3/2/2023 - Politics and Society

The importance of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone and its geopolitical relevance

By Belen Alvarez Bertonasco

The importance of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone and its geopolitical relevance

The reactivation of interests in the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone: What do the United States and Brazil look for in the Ocean?

During the second half of the year 2022, there was an interesting reactivation of the interests in the South Atlantic. After the rise to the presidency of Lula in Brazil and the announcement of the United States on support for freedom and cooperation in this area, we can see that it has taken a new relevance in the foreign agenda of America. But what are the new intentions of the United States and Brazil in the Ocean?

The Peace Zone and Atlantic Cooperation Sue or ZPCAS was born with the aim of promoting regional cooperation, as well as maintaining peace and security in the South Atlantic, being a space for dialogue and coordination between the riverside states of the Southern Cone and West sub-Saharan Africa. The organism is open to all countries that have exit to the sea or the coast over the South Atlantic Ocean. In addition, it can be understood as a mechanism of cooperation and integration that seeks to counteract the idea of militarizing the region by designing it as "power cycle".

In summary, the end of the ZPCAS is to promote regional cooperation, both Latin American and African, to maintain the peace and security of countries whose borders limit the South Atlantic Ocean. Particularly, the attention of it is focused on the issues of geographical prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their reduction, eventually eliminated the military presence of member countries in other regions of the world.


Its organic structure has a permanent committee. The forms of expression are statements and decisions. It has ministerial meetings held biannually, provided that they agree with the Member States.

Since its creation, seven ministerial meetings were held: the first in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1988); the second in Abuja, Nigeria (1990); the third in Brasilia, Brazil (1994); the fourth in Somerset West, South Africa (1996); the fifth in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1998); the sixth in Luanda, Angola (2007) and, lastly, the seventh in Montevideo, Uruguay (2013).

The last meeting was planned to take place in 2015 in Cape Verde, but was canceled by the country's internal instability. Since then, the organism had not had activity until its reactivation in the year 2021.

The return of Lula and his reinsertion on the plane of the South Atlantic

Lula Da Silva, the new elected president of Brazil, considers the process of reactivation and revitalization of ZPCAS as well as the need to preserve extra-regional political tensions as a platform to promote cooperation projects.

This relevance can be seen with Lula's first official visit since taking his presidency in 2022, to his strategic partner and neighbor, Argentina. During this visit they held a Joint Declaration, in which ZPCAS is taken into account with vital relevance.[1]

In addition, one can appreciate that, Lula, especially meets to have a geopolitical and strategic of the South Atlantic, taking into account that this year, finally, will take place the VIII Ministerial Meeting of ZPCAS, in Cape Verde.

With these statements and new plans in Brazilian foreign policy, could we ask ourselves; would Lula boost this geopolitical commitment of 24 countries in the South Atlantic Basin to avoid the disputes between the great powers in this portion of the global South? Is the will, creativity and commitment of the government to propose to the international community new concepts closer to the South on geopolitics and cooperation in a multilateral field?

The importance of the South Atlantic for the United States

On the other hand, the Joint Declaration on Atlantic Cooperation n° 2922 of the United States, in membership with several countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America mentions the importance of the South Atlantic and its geopolitics.

The Declaration seeks to explore ways to improve maritime governance, which include enabling cooperation in humanitarian response and search and rescue operations to deter piracy, fight illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing (INDNR) and combat drug trafficking. In the same way, cooperation between countries and the development of a sustainable ocean economy is of vital importance in improving maritime governance.

In turn, the United States mentions ZPCAS as a key body for the coordination of the countries of the South Atlantic, inviting other countries with coast to this ocean to join them.

What conclusions do we draw?

ZPCAS constitutes an organism of vital importance for the geopolitics of the South Atlantic, seeing that it is of relevance to both Brazil and the United States.

Members of Latin America of the organization, such as Brazil and Argentina, are promoting the re-release of ZPCAS, and the United States made the joint declaration with 15 other states.

In the light of these questions, do some questions and questions arise to be taken into account, such as what position will Uruguay take and the rest of the countries that integrate ZPCAS on the subject? What kind of paper will Brazil take before ZPCAS?

[1] Joint statement on the occasion of the official visit to the Argentine Republic of the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Available in https://www.cancilleria. gob.ar/es/currentity/news/declaration-joint-con-motive-de-la-visita-official-la-republica-argentina-del

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belen alvarez bertonasco

Belen Alvarez Bertonasco

Hi, I'm Bethlehem, a Bachelor of International Relations from Universidad del Salvador, Argentina.
I count on a Master's Degree in Journalism and Multimedia Communication from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain and with a Master's Degree in Strategy and Geopolitics from the National University of Defense, Argentina.
In addition, I am a member of the Youth Research Group of the Institute of International Relations of the National University of La Plata.


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