This is the text of the statement made today by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali at the fifth summit conference of Ibero-American Heads of State and Government at San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina:


The United Nations values highly the association of nations of shared cultural and linguistic heritage -- the Commonwealth, the Francophone countries, the Lusophone countries, the Ibero-American family of nations gathered here today. Such associations are a critical component of international cooperation.

It was a major advance for world affairs when, in 1945, regionalism was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Chapter VIII of the Charter envisions regionalism and internationalism working not at odds, but together. This vision motivated the United Nations, in its earliest years, to create regional economic commissions. This vision today motivates the United Nations to explore new forms of cooperation with regional groups of all types, in all areas of endeavour.

With the end of the cold war, and the arrival of a truly global era, the democratization of the international system has never been more necessary, nor more possible. Regional associations are essential to international democratization. They enable new actors to emerge on the world stage. They keep open the channels of communication. They link all levels of international affairs: from the individual to the community to the State, the region and the international arena. In all these ways they facilitate the process of democratization of the international system.

It is especially welcome to see this process at work here, in Ibero- America, inspired by the great democratic revolutions of Latin America.

The heritage of democracy also contributes to the objective of education for development. The best way to cultivate a citizen's readiness to participate in development is to arouse that person's energy, creativity and commitment through democratization and human rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights not only recognizes education as a fundamental human right. It proclaims that, "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups."

Thus we see a chain of logic. Development depends upon skilled and creative people. Such people can be produced only through education. Education, to be effective, must explore the full range of the mind in ways that only a democratic system makes possible. And education itself, as the Universal Declaration says, shall foster these underlying principles of freedom and justice.

Here in Ibero-America all the elements for progress are present. Here is the heritage. Here is the inspiration. Here is the talent. Here is the spirit and the vision. Thank you for permitting me to be here today. The future of this great continent is truly unlimited. Here, at this Summit, you can set the course for tomorrow.

For information media. Not an official record.