Act of Bogota; September 13, 1960

Text of Act of Bogota, recommending Measures for Social Improvement and Economic Development within the Framework of Operation Pan America, adopted by the Council of the Organization of American States on September 13, 1960, and approved by the Council in a resolution dated October 11, 1960

The Special Committee to Study the Formulation of New Measures for Economic Cooperation,

RECOGNIZING that the preservation and strengthening of free and democratic institutions in the American republics requires the acceleration of social and economic progress in Latin America adequate to meet the legitimate aspirations of the peoples of the Americas for a better life and to provide them the fullest opportunity to improve their status;

RECOGNIZING that the interests of the American republics are so interrelated that sound social and economic progress in each is of importance to all and that lack of it in any American republic may have serious repercussions in others;

COGNIZANT of the steps already taken by many American republics to cope with the serious economic and social problems confronting them, but convinced that the magnitude of these problems calls for redoubled efforts by governments and for a new and vigorous program of inter-American cooperation

RECOGNIZING that economic development programs, which should be urgently strengthened and expanded, may have a delayed effect on social welfare, and that accordingly early measures are needed to cope with social needs;

RECOGNIZING that the success of a cooperative program of economic and social progress will require maximum self-help efforts on the part of the American republics and, in many cases, the improvement of existing institutions and practices, particularly in the fields of taxation, the ownership and use of land, education and training, health and housing;

BELIEVING it opportune to give further practical expression to the spirit of Operation Pan America by immediately enlarging the opportunities of the people of Latin America for social progress, thus strengthening of their hopes for the future;

CONSIDERING it advisable to launch a program for social development in which emphasis should be given to those measures that meet social needs and also promote increases in productivity and strengthen economic development

RECOMMENDS to the Council of the Organization of American States:


An inter-American program for social development should be established which should be directed to the carrying out of the following measures of social improvement in Latin America, as considered appropriate in each country:

A. Measures for the improvement of conditions of rural living and land use

1. The examination of existing legal and institutional systems with respect to:

a. land tenure legislation and facilities with a view to ensuring a wider and more equitable distribution of the ownership of land, in a manner consistent with the objectives of employment, productivity and economic growth;

b. agricultural credit institutions with a view to providing adequate financing to individual farmers or groups of farmers;

c. tax systems and procedures and fiscal policies with a View to assuring equity of taxation and encouraging improved use of land, especially of privately-owned land which is idle.

2. The initiation or acceleration of appropriate programs to modernize and improve the existing legal and institutional framework to ensure better conditions of land tenure, extend more adequate credit facilities and provide increased incentives in the land tax structure.

3. The acceleration of the preparation of projects and programs for:

a. land reclamation and land settlement, with a view to promoting more widespread ownership and efficient use of land, particularly of unutilized or under-utilized land;

b. the increase of the productivity of land already in use; and

c. the construction of farm-to-market and access roads.

4. The adoption or acceleration of other government service programs designed particularly to assist the smaller farmer, such as new or Improved marketing organizations; extension services; research and basic surveys; and demonstration, education, and training facilities.

B. Measures for the improvement of housing and community facilities

1. The examination of existing policies in the field of housing and community facilities, including urban and regional planning, with a view to improving such policies, strengthening public institutions and promoting private initiative and participation in programs in these fields. Special consideration should be given to encouraging financial institutions to invest in low-cost housing on a long-term basis and in building and construction industries.

2. The strengthening of the existing legal and institutional framework for mobilizing financial resources to provide better housing and related facilities for the people and to create new institutions for this purpose when necessary. Special consideration should be given to legislation and measures which would encourage the establishment and growth of:

a. private financing institutions, such as building and loan associations;

b. institutions to insure sound housing loans against loss;

c. institutions to serve as a secondary market for home mortgages;

d. institutions to provide financial assistance to local communities for the development of families such as water supply, sanitation and other public works.

Existing national institutions should be utilized, wherever practical and appropriate, in the application of external resources to further the development of housing and community facilities.

3. The expansion of home building industries through such measures as the training of craftsman and other personnel, research, the introduction of new techniques, and the development of construction standards for low- and medium-cost housing.

4. The lending of encouragement and assistance to programs, on a pilot basis, for aided self-help housing, for the acquisition and subdivision of land for low-cost housing developments, and for industrial housing projects.

C. Measures for the improvement of educational systems and training facilities

1. The reexamination of educational systems, giving particular attention:

a. the development of modern methods of mass education for the eradication of illiteracy;

b. the adequacy of training in the industrial arts and sciences with due emphasis on laboratory and work experience and on the practical application of knowledge for the solution of social and economic problems;

c. the need to provide instruction in rural schools not only in basic subjects but also in agriculture, health, sanitation, nutrition, and in methods of home and community improvement;

d. the broadening of courses of study in secondary schools to provide the; training necessary for clerical and executive personnel in industry, commerce, public administration, and community service;

e. specialized trade and industrial education related to the commercial and industrial needs of the community;

f. vocational agricultural instruction;

g. advanced education of administrators, engineers, economists, and other professional personnel of key importance to economic development.

D. Measures for the improvement of public health

1. The reexamination of programs and policies of public health, giving particular attention to:

a. strengthening the expansion of national and local health services, especially those directed to the reduction of infant mortality;

b. the progressive development of health insurance systems, including those providing for maternity, accident and disability insurance, in urban and rural areas;

c. the provision of hospital and health service in areas located away from main centers of population

d. the extension of public medical services to areas of exceptional need;

e. the strengthening of campaigns for the control or elimination of communicable diseases with special attention to the eradication of malaria:

f. the provision of water supply facilities for purposes of health and economm development;

g. the training of public health officials and technicians;

h. the strengthening of programs of nutrition for low-income groups.

