|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7268th Meeting (PM)
With Spread of Ebola Outpacing Response, Security Council Adopts Resolution
2177 (2014) Urging Immediate Action, End to Isolation of Affected States
Secretary-General Opens Meeting with Briefings by United Nations
Coordinator for Ebola, World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières
Determining that the “unprecedented extent” of the Ebola outbreak in Africa constituted a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council this afternoon called on Member States to respond urgently to the crisis and to refrain from isolating the affected countries.
Resolution 2177 (2014) was adopted unanimously during a meeting that heard a statement from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and briefings by the Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, David Nabarro, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, and a Médecins Sans Frontières health worker, Jackson K.P. Niamah, via video-teleconference from Liberia.
Through the resolution, the Council requested the Secretary-General to ensure that all relevant United Nations sections accelerated their response to the outbreak, encouraging the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen its technical leadership and operational support to Governments and other partners in that effort.
The Council encouraged the Governments of the heavily affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to speed up the establishment of national mechanisms to deal with the crisis — providing for rapid diagnosis, quarantine, treatment and public education — and to coordinate efficient utilization of international assistance, including health workers and relief supplies.
It called on countries to lift border restrictions on the affected countries that led to their isolation, saying that such measures could undermine their efforts to respond to the crisis, calling also on transport companies to maintain links.
Commending the commitment of international health and humanitarian relief workers to respond to the Ebola crisis, it called on all relevant actors to put in place necessary arrangements, including medical evacuation capacities, to facilitate their immediate deployment to the affected countries.
Opening this afternoon’s meeting, Secretary-General Ban expressed appreciation for those on the front lines, but stressed the unprecedented scope of the situation. “The gravity and scale of the situation now requires a level of international action unprecedented for an emergency,” he said.
For that reason, he said he had decided to establish an emergency health mission, to be called the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, which aimed at stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks.
UNMEER, he explained, would draw on the capacities of many partners and work closely with regional organizations. To be effective, however, the resulting response, it was estimated, had to be scaled up some 20 times from current efforts. “We need to race ahead of the outbreak and then turn to face it with all our energy and strength,” he concluded.
Mr. Nabarro said that the response was falling behind because the disease was advancing at an “exponential” pace that had already doubled since his appointment. Agreeing with the Secretary-General’s approach, he added that the assistance must go beyond health to fill such gaps in areas such as food and supplies, whose delivery had been interrupted in the affected countries. Ms. Chan called attention to the WHO’s Ebola Response Roadmap, where the most urgent needs had been set out along with 12 critical actions to be carried out by the special United Nations mission.
Mr. Niamah, a team leader in a Médecins Sans Frontières treatment centre in Monrovia, Liberia, spoke of the deaths of fellow health workers and issued an impassioned plea for help. “Right now, as I speak, people are sitting at the gates of our centres, literally begging for their lives,” he said. “We are trying to treat as many people as we can but there are not nearly enough treatment centres and patient beds,” he added.
Following those briefings and the adoption of the resolution, some 45 speakers took the floor, concurring with the assessment of the Secretary-General and Security Council of the severity of the Ebola threat, and echoing the call for international solidarity. Most speakers welcomed the United Nations coordination role in support of the affected countries and voiced approval for the Mission.
The Foreign Ministers of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone paid tribute to the health workers from their countries and those who had come from abroad and noted that the deaths of doctors had added to the climate of fear. They thanked those countries that had announced additional aid and welcomed the Council’s call for an end to the restrictions that were hurting their countries. “Ebola was not the making of any of our countries,” Sierra Leone’s Minister said. “With all of our help, we hope it will go back where it came.”
Many speakers, such as the representatives of Luxembourg and Argentina, stressed the vulnerable condition of the affected countries, which lacked viable health services. They urged that the situation be addressed by the entire United Nations system, including the Peacebuilding Commission. Argentina’s representative said the situation was the result of severe global inequality.
The representative of the United States, noting her country’s announcement of a large-scale initiative to provide assistance, said that 130 countries had co-sponsored the resolution — the most ever — but such concern would have no effect if an enormous increase in help was not forthcoming. In that context, many speakers reported on the assistance they had so far provided and also announced new pledges.
The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba also spoke.
Also speaking were the representatives of Nigeria, France, Rwanda, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Chad, Jordan, Chile, Brazil, Morocco, Switzerland, Turkey, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Israel, Uruguay, Spain, Italy, Burundi, Estonia, Norway, Botswana, New Zealand, Malaysia, Germany, Colombia, Nicaragua, Mali, Senegal, Guyana, United Republic of Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea.
The head of the European Union Delegation and the Permanent Observer of the African Union also spoke.
