United Nations spokesman Stéphane Dujaric announced on 16 December 2016 that the U.N. has given Venezuela and Guyana a one-year deadline to resolve their border dispute. If significant progress is not made by the end of 2017, the new Secretary General António Guterres will send the case to the U.N.'s International Court of Justice (El Universal). Current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon decided to continue the Good Offices process, which began in 1990, for another year, and Guterres is set to elect a new Good Offices envoy to mediate in the dispute shortly after taking office in 2017. Tal Cual noted the territorial dispute intensified in 2015 after ExxonMobil discovered oil fields in the waters off the coast of Guyana.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on 13 October 2016 to discuss Venezuela's territorial dispute with Guyana over the oil-rich Essequibo region. Rodríguez stated that Guyana has taken unilateral action in the Essequibo and expressed to the Secretary General that Guyana's statements about Venezuela do not contribute to a climate of trust between the neighboring countries (Globovisión). After meeting with Ban, Rodríguez announced she and the Secretary General are in the process of selecting a Good Offices envoy to mediate in the dispute with Guyana, as per the 1966 Geneva Agreement. La Patilla reported that Rodríguez also met with Secretary General-elect António Guterres and noted this is the fourth meeting Rodríguez and Ban have held about the Essequibo in 2016.