E. Measures for the mobilization of domestic resources

1. This program shall be carried out within the framework of the maximum creation of domestic savings and of the improvement of fiscal and financial practices;

2. The equity and effectiveness of existing tax schedules, assessment practices and collection procedures shall be examined with a view to providing additional revenue for the purpose of this program;

3. The allocation of tax revenues shall be reviewed, having in mind an adequate provision of such revenues to the areas of social development mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs.


1. The delegations of the Governments of the Latin American republics welcome the decision of the Government of the United States to establish a special inter-American fund for social development, with the Inter-American Development Bank to become the primary mechanism for the administration of the fund.

2. It is understood that the purpose of the special fund would be to contribute capital resources and technical assistance on flexible terms and conditions, including repayment in local currency and the relending of repaid funds in accordance with appropriate and selective criteria in the light of the resources available, to support the efforts of the Latin American countries that are prepared to initiate or expand effective institutional improvements and to adopt measures to employ efficiently their own resources with a view to achieving greater social progress and more balanced economic growth.


The Special Committee,

HAVING IN VIEW Resolution VII adopted at the Seventh Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs expressing the need for the maximum contribution of member countries in hemisphere cooperation in the struggle against underdevelopment, in pursuance of the objectives of Operation Pan America,


1. That within the framework of Operation Pan America, the economic development of Latin America requires prompt action of exceptional breadth in the field of international cooperation and domestic effort comprising:

a. additional public and private financial assistance on the part of capital exporting countries of America, Western Europe, and international lending agencies within the framework of their charters, with special attention to:

i. the need for loans on flexible terms and conditions, including, whenever advisable in the light of the balance of payments situation of individual countries, the possibility of repayment in local currency,

ii. the desirability of the adequate preparation and implementation of development projects and plans, within the framework of the monetary, fiscal and exchange policies necessary for their effectiveness, utilizing as appropriate the technical assistance of inter-American and international agencies.

iii. the advisability, in special cases, of extending foreign financing for the coverage of local expenditures;

b. mobilization of additional domestic capital, both public and private;

c. technical assistance by the appropriate international agencies in the preparation and implementation of national and regional Latin American development projects and plans;

d. the necessity for developing and strengthening credit facilities for small and medium private business, agriculture and industry.


1. That special attention be given to an expansion of long-term lending, particularly in view of the instability of exchange earnings of countries exporting primary products and of the unfavourable effect of the excessive accumulation of short- and medium-term debt on continuing and orderly economic development.

2. That urgent attention be given to the search for effective and practical ways, appropriate to each commodity, to deal with the problem of the instability of exchange earnings of countries heavily dependent upon the exportation of primary products.


The Special Committee,

CONSIDERING the need for providing instruments and mechanisms for the implementation of the program of inter-American economic and social cooperation which would periodically review the progress made and propose measures for further mobilization of resources,


1. That the Inter-American Economic and Social Council undertake to organize annual consultative meetings to review the social and economic progress of member countries, to analyze and discuss the progress achieved and the problems encountered in each country to exchange opinions on possible measures that might be adopted to intensify further social and economic progress, within the framework of Operation Pan America, and to prepare reports on the outlook for the future. Such annual meetings should begin with an examination by experts and terminate with a session at the ministerial level.

2. That the Council of the Organization of American States convene within 60 days of the date of this Act a special meeting of senior government representatives to find ways of strengthening and improving the ability of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council to render elective assistance to governments with a view to achieving the objectives enumerated below, taking into account the proposal submitted by the delegation of Argentina in Document CECE/III-13:

a. To further the economic and social development of Latin American countries;

b. To promote trade between the countries of the Western Hemisphere as well as between them and extra-continental countries;

c. To facilitate the flow of capital and the extension of credits to the countries of Latin America from both the Western Hemisphere and from extra-continental sources.

3. The special meeting shall:

a. Examine the existing structure of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, and of the units of the Secretariat of the Organization of American States working in the economic and social fields, with a view to strengthening and improving the Inter-American Economic and Social Council;

b. Determine the means of strengthening inter-American economic and social cooperation by an administrative reform of the Secretariat, which should be given sufficient technical, administrative and financial flexibility for the adequate fulfillment of its tasks;

c. Formulate recommendations designed to assure effective coordination between the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, the Economic Commission for Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies and other agencies offering technical advice and services in the Western Hemisphere.

d. Propose procedures designed to establish effective liaison of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council and other regional American organizations with other international organizations for the purpose of study, discussion and consultation in the fields of international trade and financial and technical assistance;

e. And formulate appropriate recommendations to the Council of the Organization of American States.

In approving the Act of Bogota the Delegations to the Special Committee, convinced that the people of the Americas can achieve a better life only within the democratic system, renew their faith in the essential values which lie at the base of Western civilization, and reaffirm their determination to assure the fullest measure of well-being to the people of the Americas under conditions of freedom and respect for the supreme dignity of the individual.

Inter-American relations; collection of documents, legislation, descriptions of inter-American organizations, and other material pertaining to inter-American affairs.
Compiled by Barry Sklar and Virginia M. Hagen
Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1972

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