29 Jan 2015
New York – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), governments from the countries hardest hit by Ebola and the international community shared initial priorities to boost recovery efforts in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia today.
Speaking at a UNDP-hosted briefing for Member States, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark urged the world to stay the course in aiding Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as they work to rebuild and regain the huge socio-economic losses wrought by the epidemic.
“Ebola must be confronted as both a health crisis and a crisis that has stopped development in its tracks,” Helen Clark said. “It is incumbent on us all to support the three countries make the serious development setbacks as short lived as possible.”
Representatives from the three countries urged continued assistance in stamping Ebola out and supporting their full recovery. They thanked UNDP and other international partners for their support.
“The war on Ebola is not yet won,” said Remongar Dennis, Liberia’s Deputy Representative to the UN. “The need for robust action from all actors is critical.”
While outlining their governments’ own efforts to combat the disease, the representatives highlighted the need to support them to lead their recoveries and support existing long-term development plans. Special mention was made for targeted assistance for vulnerable groups, including women and children, to end Ebola–related stigma, strengthen social systems and jump start economic growth.
Amadu Koroma, Sierra Leone’s Deputy Representative to the UN, underlined the huge economic impact of Ebola on mining, construction and trade, stating that tourism dropped 30 percent in the first six months of the epidemic. “The sooner we end the stigmatization of our countries, the better for us,” he said.
Guinea’s Deputy Representative to the UN, Cheriff Diallo, acknowledged that infections in his country are dropping and care for the sick is now more effective than when the outbreak began. He said that there was still need for response equipment and trained staff to get to zero cases.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has offered the support of the international community and tasked UNDP with leading the initiatives of the UN system on Ebola-related recovery.
Stan Nkwain, UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy and Programmes, led a recent multi-party Ebola recovery assessment mission to the region on behalf of the UN system. He shared preliminary findings at the meeting.
UNDP is working with the African Development Bank, the European Union and the World Bank to support the national Ebola recovery strategies of the affected countries.
“The impact has stretched far beyond health, to social service delivery as a whole, governance, peacebuilding and social cohesion, private sector growth and job creation,” Nkwain said.
He highlighted three key questions arising from the ongoing recovery assessment. “The first concerns the health and non-health institutional and systemic weaknesses that allowed a disease outbreak to turn into an epidemic that spiraled out of control,” he said.
The second concerns “ways in which already weak and fragile systems and institutions have been further impacted” and the third relates to how the hardest hit countries, with international support, can and should beef up institutions and systems to boost resilience for future shocks.
He highlighted the countries’ successes and the impact of international support in fighting Ebola so far. “These countries may not yet be Ebola free, but they have made huge progress towards becoming Ebola safe” he said.
A full report on the Ebola Recovery Assessment will be made available in the coming months.
Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, +1 917.530.8980 Sangita.email@example.com
Matthew Taylor, Communications Specialist, New York +1.646.637.5163 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicolas Douillet, Communications Specialist, UNDP Africa, +1.917.701.1520 email@example.com
On Twitter, @UNDP and #EbolaResponse