The Case for Renewed Cooperation in a Troubled Hemisphere
Towards the Ninth Summit of the Americas
Across the Americas, political leadership committed to greater collaboration to tackle health, social, economic, and political challenges has been sorely lacking. The Dialogue is pleased to present the 2022 Linowitz report “The Case for Renewed Cooperation in a Troubled Hemisphere,” which provides an analysis of the interrelated challenges facing the Western Hemisphere today and policy proposals to enhance collaboration across the hemisphere, all with an eye towards the Ninth Summit of the Americas.
The report offers a sobering yet hopeful and realistic outlook on the challenges the hemisphere faces today. Outlined within the document are analyses of five key issues the Americas faces today, including threats to democracy, mixed results on social and economic development, health and the lasting impact of the pandemic, the ongoing migration, and refugee crisis, and enhancing hemispheric cooperation. The report concludes with recommendations for a path forward.
The outbreak of Covid-19 exacerbated preexisting social, economic, and political challenges throughout the Americas. In Latin America and the Caribbean, social discontent, democratic weakness, and economic hardship – evident before the pandemic – became even more severe with the unexpected challenges of uncontrollable infections, soaring deaths, and lockdowns. Despite the current political environment in the Americas, there is the possibility of greater hemispheric cooperation. The Ninth Summit of the Americas is an opportunity to be seized by President Biden and other leaders to consult with each other and propose practical ideas for joint efforts. Cooperation remains a crucial goal and must be considered part of the solution to multiple problems facing the Americas.
This report reflects the views of the Dialogue’s membership, which meets every two years at the Sol M. Linowitz Forum. Although not every member agrees with ever statement or recommendation in the text, most endorse the report’s content, and tone and its principal recommendations.
The Western Hemisphere must learn from its failure to cooperate on Covid-19. Governments across the region must collaborate to strengthen the Pan American Health Organization, share guidelines on travel and restrictions, and give greater priority to representation of marginalized groups in pandemic response planning and decision-making.
It is crucial to improve the effectiveness of the regional and hemispheric institutions that have been undermined by distrust and political fragmentation. The Organization of American States (OAS) should prioritize their efforts to strengthen the inter-American human rights systems, OAS electoral observation missions, and the OAS Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The Inter-American Development Bank should seek to restore its legitimacy by pairing a much-needed capital increase with measure to make the organization accountable and focus on the challenges of insufficient infrastructure and connectivity.
Migration is a hemisphere-wide challenge that requires greater collaboration. Cross-border cooperation is essential to assist in managing flows in a more orderly fashion and preventing abuses of migrants.
The governments of the Americas should take steps to combat corruption and organized crime more effectively. It must be acknowledged that the “War on Drugs” has failed. Policies to address domestic demand for drugs and to better control the flow of arms to Mexico and other countries in the region must be enacted. Hemispheric governments must work together to share intelligence to track the flow of illicit funds.
Greater cooperation can help accelerate the region’s social and economic recovery after Covid-19. Latin America and the Caribbean must work to quickly embrace digitalization, and attract investments in infrastructure, renewable energy, and the green economy.
Latin America and the Caribbean must address the ongoing education crisis. Leaders must work to address the considerable learning losses that took place during the pandemic and modernize education systems to make them more resilient to future shocks and better prepared to use technology to enable learning for all.
All governments in the hemisphere must work together to reverse the dangerous deterioration of democratic institutions and the rule of law. Given high levels of political fragmentation and the weakness of inter-American institutions, the creation of ad hoc coalitions of countries to address specific crises should be explored.
The intricacy to understand public information related to the fight against drug-trafficking, has resulted in the emergence of a series of myths and fallacies surrounding the violence derived from the so-called “war against drugs.”