The meeting began at 2:50 p.m. and ended at 7:50 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2177 (2014) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolution 2176 (2014) adopted on 15 September 2014 concerning the situation in Liberia and its press statement of 9 July 2014,
“Recalling its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,
“Expressing grave concern about the outbreak of the Ebola virus in, and its impact on, West Africa, in particular Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, as well as Nigeria and beyond,
“Recognizing that the peacebuilding and development gains of the most affected countries concerned could be reversed in light of the Ebola outbreak and underlining that the outbreak is undermining the stability of the most affected countries concerned and, unless contained, may lead to further instances of civil unrest, social tensions and a deterioration of the political and security climate,
“Determining that the unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak in Africa constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
“Expressing concern about the particular impact of the Ebola outbreak on women,
“Welcoming the convening of the Mano River Union Extraordinary Summit, held in Guinea on 1 August 2014, and the commitments expressed by the Heads of State of Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to combat the Ebola outbreak in the region, including by strengthening treatment services and measures to isolate the outbreak across borders,
“Taking note of the measures taken by the Member States of the region, especially Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, as well as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, in response to the Ebola outbreak and recognizing that the outbreak may exceed the capacity of the governments concerned to respond,
“Taking note of the letter (S/2014/669) dated 29 August 2014 to the Secretary-General from the Presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, requesting a comprehensive response to the Ebola outbreak, including a coordinated international response to end the outbreak and to support the societies and economies affected by restrictions on trade and transportation during the outbreak,
“Recognizing the measures taken by the Member States of the region, in particular Côte d’Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Mali and Senegal, to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the most affected countries,
“Emphasizing the key role of Member States, including through the Global Health Security Agenda where applicable, to provide adequate public health services to detect, prevent, respond to and mitigate outbreaks of major infectious diseases through sustainable, well-functioning and responsive public health mechanisms,
“Recalling the International Health Regulations (2005), which are contributing to global public health security by providing a framework for the coordination of the management of events that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern, and aim to improve the capacity of all countries to detect, assess, notify and respond to public health threats and underscoring the importance of WHO Member States abiding by these commitments,
“Underscoring that the control of outbreaks of major infectious diseases requires urgent action and greater national, regional and international collaboration and, in this regard, stressing the crucial and immediate need for a coordinated international response to the Ebola outbreak,
“Commending Member States, bilateral partners and multilateral organizations for the crucial assistance, including financial commitments and in-kind donations, provided to and identified for the affected people and governments of the region to support the scaling up of emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and interrupt transmission of the virus, including by providing flexible funds to relevant United Nations agencies and international organizations involved in the response to enable them and national governments to purchase supplies and enhance emergency operations in the affected countries, as well as by collaborating with public and private sector partners to accelerate development of therapies, vaccines and diagnostics to treat patients and limit or prevent further infection or transmission of the Ebola virus disease,
“Expressing deep appreciation to the first-line responders to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including national and international health and humanitarian relief workers contributed by the Member States of diverse regions and non-governmental organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and also expressing appreciation to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) for transporting humanitarian personnel and medical supplies and equipment, especially to remote locations in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, during the outbreak,
“Welcoming the efforts of the African Union (AU), in coordination with bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, to craft a united, comprehensive and collective African response to the outbreak, including through the deployment of healthcare workers to the region, and also the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to support steps to contain the spread of the Ebola virus, including through the support of the defense forces of its Member States,
“Expressing concern about the impact, including on food security, of general travel and trade restrictions in the region and taking note of the AU call on its Member States to lift travel restrictions to enable the free movement of people and trade to the affected countries,
“Emphasizing the role of all relevant United Nations System entities, in particular the United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and Peacebuilding Commission, in supporting the national, regional and international efforts to respond to the Ebola outbreak and recognizing, in this regard, the central role of the World Health Organization (WHO), which designated the Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern,
“Stressing the need for coordinated efforts of all relevant United Nations System entities to address the Ebola outbreak in line with their respective mandates and to assist, wherever possible, national, regional and international efforts in this regard,
“Taking note of the WHO Ebola Response Roadmap of 28 August 2014 that aims to stop transmission of the Ebola virus disease worldwide, while managing the consequences of any further international spread and also taking note of the 12 Mission Critical Actions, including infection control, community mobilization and recovery, to resolve the Ebola outbreak,
“Taking note of the WHO protocols to prevent the transmission of the Ebola virus disease between individuals, organizations and populations, underlining that the Ebola outbreak can be contained, including through the implementation of established safety and health protocols and other preventive measures that have proven effective and commending the efforts of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to communicate, including through UNMIL Radio, such protocols and preventive measures to the Liberian public,
“Reiterating its appreciation for the appointments by the Secretary-General of David Nabarro as the United Nations System Senior Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease and of Anthony Banbury as the Deputy Ebola Coordinator and Operation Crisis Manager operating from the Crisis Response Mechanism of the United Nations, activated on 5 September 2014 and which aims to consolidate the operational work of the United Nations System, Member States, non-governmental organizations and other partners focused on providing assistance to the affected countries in response to the Ebola outbreak, as well as to ensure United Nations System assistance to developing, leading and implementing an effective response to the broader dimensions of the outbreak that include food security and access to basic health services,
“Welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to convene a high-level meeting on the margins of the sixty-ninth United Nations General Assembly to urge an exceptional and vigorous response to the Ebola outbreak,
“1. Encourages the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to accelerate the establishment of national mechanisms to provide for the rapid diagnosis and isolation of suspected cases of infection, treatment measures, effective medical services for responders, credible and transparent public education campaigns, and strengthened preventive and preparedness measures to detect, mitigate and respond to Ebola exposure, as well as to coordinate the rapid delivery and utilization of international assistance, including health workers and humanitarian relief supplies, as well as to coordinate their efforts to address the transnational dimension of the Ebola outbreak, including the management of their shared borders, and with the support of bilateral partners, multilateral organizations and the private sector;
“2. Encourages the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to continue efforts to resolve and mitigate the wider political, security, socio-economic and humanitarian dimensions of the Ebola outbreak, as well as to provide sustainable, well-functioning and responsive public health mechanisms, emphasizes that responses to the Ebola outbreak should address the specific needs of women and stresses the importance of their full and effective engagement in the development of such responses;
“3. Expresses concern about the detrimental effect of the isolation of the affected countries as a result of trade and travel restrictions imposed on and to the affected countries;
“4. Calls on Member States, including of the region, to lift general travel and border restrictions, imposed as a result of the Ebola outbreak, and that contribute to the further isolation of the affected countries and undermine their efforts to respond to the Ebola outbreak and also calls on airlines and shipping companies to maintain trade and transport links with the affected countries and the wider region;
“5. Calls on Member States, especially of the region, to facilitate the delivery of assistance, including qualified, specialized and trained personnel and supplies, in response to the Ebola outbreak to the affected countries and, in this regard, expresses deep appreciation to the government of Ghana for allowing the resumption of the air shuttle of UNMIL from Monrovia to Accra, which will transport international health workers and other responders to areas affected by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia;
