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Department of Political Affairs

Caribbean Region


In the Caribbean, DPA works primarily at the regional level in support of the efforts of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to address issues of concern to governments and peoples of the region. Bi-annual high-level meetings between the two organizations have focused most recently on issues such as the impact of the global economic crisis, climate change and the capacity of Caribbean islands to adequately respond to natural disasters and environmental crises, and violent crime linked to the transnational trade in drugs and small arms.

Central America

Guatemala children

The United Nations was deeply involved in the search for peace in Central America, whose armed conflicts were brought to end in the 1990s. U.N. observers monitored the 1990 elections in Nicaragua. U.N. envoys helped forge landmark peace agreements in El Salvador and Guatemala, and in both countries U.N. field missions managed by the Department of Political Affairs verified the implementation of the accords.

CICIG (International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala)


DPA spearheaded efforts by the United Nations to establish the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in response to a request for assistance from the Government of Guatemala. Acting as an independent international body, CICIG aims to investigate illegal security groups and clandestine security organizations in Guatemala – criminal groups believed to have infiltrated state institutions, undermining democratic gains in Guatemala since the end of the country's armed conflict in the 1990s.



DPA has worked with UNDP and other UN partners in support of political stability and social cohesion in Guyana since 2003. Guyana has made significant strides in recent years in consolidating democratic governance, social peace and development. Key steps included reaching an agreement among all stakeholders to promote greater dialogue and inclusion among the country’s different groups in order to advance the socio-economic development of Guyana.


SG with his PRSG Girvan

In April 2010, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Norman Girvan of Jamaica as his Personal Representative on the Border Controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. Mr. Girvan’s role will be to assist Guyana and Venezuela in resolving this long-standing controversy. His appointment responds to a request from the parties to resume the Secretary-General’s good offices, which were suspended in 2007 following the death of the Secretary-General’s last Personal Representative, Oliver Jackman.

South America

Secretary-General in Colombia, June 2011Paying a visit to South American countries in 2011, the Secretary-General highlighted the contribution of the region to key issues on the global agenda, such as peace and security, particularly in Haiti; the protection of human rights; transitions to democracy; poverty reduction; and climate change. The Secretary-General also welcomed the regional efforts on integration, South-South cooperation and disarmament.