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New Projects: Peace process gets a boost

In the wake of the 1996 accords that ended Guatemala's 36 years of civil conflict, the international community pledged a very large amount of financial assistance--some $1.9 billion--to fund the provisions of the agreement to ensure lasting peace.

But despite this commitment, the peace process cannot go forward without preinvestment studies of specific projects that detail exactly how the funds will be spent, and this has created a bottleneck in financing.

A new $8 million IDB loan approved in June will address this problem by financing a program of preinvestment studies in priority areas that will enable the Guatemalan government to present financing proposals to the international donor community.

Currently under consideration are some 250 project profiles in the four areas defined by the peace agreements: demobilization, human development, increasing production and modernizing the state. Projects will include local community development, education, training, human resource management, agroindustrial development, weapons and munitions control, food assistance for families in extreme poverty and education.

The new IDB program will also finance training to strengthen the Planning and Programming Department of the Office of the President, which will carry out the preinvestment program.

The IDB, which has chaired the meetings of the group of donors supporting the peace program, has already approved funding for several related projects, including $50 million for the Community Development for Peace trust fund.

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