"I am convinced that the region can play a bigger role in the UN and the UN can play a greater role in the region," was the message that the UN Secretary-General reiterated during his last trip to South America, in June 2011, when he visited Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. In February 2011, the Secretary-General visited Ecuador and Peru.
During these visits, the Secretary-General met with Heads of State, national authorities and representatives of civil society. The Secretary-General highlighted the contribution of South American countries 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.
The Secretary-General learned about the steady improvement that most of the countries in South America had achieved on the MDGs. He commended the progress made on women’s participation in elective office, while encouraging continued efforts to ensure gender equality in all spheres, as well as a firm commitment to stop violence and discrimination against women.
The Secretary-General also had the opportunity to meet with UN Country Teams. In South America, as in all regions, efforts are being made to ensure that the UN’s role at the country level is coherent, effective and efficient. Uruguay is one of the eight pilot countries of the Delivering as One initiative. Overall, the visits were an opportunity to further strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and South American countries
In June 2012, the Secretary-General will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to participate in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).