(Port of Spain, November 2011) – The III Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA III) was held in Port of Spain under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza. The meeting welcomed delegations from all countries of the region, as well as representatives of sub-regional organizations, such as the CAN, CARICOM and SICA; international organizations; and observers from China, France, Japan, Russia, Spain, and The Netherlands. UNLIREC was invited to participate in its capacity as a regional expert with widespread experience in the field of public security.

Under the leadership of Trinidad and Tobago, the agenda of MISPA III focused on issues such as citizen and community participation in decision-making processes in police management, transparency and accountability, the inclusion of gender perspectives and human rights issues into police activities, mechanisms to support the modernization of police management, and the strengthening of police information systems.

The Secretary-General of the OAS emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation between the States in order to better address the issue of criminal organizations that have gained ground in the region. The delegation of El Salvador highlighted its policy change from a “firm hand”, which only showed immediate results without generating greater security, towards a policy aimed at solving the problems in their broadest sense. The representative of Nicaragua emphasized the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into police management, which is essential to ensure the safety of the entire population, while the Delegation of Ecuador underlined the importance of promoting new types of policing, including community policing, which provides more stable relations with the citizens. In a speech on behalf of SICA States, the Secretary-General, Juan Daniel Alemán, presented the joint position achieved by the Central American States in relation to SICA’s Security Strategy, which sets common goals and projects for regional cooperation.

This Meeting of Ministers in the Americas has been held since 2009 with the purpose of strengthening regional dialogue among key stakeholders, promoting effective cooperation and exchanging best practices. As public security is one of the key issues on the agendas of all States in the region, creating opportunities for exchange and coordination is essential to arrive at comprehensive solutions. UNLIREC participates in these forums and contributes their areas of expertise to the consolidation of a community of practice relating to public security.