“6. Calls on Member States, especially of the region, and all relevant actors providing assistance in response to the Ebola outbreak, to enhance efforts to communicate to the public, as well as to implement, the established safety and health protocols and preventive measures to mitigate against misinformation and undue alarm about the transmission and extent of the outbreak among and between individuals and communities and, in this regard, requests the Secretary-General to develop a strategic communication platform using existing United Nations System resources and facilities in the affected countries, as necessary and available, including to assist governments and other relevant partners;
“7. Calls on Member States to provide urgent resources and assistance, including deployable medical capabilities such as field hospitals with qualified and sufficient expertise, staff and supplies, laboratory services, logistical, transport and construction support capabilities, airlift and other aviation support and aeromedical services and dedicated clinical services in Ebola Treatment Units and isolation units, to support the affected countries in intensifying preventive and response activities and strengthening national capacities in response to the Ebola outbreak and to allot adequate capacity to prevent future outbreaks;
“8. Urges Member States, as well as bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, including the AU, ECOWAS, and European Union, to mobilize and provide immediately technical expertise and additional medical capacity, including for rapid diagnosis and training of health workers at the national and international level, to the affected countries, and those providing assistance to the affected countries, and to continue to exchange expertise, lessons learned and best practices, as well as to maximize synergies to respond effectively and immediately to the Ebola outbreak, to provide essential resources, supplies and coordinated assistance to the affected countries and implementing partners and calls on all relevant actors to cooperate closely with the Secretary-General on response assistance efforts;
“9. Urges Member States to implement relevant Temporary Recommendations issued under the International Health Regulations (2005) regarding the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa, and lead the organization, coordination and implementation of national preparedness and response activities, including, where and when relevant, in collaboration with international development and humanitarian partners;
“10. Commends the continued contribution and commitment of international health and humanitarian relief workers to respond urgently to the Ebola outbreak and calls on all relevant actors to put in place the necessary repatriation and financial arrangements, including medical evacuation capacities and treatment and transport provisions, to facilitate their immediate and unhindered deployment to the affected countries;
“11. Requests the Secretary-General to help to ensure that all relevant United Nations System entities, including the WHO and UNHAS, in accordance with their respective mandates, accelerate their response to the Ebola outbreak, including by supporting the development and implementation of preparedness and operational plans and liaison and collaboration with governments of the region and those providing assistance;
“12. Encourages the WHO to continue to strengthen its technical leadership and operational support to governments and partners, monitor Ebola transmission, assist in identifying existing response needs and partners to meet those needs to facilitate the availability of essential data and hasten the development and implementation of therapies and vaccines according to best clinical and ethical practices and also encourages Member States to provide all necessary support in this regard, including the sharing of data in accordance with applicable law;
“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Statement by Secretary-General
United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said that the Ebola crisis had evolved into a complex emergency, with significant political, social, economic, humanitarian and security dimensions. The number of cases was doubling every three weeks, and the suffering and spillover effects in the region and beyond demanded the attention of the entire world. “Ebola matters to us all,” he said.
He applauded what he called the courageous actions of Governments, communities and individuals on the front lines, including local health workers, Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and United Nations entities. However, he warned, “the gravity and scale of the situation now requires a level of international action unprecedented for an emergency.”
Noting that the leaders of the affected countries had asked the United Nations to coordinate the global response, he pledged the Organization’s commitment and affirmed that the World Health Organization (WHO) was working to identify the best epidemiological response. He had also activated, for the first time, the system-wide crisis response mechanism and, under Anthony Banbury, an Ebola Response Centre was operational.
Ghana and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) were supporting an air bridge in Accra to facilitate aid delivery and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service was operating between countries. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Volunteers were actively bringing in supplies and expertise.
Despite such efforts, the spread was outpacing the response, he said, requiring stepped-up international coordination. For that reason, he had decided to establish a United Nations emergency health mission, to be known as the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, aimed at stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks. It would draw on the capacities of many partners and work closely with regional organizations. The goal was to have the Mission’s advance team on the ground before the end of the month.
Effectiveness would depend on the international community’s support, he said, with an estimated 20-fold increase in assistance needed. The United Nations had outlined a set of critical needs early in the week totalling almost $1 billion over the next few months. He applauded United States President Barack Obama’s announcement of a deployment of 3,000 troops. Listing a number of countries that had made contributions, he voiced hope that other countries would follow suit. “The penalty for inaction is high,” he said, adding, “We need to race ahead of the outbreak and then turn to face it with all our energy and strength.”
DAVID NABARRO, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, said that since having been appointed in August to head the response to the outbreak in West Africa, he had visited most affected countries twice and met with many officials and key stakeholders. The disease was advancing at an “exponential” pace. Describing that via a graph, he said the line showed a rapid upward acceleration, which was doubling every three weeks. That meant the pace had already doubled since his appointment, he added.
He said the response was also increasing apace, with Governments and non-governmental organizations making contributions to the control effort. Nevertheless, the spread of the disease was outpacing the “linear” response. With the passage of time, it would become harder to get the disease under control. He estimated that to get ahead of the Ebola, the response must be 20 times greater than it was now. Twelve different critical actions must be put in place to properly deal with the emergency, he said, while welcoming the Secretary-General’s strategy, which included five key elements of response. Although the medical part of the strategy was important, there was also a need to restore basic services and to provide food as well as support for household income, which had dropped drastically since the outbreak of the disease.
Massively scaled-up response was vital not only for affected countries but also for the world, he said, welcoming the strong commitment of support announced by the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, Cuba, China and other Governments. He also commended the efforts of Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator. But all those responses must be coordinated effectively and all players must work in synergy, he said.
MARGARET CHAN, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), stressed the urgent need to catch up to the fast-moving, deadly Ebola outbreak in a pragmatic way. In the hardest-hit countries, a burgeoning caseload threatened to push Governments to the brink of State failure. “This is likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced,” she said, pointing to the unprecedented scale of the emergency, degree of suffering and magnitude of consequences. “This is not just an outbreak. This is not just a public crisis. This is a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an economic crisis, and a threat to national security well beyond the outbreak zones,” she said.
This week, she noted, the World Bank Group had warned of a “potentially catastrophic blow” to the hardest-hit countries’ economies. In Liberia alone, nearly 170 farmers and family members in fertile Lofa county — the nation’s breadbasket — had died from Ebola. Ms. Chan said that for those reasons she and the Secretary-General were calling for a system-wide initiative pooling the assets of all relevant United Nations agencies and for an immediate, massive increase in support. The most urgent needs had been set forth in WHO’s Ebola Response Roadmap and in the 12 critical actions to be carried out by a special United Nations mission recently launched in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to combat the disease.
She welcomed the announcements of a massive increase in support from the United States and United Kingdom, saying that was a “clarion call” for other countries to follow suit. The fact that that those two nations, as well as China, Cuba and others, were using a variety of assets, among them the military, illustrated the complexity of the challenge. That surge of support could turn things around for the estimated 22 million people in the hardest-hit countries. The scale of deployment to Africa of WHO and international staff under its “outbreak umbrella” was unprecedented in United Nations history.
“Everything now is unprecedented. Everything now is happening faster than ever before. The needs are immense and we know it,” she said, pointing to reports that more than 5,500 people had been infected and far more than 2,500 had died. Those figures were vast underestimates, she added, stressing that health, medical and clinical care issues must remain the core of the response. “It will take some time, but the Ebola outbreak can be contained,” she said.
