New York – October 7, 2014
At the outset I would like to congratulate H.E. Mr. Frantisek Ruzicka, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovakia on his chairmanship of the Fifth Committee.
I would also like to congratulate all other members of the Bureau on their election as well as extend my appreciation to the Secretariat Staff for their continued commitment to the facilitation of this Committee’s deliberations.
Through the adoption of today’s resolution on the United Nations’ response to the Ebola emergency, the Fifth Committee is sending a strong message on its ability to effectively and expeditiously deliver on critical and pressing global issues.
As we gather today, the Ebola outbreak continues to inflict grave consequences on the affected countries in West Africa. The Ebola emergency poses a complex, multidimensional threat with serious humanitarian, economic, social and security ramifications.
The daunting statistics put the scope and magnitude of the disaster into perspective; including some 6,500 people infected, with nearly half of those individuals succumbing to the disease.
I wish to reiterate what I said during the General Assembly plenary meeting on Ebola on 19th September 2014. The crisis requires bold, urgent and coordinated action on the part of the international community. Indeed, the time to act is now. We must unite at the global level to combat the virus, prevent its exponential spread and contain it both geographically and in terms of the number of casualties. This epidemic threatens not only West Africa, but also poses grave dangers for the region and the international community as a whole. Ebola is no longer a sub-regional or even regional calamity – it is an international crisis.
In its first resolution of the 69th session, the General Assembly, supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), the first system-wide mission and the first-ever UN emergency health mission.
UNMEER teams have already been deployed to the Mission headquarters in Ghana and to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The establishment of (UNMEER) is the first step in the global efforts to contain the outbreak, which must be further strengthened by a wide range of actions and measures at all levels. Of primary importance will be efforts to mobilize required financial support as well as medical and humanitarian assistance.
We trust that the Mission will deliver effectively and efficiently through a coordinated and a coherent approach. UNMEER will harness capabilities throughout the entire Organization to undertake its activities in a prompt, cohesive manner on the ground, while ensuring coordination and complementarity of efforts at international, regional and national levels.
Particularly, I would like to commend the initiative and dedication exhibited by United Nations staff members, as well as staff from numerous other entities and partners who will make up UNMEER. The speed of deployment of this mission is unprecedented. I welcome the concerted national, regional and international efforts to combat this out break. I also pay special tribute to the Government of Ghana for hosting UNMEER.
The timeliness of this resolution bodes well for the Committee’s future work, as it begins consideration of many other challenging issues this session.
I strongly encourage you to build on this momentum to develop greater trust amongst the membership with the goal of finalizing the Committee’s work within the prescribed timeframes.
Indeed, the critical and complex issues ahead of the Committee related to the financing and administrative management of the Organization will require each and every one of you to work proficiently and tirelessly to reach consensus on all agenda items.
In addressing such a heavy agenda, the challenge ahead will be to reconcile the need for the transparent, effective and efficient utilization of resources with demands for effective and expeditious delivery on the ground.
Member States have a collective responsibility to increase the efficiency of the Organization without sacrificing the quality and inclusiveness of activities and programmes.
Such a complex task will depend heavily on an open, inclusive and transparent decision-making process.
Finally, I would like to reiterate my support to you throughout your work during the 69th Session. I encourage you to use the weeks ahead for productive consultations, with a view toward reaching consensus on all agenda items.
I thank you for your attention.