Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message to the donor round table conference on Burundi, held in Bujumbura, 24-25 May:
Allow me to once more congratulate the Government and people of Burundi on the progress achieved towards consolidating peace in their country. I also pay tribute to Burundi's partners for their continued support for that goal.
The international community has followed with great interest the positive steps taken in this country in recent years, and actively assisted the process. We have witnessed and valued the will and determination of the people of Burundi to end, once and for all, the chapter of tragic conflict and devastating instability. The United Nations is proud of the considerable assistance it has provided to the restoration and consolidation of peace in your country.
While the overall situation in Burundi remains fragile, the Government and the people of Burundi have decisively demonstrated their commitment to bringing the final phase of the peace process to a successful conclusion. With the support of its regional and international partners, the Burundians can overcome many obstacles.
More than a decade of conflict has left the people of Burundi impoverished, with social and economic structures virtually destroyed. The challenges facing the nation are overwhelming.
Tangible and immediate progress is urgently required on many fronts. Inclusive growth and employment generation, implementation of reforms, including in the areas of security sector and justice system reforms, radical improvement in good governance, transparency and human rights, as well as a significant improvement in living conditions, remain the test. It is imperative that the Government make every effort to advance these goals.
Equally, I urge Burundi's development partners to sustain the momentum. Your engagement will remain critical. Your support for the implementation of the Priority Action Programme prepared by the Government of Burundi, in close consultations with partners gathered here, can help the country advance towards peace and sustainable human development.
Burundi is one of the first countries receiving support from the Peacebuilding Commission. In January, I approved an allocation of $35 million from the Peacebuilding Fund to support critical peacebuilding projects in Burundi. The United Nations is fully committed to helping the Government of Burundi develop national capacities to own, lead, manage and account for the implementation of this Programme. No development results are sustainable if they are not based on clearly identified priorities. Only then will the hard-won peace in Burundi be irreversible.
The Government of Burundi has articulated its national development priorities in the Programme presented in this round table, and is asking its development partners, including the United Nations, to contribute. Implementation of the Programme should be carried out in the spirit of accountability and will represent a critical step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Burundi.
I wish you a most productive round table, and look forward to learning about the outcome.
For information media - not an official record