She said that when the first two cases of Ebola infection entered Nigeria and Senegal, those Governments, with the support of WHO, the United States Center for Disease Control, and Médecins Sans Frontières stabilized the situation by responding immediately with the right emergency actions. As people constantly criss-crossed West Africa’s porous borders, other countries would have to address imported cases in the same aggressive way.
JACKSON K.P. NIAMAH, a physician’s assistant and representative of Médecins Sans Frontières, speaking via video link from Monrovia, welcomed United States President Barack Obama’s Ebola response plan and expressed hope it would be implemented immediately. He called on all Member States to mobilize their capacities as well. With every passing day, the epidemic spread and destroyed more lives. Because there was no cure for Ebola, his organization’s treatment centre in Monrovia, which he headed, provided food, hydration and basic treatment of symptoms. Early treatment greatly improved a patient’s chance of survival, he added.
“We are trying to treat as many people as we can, but there are not enough treatment centres and patient beds. We have to turn people away. And they are dying at our front door,” he said. “Right now, as I speak, people are sitting at the gates of our centres, literally begging for their lives. They rightly feel alone, neglected, denied — left to die a horrible, undignified death.”
The health-care community was failing the sick and not properly preventing the spread of the virus due to a lack of help on the ground, he said, stressing, “we urgently need to get the disease under control, and we urgently need your help.” Contact tracing, or following up every person who had contact with an infected person or one who had died from the virus, was vital, as was raising awareness about the disease in the face of much denial. More care centres were needed for sick people to prevent them from staying at home and risking infecting their families. It was also vital to train medical staff in proper procedures in order to keep the centres and other health services running, and make sure it was safe for health-care staff to return to work. Too many health workers and ambulance drivers arrived at the centres as patients.
“Please send your helicopters, your centres, your beds, and your expert personnel. But know that we also need the basics,” he said, adding that many homes in Monrovia still lacked soap, water and buckets — simple things that could help curb the virus’ spread. Ebola had affected every aspect of life; schools and universities had shut down, as had civil services, he noted.
“I feel the future of my country is hanging in the balance,” he went on, calling on Member States to set an example to their peers — nations with the resources, assets and skills required to stop the Ebola catastrophe. “We do not have the capacity to respond to this crisis on our own. If the international community does not stand up, we will be wiped out. We need your help. We need it now,” he said.
SAMANTHA POWER (United States) said the Security Council’s resolution represented a call for action to face this unprecedented threat. “Looking away will not make this threat go away.” Besides, as the world was not prepared for the scope of the outbreak, the first reaction to seal off the effected countries had been counter-productive. Instead of isolating the affected countries, they should flood them with assistance, she said, noting her country’s announcement of the deployment of 3,000 troops, the establishment of training centres and the provision of logistics. Hopefully, many other countries would announce additional aid today, she said, stressing that help from all sectors was required.
She noted that today’s resolution had 130 co-sponsors, the most in history, but said that if it did not result in adequate action, it would not stem the projected “steep, terrifying curve”. With that, she said, “We must bend the curve”, as she appealed for contributions of everything, from health centres to buckets.
USMAN SARKI (Nigeria) said that today’s debate and Council resolution underscored the seriousness with which the international community viewed the threat to his region and the world. He concurred with the Secretary-General on the gravity of the crisis. Personnel, clean water, generators, ambulances and fuel, and a range of other needs were great. His country’s experience showed that the epidemic could be stemmed. He agreed that the affected countries should not be cut off from the outside world; his country had been active in providing resources and training. It would remain vigilant, however, at its borders and continue to provide assistance to its neighbours.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said that the Ebola crisis was indeed a threat to international peace and security, particularly because some of the countries affected were just emerging from conflict. His country stood side-by-side with the United Nations and the affected countries in combating the disease. He noted scientific work that had been done at France’s Pasteur Institute and announced resources that would be sent to affected countries, focused on Guinea, as had been requested. He also announced assistance that would be provided through the European Union. The disease could be contained if the correct, systematic response was followed and comprehensive assistance was given to affected States. He quoted Albert Schweitzer on the need for world solidarity with the sufferers.
OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE (Rwanda) was pleased with the prompt international response noting, in particular that of WHO and the United Nations system as a whole. He welcomed establishment of a United Nations mission for the emergency response to Ebola. He highlighted the debate’s relevance to the Council’s peace and security mandate; it was clearly justified, including because the gains made through peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts were fragile and put at great risk by Ebola. The mobilization of regional organizations and institutions like the African Development Bank were positive steps, and he noted the donations made by Rwanda. The deployment of 3,000 troops from the United States and its other contributions were positive steps. Efforts must be intensified to raise awareness. The African Union should speak out against the cancellation of flights to affected countries as that harmed their economies and hampered delivery of humanitarian aid.
DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV (Russian Federation) underlined his concern at the rapid spread and consequences of Ebola. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone urgently needed international support. He singled out the early contributions made by Cuba and Médecins Sans Frontières. The Russian Federation had also contributed bilaterally and multilaterally, financing medical modules through WHO to treat 60,000 people. A specialist Russian anti-epidemic brigade had been deployed to Guinea, which was assisting the Health Ministry in organizing activities to stem the epidemic and diagnose the virus. Personal protection equipment would be dispatched for health-care volunteers and food assistance would be given to the three most affected countries. The virus was being studied in the Russian Federation, with trials for treatment, and he was ready to supply laboratories in the area of the outbreak. However, helping the sick was vital, but it was only part of the problem. The disease would continue to spread without proper prophylactics and awareness-raising efforts in affected countries.
OH JOON (Republic of Korea) stressed that the discussion fell within the remit of peace and security because it was “unravelling societies and threatening gains” made through international peacebuilding. The risks were substantial and a coordinated international response was needed to tackle a preventable and controllable epidemic. A global-level response was needed, for which the United Nations was the best platform. The Organization should strengthen its response systems and direct streams of aid to curb the disease’s spread. Proactive regional cooperation was also needed to stop the spread, while at the same time borders should be kept open. Isolating affected countries was not the correct approach, and he was happy that Ghana would serve as a logistics hub to help get personnel and equipment to the affected areas. Peacekeeping missions could also help, he said, adding that UNMIL had been instrumental and a reminder of the United Nations commitment to its overriding goal of protecting people.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said that the Ebola outbreak was a test of international solidarity and its readiness to respond to unconventional threats, which, if unchecked, could be as devastating as any conflict. For each day the response was delayed, the cost and the suffering would grow exponentially, as noted in the Secretary-General’s report. She welcomed the strong political commitment shown by the Mano River Union and the African Union. For its part, the European Union was working on a comprehensive response to the Ebola epidemic and had already pledged some 149 million euros for affected West African nations. Her delegation supported the Council resolution on Ebola proposed by the United States.
