South American physical integration has always been a necessity, and discussions over how to create a more effective process to overcome the logistics and physical integration infrastructure obstacles in the region can be traced as far back as more than a decade ago.
The First Summit Meeting of South American Presidents, held in Brasilia (Brazil) in 2000, was a landmark event that launched a multi-layered process of integration and cooperation involving the twelve independent South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
A concrete outcome of this vision was the creation of the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA), which “seeks to encourage the integration and modernization of physical infrastructure under a regional vision of the South American space.” (Brasilia, 2000)
Since then, thirteen presidential summits have been held, in the course of which the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) began to take shape. The meetings of presidents increasingly gained formalization, culminating with the approval of the Constitutive Treaty of UNASUR on May 23, 2008, in the city of Brasilia.
Within this institutional framework, a number of sectoral councils at ministerial level were created to work on different areas, one of which is the South American Infrastructure and Planning Council (COSIPLAN), which was created on January 28, 2009, at the Third Meeting of the Council of UNASUR Heads of State.
IIRSA was incorporated into the Council as its Technical Forum to provide support on the planning of regional connectivity infrastructure.