A Decade of Work on Citizen Security and Conflict Prevention in Latin America & the Carribean 2001-2010

24 May 2012


This report is a joint effort between the Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) and the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (RBLAC) seeking to compile the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work in the areas of Conflict Prevention and Citizen Security during the first decade of the 21st century in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The areas of Conflict Prevention and Citizen Security are intimately linked to development problems facing the region. Despite their high rates of economic growth, Latin America and the Caribbean remain the most inequitable regions in the world and among the most violent.


Exclusion and inequality coupled with high crime rates in the region undermine the foundations of democratic governance and constitute a large obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Therefore, although this report is limited to the presentation in part of UNDP activities, it should be noted that UNDP’s work transcends the limits of this report.


  • Thirty-three percent of Latin Americans say that they have been affected by a violence-related crime. Today, violence forces Latin American citizens to live in fear in the midst of criminal network systems permeating the state’s democratic institutions.
  • The homicide rate in Latin America is the highest in the world, and murder is the most prevalent cause of death in various cities in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Mexico. Some countries now have more violent deaths than during internal armed conflict.
  • Citizen Security has become a major challenge for the population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Individuals and communities are restricted in their lifestyle choices and organizations because of threats against personal and property security, and against fundamental public goods
  • Within this complex process of democratization, many political, social, and economic actors have burst onto the political scene, brandishing new demands and testing the effectiveness of political systems to process and respond to these new demands.
  • UNDP's crisis prevention and recovery work in Latin America and the Caribbean includes at least 160 projects in most countries of the region, implementing over 300 million dollars from a range of donors. These projects range from ambitious interagency prevention programs to intervention-focused analysis and dialogue both pre and post crisis.

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