Cover image of the 2017 EU-CELAC CSO Forum report, featuring a top view of hands holding onto each other in a sign of unity, lush green treetops from a high vantage point, and a stylized wave pattern overlaying a map of Europe and Latin America, symbolising a dynamic and interconnected relationship.

El Salvador Declaration of the Peoples of Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean

Before the Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union in their bi-regional relations

On September 7-8, 2017, CONCORD Europe and its Latin American partner Mesa de Articulación organised a Civil Society Forum in San Salvador, on 7 and 8 September 2017. During these two days, 150 participants from more than 80 organisations coming from many different European and Latin American countries undertook a critical analysis of the socioeconomic situation in Europe and Latin America and developed recommendations for both EU and Latin American and Caribbean governments in the framework of their bi-regional relations.

Following this Forum, CONCORD Europe and Mesa de Articulación (both confederations representing more than 2000 NGOs) along with other civil society organisations from Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe presented the El Salvador Declaration of the peoples of Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Read the full declaration here

According to the El Salvador Declaration, citizens across both Europe and Latin America feel that the political and economic elites do not represent their interests. Instead, according to the Declaration, those in power perpetuate types of development that are unsustainable and inequitable. At the same time, respect for human rights is being eroded. 

In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), these processes are characterised by:

  • growing inequalities
  • an emphasis on raw economic growth rather than development
  • a crisis in political representation
  • large-scale social mobilisation
  • institutional coups
  • corruption
  • polarisation
  • political violence, often directed towards environmental and human rights activists.

In Europe, features of this trend include:

  • increasing inequality
  • the promotion of adjustment policies
  • Euroscepticism, including the departure of the United Kingdom from the bloc
  • the weakening of traditional parties and the growth of xenophobic and nationalist movements
  • policies to restrict civil society space in several countries

Ahead of the EU-CELAC Heads of States Summit, this civil society Declaration calls on governments of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union to:

  • ensure the enjoyment of human rights and combat climate change in the framework of multilateral processes that contribute to socio-economic equality
  • foster a relationship that strengthens democracy and promotes a better balance between human rights, welfare and trade
  • promote equitable and cooperative bi-regional policies
  • promote greater space for civil society