WANG MIN (China) said that given the severity of the outbreak, the international community should provide rapid assistance to the affected countries. He supported the United Nations leading role in coordinating assistance through the proposed Mission and relevant agencies. Long-term health needs should be addressed along with the response to the Ebola virus, since the gaps in care helped foment such epidemics. China was sharing its experience in epidemic control and sending resources and expertise to the affected countries, as well as to WHO and the African Union. He hoped that a ramped-up global effort would stop the threat and allow the affected countries to return to development.
GARY FRANCIS QUINLAN (Australia) said that the Ebola outbreak had transformed into much more than a health crisis with grave humanitarian, economic and social consequences that could spread far beyond the affected countries. The blanket border and travel restrictions being imposed across the region to contain the outbreak were having a paradoxical effect — making it more difficult to fly in medical staff and supplies, and restricting trade and transportation links. His country this week had announced an additional $7 million in assistance, including for the WHO consolidated regional response and to support the provision of front-line medical services.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said that Ebola was preventable and containable, but only if the international community acted with urgency and provided assistance not only to those countries already affected but also to those at risk. He described his country’s announced package of support for Sierra Leone, funding hundreds of beds along with the personnel to staff the endeavour, as well as its assistance through multilateral institutions. He called for particular attention to women during the epidemic and on all countries to join the global coalition against Ebola before the crisis became a catastrophe.
SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg), associating herself with the statement of the European Union, concurred with the gravity of the threat and the need for a commensurate response as well as for the United Nations to play a coordinating role. She said that the new Mission should assist countries not yet affected to prevent the spread. Luxembourg had already provided much assistance and was considering further contributions. Along with fighting Ebola, it was critical to address the structural weaknesses of the countries involved, she said, pledging to work with other countries active in the country specific configurations of the Peacebuilding Commission for that purpose.
MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF (Chad) said the Ebola outbreak added to the dire effects of climate change and terrorism in Africa, threatening peace and security across the continent. The epidemic was far more than just a public health crisis. Socioeconomic measures to limit air and sea travel to and from affected countries had dire effects because they reduced economic activity in many sectors. Liberia’s situation illustrated the need for special measures. The African Union Peace and Security Council had called for steps to prevent the isolation of affected countries. He welcomed Ghana’s air bridge to help deliver the humanitarian response. The Council meeting showed the growing global awareness of the situation, a struggle likely to cost at least $1 billion. He paid tribute to the team sent by the African Union and the contributions made by several countries, including Cuba and Pakistan, as well as the efforts of the World Bank.
MARIA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina) said the Council had met before on a public health issue, dealing with the implications for public security of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Without an urgent response to Ebola, the living conditions of people around the world could be impacted. Urgency and commitment were needed as was an ethical institutional response. It was not just a health problem, it was a “multidimensional reality” that had the potential to “kill the present and wound the future”. The epicentre of the epidemic was in an area recently blighted by conflict and the outbreak hit just as people there were looking to the future. It was essential to work with the United Nations to address the outbreak’s causes and consequences. The General Assembly should take responsibility for the response to the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a mission in the region. The outbreak could have been better handled with better health-care systems. The epidemic showed the role of inequality and economic injustice in spreading the disease.
DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said Ebola’s spread showed the need to establish methods to deal with the epidemic. Such an epidemic had never been seen before and the challenge of Ebola appeared just as the affected countries had restored political stability after many years of trying. Health-care workers faced an incredibly dangerous situation, caring for the sick and burying the dead. Meanwhile, the economic and social impact of the disease was also very dangerous. He described Jordan’s role in Liberia, including the deployment of 200 police elements and observers to help stem the epidemic. The United Nations must coordinate exceptional measures. She commended the Secretary-General’s efforts to establish an emergency mission to try to stem the epidemic’s spread. Affected Governments required continued assistance.
CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said WHO had identified the Ebola outbreak as an “international public health emergency.” The affected countries were dealing with an unprecedented number of victims, which had doubled in the last 21 days, undermining their socioeconomic stability. As the three most affected countries pushed ahead with peacebuilding efforts, the disease’s outbreak undermined their efforts and posed a threat to international peace and security that was more than simply armed conflict. As such, the Council was bound to act and take decisions to help the affected people tackle the emergencies. That had to be done in a coordinated way in order to optimize resources and ensure no duplication; finding effective measures to break the chain of transmission of the disease was crucial. Awareness-raising was important to help prevent stigmatization and multisectoral responses were needed to stem the disease’s spread. Air and sea services should not be interrupted, as that would increase the negative economic consequences and hamper the ability of affected countries to deal with the disease.
AUGUSTINE KPEHE NGAFUAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liberia, said that even before the Ebola outbreak, his country was grappling with herculean challenges in such areas as productive employment, especially among youth, some of whom are former combatants, as well as in rule of law and security sector reform. The country had been making valiant efforts to comply with regional protocols aimed at curbing the spread of small arms and light weapons and transnational crime, but the disease had distracted national attention from those priorities and gravely undermined its ability to address them.
The impact of the Ebola outbreak, he continued, had been multidimensional, negatively affecting all sectors of Liberia’s economy and effectively arresting the nation’s progress. A preliminary assessment indicated a 3.4 per cent decline in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth, from the previously projected 5.9 per cent to a low of 2.5 per cent. The mining, agriculture and services sectors were expected to bear the greatest brunt of the crisis. The global community could not remain passive. “We cannot sit idly and watch, as we would do watching a movie on our TV screen,” he said, adding that the reality did not have a pre-determined climax.
FRANÇOIS LOUNCÉNY FALL, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Guinea, said the unanimous adoption of the Council resolution showed the clear need for a global solution to a scourge that was a genuine threat to peace and security in West Africa and therefore to collective security. The disease had a severe economic impact and it could affect all sectors. It had the potential to slice 2.5 per cent from gross domestic product (GDP) in the affected countries, which would seriously undermine their development efforts. A humanitarian crisis loomed unless measures were taken, which was particularly bad news for the three countries most affected, all of whom were on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission. It was vital not to isolate affected countries, even while trying hard to isolate and eradicate the disease itself.
