, Colombia was accepted as a full member by way of a Joint Presidential Declaration. Colombia signed the Adhesion Agreement to the PPP in October 2006.
Since Colombia acquired its status as observer of the PPP, it has participated in certain initiatives, such as Energy Integration, Trade facilitation and competitiveness, Tourism, Sustainable Development, Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Telecommunications Interconnection, Roads Connectivity and the Mesoamerican Competitiveness Council.
On April 9 and 10, 2007 the Heads of State and Government of the PPP Member Countries gathered in Campeche, México, to form part of the “Summit to Strengthen the Puebla Panamá Plan”. The aim of said summit was to revise the progress made by the regional mechanism and take on a series of commitments towards achieving repositioning in the short term. At the summit, the Heads of State and Government brought forth proposals made by the Executive Commission aimed at strengthening the PPP and foster greater agility and effectiveness in the articulation of development projects and programs for the Mesoamerican region.
At the IX Summit of the Tuxtla Dialogue and Consensus Mechanism that took place from June 26 to 29, 2007 in Isla San Pedro, Belize, a Joint Presidential Declaration was issued, whereby Colombia would lead the Tourism Initiative and the Biofuels subject of the Plan Puebla Panamá –PPP.
During the X Summit of the Tuxtla Dialogue and Consensus Mechanism that was held in Villahermosa, Tabasco, México on June 28, 2008, a Joint Presidential Declaration was issued, whereby the name Puebla Panamá Plan would be replaced by Integration Project and Development of Mesoamerica or Mesoamerica Project, and instructions were imparted to conduct an institutional reform.
At the XI Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Tuxtla Dialogue and Consensus Mechanism held on July 29 in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Colombia was accepted as a Full Member of said Mechanism. Likewise, the Heads of State and Government subscribed the Summit Minutes, which not only institutionalizes the Integration Project and Development of Mesoamerica, but also replaces the Puebla Panamá Plan (PPP), and entails a new institutional platform that allows Colombia to be a part of the rotating Presidency Pro Tempore mechanism.
Upon the institutional shift, it was decided that all countries would rotate the Presidency Pro Tempore for 6 months, except México, who will maintain Permanent Co- Presidency.
The XII Summit of the Tuxtla Dialogue and Consensus Mechanism took place in Colombia in October 2010. During said summit, Colombia launched its Mesoamerica Cooperation Program.
The XIII Summit shall take place in Mexico during the second half of 2011.