Central America spends US$4 billion for security and justice in 2010

Jun 22, 2011

Heads of state take part of conference to boost security in Central America (Photo: Héctor Morales / UNDP)

Guatemala City — National efforts to tackle violence and insecurity in Central American countries costs billions of dollars and the amount spent has risen by 60 percent since 2006 to US$4 billion in 2010, according to a new study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Results of the study Public Spending for Security and Justice will be presented at the International Conference in Support for the Central America Security Strategy, hosted on 22-23 June by the Government of Guatemala.

“While budgetary allocations to fight insecurity show, beyond doubt, that the region is deeply committed to this issue, it also means a use of funds which might otherwise go to strengthening priorities such as education and health,” said Pablo Ruiz, UNDP specialist in crisis prevention and recovery for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“It is important that resources are available for other key sectors. That means that new funding alternatives have to be considered, as is now happening in some countries,” added Ruiz.

The UNDP study—covering Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama—was carried out using information in the public domain, drawing on budgetary reports provided by the treasury or finance ministries of each country.

The study focused only on public funds used and omitted private expenditure on security made in some countries. Its substance was subject to an in-depth peer review involving public officials from different sectors.

The new data published by UNDP is part of a number of cooperation activities with the Central American Integration System aimed at implementing a regional security strategy through a project funded by the Spanish Government’s Agency for International Development Cooperation.

UNDP is currently working with all the countries of Central America to enhance citizen security.

To access the study (pdf in Spanish): http://www.regionalcentrelac-undp.org/images/stories/novedades/informe_gastopublico.pdf

Contact information

In Panama:

Pablo Basz
Tel. (+507) 305-4864

In New York:

Carolina Azevedo
Tel. +1 212 906 6127

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