North American Leaders Pledge H1N1 Cooperation

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Barack Obama joined Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in declaring "deepened cooperation" in preparing for the resurgence of swine flu today.

In a statement released by the White House, the North American leaders said that they will "work together to ensure that we have effective strategies, grounded in the best available science" to address the H1N1 pandemic.

Mr. Obama, Calderon, and Harper met in Guadalajara, Mexico Monday to discuss issues facing their respective countries, including economic recovery and climate change in addition to the possible spread of swine flu in the fall.

The full statement is below:

Joint Statement by President Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Aug. 10, 2009, as released by the White House.
We, the leaders of North America, have come together in Guadalajara to promote the global competitiveness of our region, foster the well-being of our citizens, and make our countries more secure. We build our collaboration on the understanding that our deepening ties are a source of strength and that challenges and opportunities in one North American country can and do affect us all. North American cooperation is rooted in shared values, complementary strengths, and the dynamism of our peoples. We are confident that working together we can help our societies thrive in the challenging, competitive, and promising century ahead.

North America's coordinated response to the initial outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus has proven to be a global example of cooperation. We set an example of a joint, responsible, and transparent response, enabling other regions to react quickly to protect their populations. Through planning and foresight, we were quickly able to put effective health measures in place. We will remain vigilant and commit ourselves to continued and deepened cooperation. We will work together to learn from recent experiences and prepare North America for the upcoming influenza season, including building up our public health capacities and facilitating efficient information sharing among our countries.

Promoting recovery from the current global economic crisis is a priority for each of us. By working together, we will accelerate recovery and job creation, and build a strong base for long-term prosperity. We look forward to the coming G20 Summit in Pittsburgh and will join efforts to ensure that the G20 continues to advance effective global responses to the crisis, including working to strengthen international financial institutions that are vital to assisting countries to restore economic vibrancy. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) plays a crucial role in mitigating the effects of the crisis in the Americas, particularly for the most vulnerable citizens of our Hemisphere. We support an accelerated review of the IDB to ensure it has sufficient short-term lending capacity.
Our integrated economies are an engine of growth. We are investing in border infrastructure, including advanced technology, to create truly modern borders to facilitate trade and the smooth operation of supply chains, while protecting our security. Building on these investments, we will work together to strengthen the resilience of our critical infrastructure, which transcends borders and sustains the well-being of our communities and economies. We will cooperate in the protection of intellectual property rights to facilitate the development of innovative economies. We commend the progress achieved on reducing unnecessary regulatory differences and have instructed our respective Ministers to continue this work by building on the previous efforts, developing focused priorities and a specific timeline.

North American trade is a vital component of our economic well-being and we pledge to abide by our international responsibilities and avoid protectionist measures. We reiterate our commitment to reinvigorate our trading relationship and to ensure that the benefits of our economic relationship are widely shared and sustainable. We will seek to promote respect for labour rights and protection of the environment with a continuing dialogue to address the functioning of the Labor and Environmental side agreements. This dialogue must result in mutually agreeable and cooperative activities with the aim to enhance the well-being and prosperity of our citizens and the economic recovery of our countries.

We recognize climate change as one of the most daunting and pressing challenges of our time and a solution requires ambitious and coordinated efforts by all nations. Building on our respective national efforts, we will show leadership by working swiftly and responsibly to combat climate change as a region and to achieve a successful outcome at the 15th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We also recognize that the competitiveness of our region and our sustainable growth requires a greater reliance on clean energy technologies and secure and reliable energy supplies across North America. Today, in agreeing to the "North American Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy", we reaffirm our political commitment to work collaboratively to combat climate change.

Transnational criminal networks threaten all three of our countries. To dismantle them and to make our populations more secure, we will continue to deepen cooperation built upon the principles of shared responsibility, the strengthening of national institutions, and respect for our respective national legal frameworks. Canada and the United States recognize the commitment and the sacrifices of the Mexican people and Government as they confront the cartels threatening society, and we pledge to them our continued support. Our three governments recognize that we cannot limit our efforts to North America alone, and we have agreed to instruct our respective Ministers to strive for greater cooperation and coordination as we work to promote security and institutional development with our neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean.

We are deeply committed to helping strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law throughout the Americas. We support a leading role for the Organization of American States (OAS) as we work together to strengthen implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We have thoroughly discussed the coup in Honduras and reaffirm our support for the San José Accord and the ongoing OAS effort to seek a peaceful resolution of the political crisis - a resolution which restores democratic governance and the rule of law and respects the rights of all Hondurans.

We recognize and embrace citizen participation as an integral part of our work together in North America. We welcome the contributions of businesses, both large and small, and those of civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, academics, experts, and others. We have asked our Ministers to engage in such consultations as they work to realize the goals we have set for ourselves here in Guadalajara.

President Calderón and President Obama welcome Prime Minister Harper's offer to host the next North American Leaders´ Summit in 2010. We will continue to work through this North American Leaders' Summit process, in an inclusive and transparent manner, for the common benefit of the people of Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
  • Prerana Swami

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