The changing global political, economic and social environment has undoubtedly brought new thinking and perspectives on issues related to regional integration and resulted in a new phase of regional integration arrangements being initiated in South America in the recent past. Indeed, there is general consensus that regional integration is of significant value in this current ‘globalized’ world and while, for decades, integration has been promoted as a means through which economic development and self-sufficiency within a grouping could be attained, the rapid changes that are taking place have caused a reconfiguration in terms of the priority elements in the integration process. This has resulted in the emergence of new issues such as democratic consolidation, security, the environment and physical infrastructural integration, among others, as ‘front burner’ priority issues. Equally as important, as Shaw et al. (2010) suggest, the proliferation of ‘new’ issues such as civil society, climate change and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has lead to a burgeoning of novel heterogeneous global and hemispheric coalitions. Additionally, it has been observed that regionalism in Latin America has a history unlike any other, and from the onset of independence; various attempts have been made to pursue integration and regionalism as development strategies, from the historical efforts by Simon Bolivar to the most recent efforts seen in initiatives such as the Union of South American States (UNASUR). In the case of the Caribbean, the thinking with respect to regional integration is not a new phenomenon, and since the 1950s, with the establishment of the West Indian Federation, until contemporary times, with the birth of CARICOM and most recently the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the Caribbean has witnessed significant efforts aimed at uniting the small states of the region. It is not without significance that, in the changing framework of regional integration, two CARICOM member states, Guyana and Suriname, both South American by geography, are active participants in UNASUR and therefore provide an opportunity to enhance the regional process and act as a ‘bridge’ between CARICOM and South America. It is against this background that this paper sets out to assess the emergence of UNASUR and to examine its major priority issues as well as the prospects and challenges related to its development, especially for its small members, Guyana and Suriname.