Guatemala City

16 March 2011

Secretary-General's remarks at the launch of the UN Peacebuilding Fund's engagement in Guatemala

It is a pleasure to join you for this important step forward in the partnership between Guatemala and the United Nations. Our ties are already close, long-standing and wide-ranging. Today we deepen them further still.

We are all aware of how hard Guatemala has worked in pursuit of lasting peace and full implementation of the Peace Accords signed 15 years ago.

We also know that durable peace, in Guatemala and elsewhere, depends not only on a formal end to military hostilities. It often requires fundamental structural transformations that address the tensions that give rise to conflict in the first place.

Guatemala has taken many important steps on that path.

Five years ago, the country established the International Commission against Impunity, or CICIG. This is a pioneering effort. It aims to ensure accountability. And it seeks to dismantle illicit structures that guaranteed impunity during the conflict, and that still exist today.

Two years later came the signing of the National Agreement for the Advancement of Security and Justice.

Civil society has been firmly behind these efforts, clamoring for an end to historic impunity and improvements in the country's institutions of justice and security.

These efforts have created an unprecedented window of opportunity to consolidate peace and fulfill the Peace Accords. They have brought the country to an important juncture.

We are here today to seize this momentum and bolster the country's peacebuilding efforts.

Therefore I take great pleasure in announcing a contribution of $10 million by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund to a range of important activities.

These new funds aim to help the country address human rights issues and strengthen the security and justice system. Civil society is meant to be an active participant.

I have high hopes for what can be achieved.

Your efforts will of course have their greatest impact in Guatemala itself. But they can also offer lessons for peacebuilding in other countries facing post-conflict challenges.

The civilian expertise that Guatemala is accumulating has considerable potential.

Indeed, specialized civilian expertise is often in short supply, especially in the crucial early days of transformation.

The recently published report on civilian capacity makes practical suggestions for deploying the people we need, where and when we need them. I hope you will join me in this effort to improve our collective response to communities emerging from conflict.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me stress again that I look forward to working closely with all Guatemalans to fulfil their aspirations for peace, development and dignity.

I now invite Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, to elaborate on the significant step we take today.

I thank all involved in making this effort possible.