Multilateral and bilateral partners were caring for victims and working to eradicate the virus from Guinea, he said, noting that his Government had also been deeply involved in the response. The outbreak appeared to have been controlled in May but new cases emerged in June, with a spread to other countries and the onset of a subregional crisis. Women were most affected. The National Epidemic Management Committee carried out accelerated responses for two to six months focused on security, prevention and screening at borders. Other action on the ground was ongoing, including the strengthening, monitoring and tracking of the disease, the establishment of management committees and efforts to ensure proper burial of the dead. Outreach efforts sought to alter the perception of the disease on the ground, especially in rural areas. Despite ongoing efforts, challenges to meeting people’s needs and to stem the outbreak remained. A variety of medical equipment was needed, including ambulances. He thanked doctors who had travelled to the region to assist.
SAMURA KAMARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, said that the cumulative figure of confirmed Ebola cases in his country stood at 1,571 with 483 people dead. The nature of the virus was such that it even had claimed the lives of people trained medically to deliver health care. To date, more than 34 courageous medical personnel, including four doctors, had lost their lives while saving the lives of their compatriots. That had contributed to the culture of fear, which had created further difficulties for responding to non-Ebola diseases as most private clinics and hospitals had scaled back operations.
The outbreak, he noted, came at a time when Sierra Leone had achieved tremendous progress in rebuilding its State institutions and strengthening democratic governance. The withdrawal of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Mission in March, after an internationally acclaimed success story, was a testament to the progress made. With Ebola, economic disruptions had already been felt, and inflation, which had declined from 12 per cent in December 2012 to 6.5 per cent in April 2014 — the first single digit rate in five years — was now on an upward trend, approaching 8 per cent due to concerns about the food supply. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had estimated gross domestic product (GDP) would drop by 3.3 points from 11 to 8 per cent.
ABELARDO MORENO, Vice Minister for Foreign Relations, Cuba, said that in answer to the call issued by WHO and the Secretary-General, his country was sending a medical brigade to the region and was ready to work side by side with other countries, including those with which it did not have diplomatic relations. Such a contribution was a continuation of Cuba’s widespread medical assistance in Africa and the Caribbean and its training of doctors from 120 countries. The Cuban response was an expression of solidarity engendered by the Cuban revolution. “Humanity has a debt to the people of Africa,” he said, “We cannot let them down.
GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) announced that his country had shipped emergency supply kits to support local efforts in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, in coordination with the WHO. They accounted for a three-month supply for a total of about 7,000 people. Additionally, Brazil had announced an initial donation of $450,000 to assist WHO’s efforts to curb the virus. President Dilma Rousseff had authorized a donation, on an exceptional basis, of thousands of tons of rice and beans to the three affected nations through the World Food Programme. The Peacebuilding Commission, which he chaired, had adopted a statement after its meeting on 8 September reiterating the body’s intention to serve as a common platform in New York for discussion, information-sharing and awareness-raising.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) pointed to an unprecedented outbreak of the virus, intensified by weak public health centres that were pushed beyond capacity. The situation was worsening daily due to a lack of vaccines and specific treatments and to contagion. The number affected could rapidly double or triple with severe consequences for the region and the globe. The international community must use the Council meeting to push its response forward and tackle the outbreak’s short and longer term consequences. Concerned by the negative impact of isolating countries, Morocco had maintained the air services of Royal Air Maroc, providing several fights per week to each of the most-affected countries. Solidarity was needed not just to respond to conflict and human rights violations, but also to prevent a public health emergency.
OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland) stressed the threat posed by Ebola to global security and the need for swift action in response. He welcomed WHO’s Ebola Response Roadmap and called for a long-term response alongside efforts to contain the immediate crisis. He noted the almost $1 billion emergency appeal by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, WHO and the United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola to cover urgent needs in the three most affected countries in the coming six months. Switzerland had provided humanitarian aid and was supporting local non-governmental organizations’ efforts, with further increases to contributions currently being considered. The African Union decision to authorize a military and civilian humanitarian mission to help with the crisis was a positive step, as were efforts undertaken by the Peacebuilding Commission. Additionally, he welcomed the decision to roll over the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), temporarily suspending the previously envisaged drawdown, and he encouraged adjusting UNMIL’s mandate to reflect the coordination and support the mission would provide to tackle Ebola.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, expressing deep concern over the Ebola crisis, said the best way to do justice to those who had lost their lives was to act and prevent future victims. The Union would continue its help in the most affected areas, in partnership with WHO, the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other international partners. He welcomed WHO’s leadership in developing the Ebola Response Roadmap, and the United Nations system-wide response. The Union had pledged 150 million euros for treatment, training and steps to contain the epidemic, medical laboratories, health services and budget support. That figure also included 5 million euros to the African Union to support affected nations. Several Union members had given bilateral support totalling 23 million euros and were contributing with in-kind aid, including the secondment of health-care specialists. The European Emergency Response Coordination Centre supported the Union’s efforts.
Furthermore, the Union was working actively to find ways to reduce the growing isolation of affected areas, he said. It would address the urgent need to retain and re-establish transport links and medical evacuation. Additionally, it was preparing a comprehensive framework for its response, aligned with WHO’s road map, which took into account the food and health system crises caused by the crisis and its damaging economic impact. On Monday, the Union held a high-level meeting on Ebola in Brussels; health ministers would meet next week in Milan.
HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey) said that his Government had immediately mobilized financial resources and provided medical assistance to the affected countries, and plans were under consideration to scale up support to them through bilateral and multilateral channels. More importantly, Turkish Airlines was among the few airliners that continued its flights to the region. The Ebola outbreak required a comprehensive, coordinated and long-term response.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada) said that his Government had early on recognized the risks the Ebola outbreak represented and it had been a leader in making significant contributions to help contain its spread. It had provided expert deployments, vaccines, and financial support. Canada’s contributions to WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières, and local Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations had helped establish the base for their respective response activities. Canada also had deployed a mobile laboratory to Sierra Leone and committed more than $2.5 million in personnel protective equipment to WHO for distribution, donating as many as 1,000 doses of experimental vaccine to that health agency.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said that his Government had provided $5 million for West Africa and dispatched medical doctors specialized in infectious diseases to Liberia and Sierra Leone four times. Most recently, it decided to provide 20,000 infection protection suits for health-care workers in those two countries. His country was also ready to provide a new medication, known as T-705, or Favipiravir, an experimental drug, developed by two Japanese companies, which was expected to be effective as a post-exposure prophylaxis against Ebola. Strengthening Africa’s social and economic resilience was a Japanese policy priority under the framework of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands) said that his country’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation would announce major contributions to combat the Ebola crisis. His delegation would also take part in the side event on Ebola next week to further discuss that grave threat to the international community. Even after the outbreak was controlled, the global community must continue to support the affected countries in West Africa, where regional and international trade and the economies were severely affected, food prices were rising, the agricultural harvest was limited due to little rainfall, and public health systems were in need of rebuilding.
