11 October 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Following Natural Disasters in Guatemala, Secretary-General Says United Nations

Determined to Stand by People, Government as They Recover, Rebuild Country


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the International Cooperation Conference for the Reconstruction with Transformation of Guatemala, delivered by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Director, United Nations Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Guatemala City, today, 11 October:

It is a pleasure to greet all the participants in this important conference on the reconstruction and transformation of Guatemala.

In the past few months, Guatemalans have experienced the devastating consequences of disasters.  Volcanic eruptions and torrential rains have caused tremendous human suffering, material destruction and economic losses.  We at the United Nations are determined to stand by the people and Government of Guatemala as they recover and rebuild.

These experiences have raised concerns over the effects of changing weather patterns and the extreme weather events associated with climate change.  Guatemala has suffered from extreme weather in the past, and remains vulnerable today.  I hope this conference will generate political and financial support for addressing Guatemala’s needs.  Tragedies such as this also highlight the need for concrete action at the upcoming Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which begins next month in Cancún.

The United Nations system has been deeply engaged in the humanitarian response to Guatemala’s recent catastrophes, and our co-sponsorship of this meeting is a further sign of our commitment.  We will continue to work hand-in-hand with national authorities and partners to provide coherent and responsive support to Guatemala in its effort to achieve its stated goal of “recovery and reconstruction with transformation”.

Please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.

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For information media • not an official record