At the 69th Formal Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on Haiti
New York, 22 January 2010
We meet today to consider the humanitarian situation in Haiti. More than a week after the earthquake struck Haiti, we are only beginning to realize the full extent of the loss of life and horrendous destruction.
On behalf of the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Dr. Ali Treki, and all Member States, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to all Haitians as well as to the families of all United Nations staff and peacekeepers, who lost their lives, have been injured or have seen their colleagues and friends suffer from this disaster. We recognize the sacrifice of each UN staff member and we pay tribute to Special Representative Hedi Annabi, Deputy Special Representative Luiz Carlos da Costa, and Acting Police Commissioner Doug Coates. Our thoughts, sympathy and support are with their families and friends at this difficult time.
The immediate response of the international community to the earthquake was a remarkable example of solidarity with the people and the Government of Haiti. The humanitarian assistance that is being delivered is providing relief and is beginning to meet some of the urgent needs of the people of Haiti. But much more needs to be done.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his leadership in ensuring a speedy response of the UN System. In particular, I acknowledge the efforts of UN-OCHA in leading the coordination of the international response to this tragic event and launching the Humanitarian Appeal, as well as the tireless efforts of the DPKO and other UN agencies. We also appreciate the role of Special Envoy of the United Nations to Haiti, President Bill Clinton, in mobilizing international support for relief operations.
We offer our thanks to the rescue and relief teams that have come from all over the world since the first hours after the earthquake. With so much outpouring of support, both from public and private, we are still struggling with coordination. Obviously more needs to be done urgently to reach those most desperately in need of water, food, medical supplies and shelter. Speedy delivery of these essential items is crucial in order to save lives and relieve suffering. I believe that relief efforts in order to be more effective also need to involve and mobilize the Haitians themselves.
I pay tribute to the Government of Haiti, which despite having suffered immense losses of personnel, infrastructure and resources has been able to assist its population and to maintain order under these challenging circumstances. I would also like to pay tribute to the people of Haiti who have shown great courage, perseverance and dignity in the face of this national and personal tragedy.
I am pleased that the whole Membership is coming together to express its support to the Government and the people of Haiti. This is an occasion to reiterate our full commitment for the provision of immediate relief and emergency assistance to the people of Haiti. Beyond that, it is crucial to ensure support for the even more difficult task of long term reconstruction and development of Haiti. It will require sustained focus and attention of the international community in the months and years ahead. The entire UN system, as well as the international financial institutions and development agencies will have a key role to play in this regard.
I believe that the example set by the UN and its Member States, speaking with a single voice and acting in unison in full support of Haiti, its Government and its people, reaffirms the common humanity which is the moral basis of this Organization and of the international community.Now, let me pass the floor to the Secretary-General.