MÅRTEN GRUNDITZ (Sweden) said that, since April, his country had contributed $4.4 million to the three most affected States, mainly through such partners as the International Rescue Committee, Médecins Sans Frontières, Action Contre La Faim and the Swedish Red Cross. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency was in the final stages of preparing an additional package of at least $13 million in response to the appeal made by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and directed primarily to UNICEF, WHO and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service.
RON PROSOR (Israel), agreeing with the severity and global import of the Ebola epidemic, said his country was proud to be playing its part as per the Jewish ethos of “repairing the world” and following on the country’s quick response to disasters, from Haiti to Ghana and the Philippines. It had already sent supplies, trainers and emergency funding to the West African region and Israeli non-governmental organizations were preparing to send another medical team to Sierra Leone. “This must be the moment when we unite to defeat this disease and strengthen health systems around the world so this tragedy is never repeated,” he said.
GONZALO KONCKE (Uruguay) acknowledged the scale of the Ebola crisis, and expressed particular concern for the plight of women in the affected region. He welcomed the United Nations role in coordinating the worldwide response and expressed appreciation for the assistance pledged. His country would maintain its contribution to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), despite the threat of Ebola spreading to that country, while developing strategies to ensure the health of its personnel.
TETE ANTONIO, Permanent Observer of the African Union, said citizens in affected countries were living in great trepidation since the onset of the epidemic. Farmers and health workers could not go about their business without fear and the situation was exacerbated by the fact that it was taking place in post-conflict countries in transition. Neighbouring countries remained on constant alert, with mistrust growing regionally and locally because of the disease’s deadliness. That was affecting cross-border trade and impacting food security, with prices rising. The need to stem the epidemic was clear and continuing agricultural production was essential. The crisis highlighted the weaknesses of public health systems and showed the importance of the African Health Strategy. Weak health systems were major impediments to fighting the disease and that was particularly true for countries emerging from conflict.
“Desperate times called for desperate measures,” he said, urging an end to procrastination. “The time to act is now.” There were two priorities — tackling the immediate emergency and preparing a long-term approach. An Emergency Public Health Fund had been established by the African Union Commission, and the African Union had made a monetary pledge from its Humanitarian Assistance Fund and Department of Political Affairs. The long-run approach included creation of an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. The focus was on operationalizing the Centre for Disease Control to speed up information-sharing, tracking the disease and implementing a coordinated response. The Peace and Security Council had authorized the deployment of a humanitarian mission aimed at containing the outbreak; it was expected to run for six months with monthly rotations of volunteers. Describing the work of the African Union, he stressed the importance of being guided by the reality on the ground.
JUAN MANUEL GONZÁLEZ DE LINARES PALOU (Spain) stressed the need to care for the sick, while looking after those giving the care. It was vital to ensure that affected States’ medical facilities, as well as their social, economic and security structures, did not collapse. Additionally, it was counterproductive to isolate affected countries. The disease was not quarantined, and so that only hindered response efforts. Spain was actively tackling all the challenges, treating the ill by sending tons of medical and emergency supplies as well as experts in several fields. Spanish staff in affected countries was caring for the sick, but they, too, needed protection. The death of Fr. Miguel Pajares underlined the need for their protection. He noted also that pressure on health systems caused by Ebola was increasing the number dying from other basic diseases and the rate of maternal mortality. Spain continued providing food and nutritional support and was aware of the need to prevent the problem in neighbouring countries.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) said that his Government had supported WHO since the outbreak of the crisis, making a preliminary contribution of 200,000 euros in April for Conakry. An additional 240,000 euros had recently been disbursed. Moreover, his Government had approved a bilateral action for the prevention and treatment of the virus through capacity-building and technical assistance to the affected nations as well as public information about the transmission of the disease. Soon, up to 4 million euros in new humanitarian initiatives would be carried out by Italian Development Cooperation, depending on the situation on the ground.
ALBERT SHINGIRO (Burundi) expressed great concern about Ebola’s rapid spread, with the current degree of international mobilization not yet at the level needed to meet the current rate of spread. A more structured, coordinated approach was needed; waiting until tomorrow would be too late. The scope of the outbreak demanded a more robust response and greater regional and international preparations. Local communities should participate, as grass-roots groups took ownership of fights when they established their own responses and could really slow the spread if people were educated properly. Gains made through peacebuilding were being eroded daily and the affected countries’ abilities to deal with the scourge were limited. He warned against isolating countries suffering outbreaks, suggesting it amounted to a denial of basic humanitarian assistance. Neighbouring countries should open humanitarian corridors to ensure supplies got through. Widespread panic hampered economies and slowed agricultural production, potentially leading to a food crisis in affected States.
MARGUS KOLGA (Estonia), associating with the European Union, stressed that the epidemic was more than a public health crisis, and now the international response was taking form in the Security Council. Health workers were suffering, with 240 infected and 120 deaths. Health systems in ravaged areas were overburdened. The systems must be strengthened as the spread was outpacing the response. He appreciated work done and encouraged a continued focus on effective strategies and partnerships. All countries could play a role, and Estonia was doing its part, contributing to efforts and providing a doctor with expertise in the field. Work with the European Union was also ongoing to help reduce the growing isolation of affected areas. To avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, it was vital to act now.
GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway) stressed the need to recognize that women were especially at risk for contracting the Ebola virus in their role as caregivers in homes and in hospitals. Up to two thirds of the victims were women. The Ebola outbreak called for immediate action. Norway had responded to that call by tripling its financial contribution with an additional 60 million Norwegian kroner. Its total contribution, which exceeded $13 million, would support efforts by the United Nations, the African Union and several non-governmental organizations.
