Decision 593
Creation of the Andean Council of Education Ministers and Principals in Charge of the Cultural Policies

THE ANDEAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

HAVING REVIEWED: Article 3 of the Cartagena Agreement coded through Decision 563 and Proposal 134/Rev. 1 of the General Secretariat; and

WHEREAS: The Cartagena Agreement establishes that the purpose of the Andean integration is "to strive for the consistent improvement of the living standards of the subregion population";

In several opportunities, the Andean Presidential Council has defined that the development of the social scope of the integration is a priority requirement to reinforce the socially positive effects of the economic and commercial effects and contribute to the social development of the Andean Community;

Concerning education and culture, the Andean Presidential Council has reiterated its concern for the coverage, quality and pertinence of education, and has expressed the need that it should respond to the challenges of development and the imperatives of competitiveness. It has also recognized the importance to strengthen the Andean cultural identity based on its rich diversity and the development of an integration culture among the Andean citizens;

In its 1st Meeting held in 1999, the Ministers of Education and the Principals in Charge of the Cultural Policies of the Andean Community agreed on an Action Plan covering a wide range of topics for the execution of community actions and the promotion of the access of all the subregion inhabitants to a quality education that responds to the aforementioned challenges and imperatives;

The Ministers of Education and the Principals in Charge of the Cultural Policies of the Andean Community Member Countries are all members of the Andrés Bello Convention, through which a series of activities and projects of unquestionable importance are coordinated and promoted, as is widely recognized both inside and outside the Andean subregion;

Nevertheless, the development of the Social Agenda of the Andean integration requires also the adoption and execution in the Andean Community of reciprocal education and culture obligations and commitments with a binding character;

Based on these considerations and in consultation with the Andrés Bello Convention, the need to constitute a mechanism for a closer coordination among the Ministers of Education and the Principals in Charge of the Andean Community Cultural Policies was advised;

DECIDES:

Article 1.- The creation of the Andean Council of Ministers of Education and Principals in Charge of the Cultural Policies.

Article 2.- The objectives of such Council include:

a) To offer its opinion and formulate recommendations to the Andean Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and the other bodies and institutions of the Andean integration system on educational and cultural aspects of the Andean integration process.

b) To promote the aspects connected with the education required to upgrade the Andean common market and the free circulation of persons within the subregional area.

c) To promote the convergence of the educational policies of the Andean Community Member Countries and the progressive harmonization of school programs.

d) To coordinate the introduction in the subregion of integration topics in the basic education programs and materials.

e) To ensure the execution of the community social programs and the education and culture horizontal technical cooperation program contemplated in the Social Development Integrated Plan, in close coordination with the Andean Council of Social Development Ministers and the Andrés Bello Convention.

f) To facilitate the adoption of common or concerted positions on education and culture topics in international forums and negotiations.

Article 3.- The Andean Council of Ministers of Education and Principals in Charge of the Cultural Policies will be formed by the Ministers of Education and the governmental authorities responsible for the cultural policies in each one of the Member Countries.

The Council will meet on the occasion of the Andrés Bello Convention meetings convened by the Minister of Education that presides the Convention, according to the rotary system adopted by the Andean Community.

The General Secretariat of the Andean Community will assume the functions of Technical Secretariat of the Council with the support of the Executive Secretariat of the Andrés Bello Convention.

Article 4.- The Andean Community Council of Ministers of Education and Principals in Charge of the Cultural Policies will establish consultation and coordination links with the Andean Council of Social Development Ministers and the other Councils and Committees presently in force or that may be created in the future in the Andean Community with topics that are considered similar or related to the educational and cultural development objectives, in coordination with the General Secretariat of the Andean Community and the Andrés Bello Convention.

Given in the city of Quito, Republic of Ecuador, on July 10, 2004.