NKOLOI NKOLOI (Botswana) stressed the need for African nations to pull together as “children of the same soil” to address the pandemic in partnership with the international community, providing whatever resources were at their disposal. His Government had decided last month to render financial assistance to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That modest humanitarian gesture of good will and compassion would go a long way in supporting the deployment of resources and expertise required to fight and eventually eradicate the dreadful virus.
JIM MCLAY (New Zealand), in the context of what he agreed was an unprecedented crisis, recalled the warning about Ebola by Said Djinnit, head of the United Nations Office in West Africa, in a July briefing to the Council. It showed the importance of briefings from regional offices to flag emerging threats. He welcomed support already pledged for the response to the epidemic, including to regional organizations. His country was on the eve of a general election, but one of the first tasks of the new Government would be the urgent consideration of a range of options so that it could play its part in the international response.
SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia) said her Government earlier this week had answered the call for international support, particularly in response to the testimonies by medical authorities which identified the shortage of medical rubber gloves as a problem in combating the outbreak. The consignment of 20.9 million medical rubber gloves had been prepared for distribution in the affected countries. Of the 11 containers, three each would go to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with one each for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.
HARALD BRAUN (Germany) expressed his Government’s commitment to the United Nations mission in Liberia as a police contributor. The Ebola threat would be a core issue of the Group of Seven (G-7) Foreign Ministers’ meetings in New York next week and throughout Germany’s presidency of that group. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiative to establish the special mission. The German air force would airlift medical and humanitarian goods and personnel to the region and provide materials for an Ebola treatment centre in Liberia with a capacity for 50 beds. To date, his country had pledged more than 17 million euros through WHO and aid agencies; it also was providing funds to the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Robert Koch Institute for Disease Control and Prevention, which were operating diagnostic facilities in West Africa and had deployed 17 epidemiologists to the region. Today, Germany’s Foreign Minister decided to allocate 5 million euros to counter the Ebola outbreak, and the country carried the largest share of the European Union’s pledge of 150 million euros for that purpose. Additionally, Germany was funding the development of vaccines and new therapies against Ebola, and it was also examining the availability of appropriate medical evacuation capabilities.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ (Colombia) said all support must be given to the Ebola-effected countries. They had made enormous efforts to stem the disease and they should not be marginalized. His country would provide funding as well as medicines. Clear lines of responsibility in support of the national priorities should be drawn, and support provided for long-term structural improvement. As the crisis was not strictly a security matter, he stressed that the General Assembly should decide on the competence over the matter, he stressed.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua) said that the affected countries should be provided with all necessary support to successfully combat the severe epidemic. Her country planned to contribute personnel. She welcomed the role being played by the WHO and expressed appreciation for the assistance that had already been pledged. The global effort demonstrated that the community of nations could indeed unite to save lives, she commented.
SÉKOU KASSÉ (Mali) said the United States’ reputation for being a pioneer was reflected in its organization of this important meeting. The delegation had organized a similar meeting in January 2000 on HIV/AIDS. Ebola was not new to the African region, but the epidemic affecting the west of the continent was unprecedented in terms of its spread and the number affected. Mali was working bilaterally, sub-regionally and regionally to implement measures recommended by various bodies. He was pleased to join the response and commended the United States’ initiative and strong international mobilization coalescing around it. It was urgent to coordinate efforts to tackle the disease because it would wait for no one in moving from person to person, country to country and around the world. He supported the Secretary-General’s proposed mission.
IBRAHIMA SORY SYLLA (Senegal) stressed his appreciation to the Council for trying to help countries affected by the Ebola epidemic. Ebola was not just an African issue, but a global one which affected all. He was grateful to international partners, including States and civil society organizations, which had helped the affected countries, and he underlined his full support to brother countries, noting efforts made to establish humanitarian corridors. Senegal, since it had raised its head, had implemented a strategy to prevent the disease’s spread. There was no record of any patient dying from Ebola on Senegal’s national territory, he said, adding that one person had contracted it but had been treated and survived. Unified action must be strengthened given the solid links between the countries in the subregion.
GEORGE WILFRED TALBOT (Guyana) welcomed adoption of the resolution and looked forward to General Assembly action on the subject. The outbreak was the biggest of its kind in history, requiring regional and international responses that were multidimensional in nature. Governments of affected countries were making valiant efforts to contain the crisis and respond to the effects of the epidemic. It was imperative that the international community join in the response, he said, expressing support for the new United Nations mission.
ABDALLA OTHMAN KHAMIS (United Republic of Tanzania) paid tribute to all those who had stepped up so far to respond to the Ebola threat and welcomed the adoption of today’s resolution, as well as the commitments made in the chamber. It was now necessary to act on them. He opposed marginalization of the affected countries and affirmed the importance of increasing the health capacities of the countries involved to prevent further outbreaks. His country planned to contribute to the response to Ebola, particularly through regional organizations.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) welcomed the international solidarity on Ebola that had been shown in the Security Council chamber today. It was now time to “walk the talk”. All relevant United Nations agencies must be engaged in the response because of the efforts required in many sectors. His country planned to open up transport to the countries of the region and to make millions of dollars available to the international response. The pandemic could spread throughout the world, and therefore as much support as possible should be provided.
Taking the floor to make additional comments, Ms. CHAN thanked the Security Council membership for the very valuable and various types of support given to the three affected countries. The unanimous support for the resolution and the level of co-sponsorship was unprecedented and she said her heart was warmed by support for the Secretary-General’s initiative to establish a mission to tackle the outbreak. She promised to act quickly and efficiently and to work to kick the Ebola outbreak out of the African continent.
Also speaking for a second time, Dr. NABARRO gave feedback on the remarks made, saying that speakers appreciated the seriousness of the challenges of this major public health crisis that could have many other extensive impacts. He also welcomed the solidarity shown to affected countries and saw increased signs of willingness to open or maintain air and other trading links, as well as strong indications of solidarity among African nations and around the world. He was also pleased to see recognition of the other parts of the United Nations, particularly the WHO, along with other agencies. Several Governments, some of which were in Africa, had offered generous commitments, as had the more traditional donors. It was indeed “a global coalition” and Governments were keen to coordinate and to trust the United Nations in acting as the coordinating body. Virtually all speakers noted support for the exceptional public health mission proposed by the Secretary-General.
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