Secretary-General Appoints David Gressly of United States United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator
The Secretary-General has also recently announced a strengthened coordination and support mechanism in the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, led by David Gressly of the United States of America as United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator.
Mr. Gressly brings a wealth of humanitarian leadership and political and security experience to the role, having served since 2015 as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Before that he was Deputy Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). He also served as Regional Coordinator in the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
With more than 20 years of experience with the United Nations system, Mr. Gressly was also Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, based in Senegal.
* This supersedes Press Release SG/A/1545-BIO/4692-PKO/470 of 6 February 2015.
Statement by the President of the Security Council
At the 8590th meeting of the Security Council, held on 2 August 2019, in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “Peace and security in Africa”, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:
“The Security Council reiterates its grave concern about the most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It takes note that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak in the DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
“The Security Council highlights the urgency of the Ebola response,because the disease could spread rapidly, including to neighbouring countries, possibly having serious humanitarian consequences and impacting regional stability.
“The Security Council reiterates its appreciation for the efforts of the government of the DRC, WHO and other UN agencies, the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the African Union, humanitarian organisations, international donors and all supporting the response to contain the disease and treat Ebola patients, noting the challenging operating environment.
“The Security Council emphasizes the need for continued cooperation and ordination with the DRC to address the Ebola outbreak, as well as with the States in the region, as appropriate.
“The Security Council stresses the need for government and civil society in affected and at-risk countries to work urgently with relevant partners to improve their preparedness for preventing, detecting and responding to possible cases, as well as to implement optimal vaccine strategies that have maximum impact on curtailing the outbreak. The Security Council notes with appreciation the contribution of the relevant non-governmental organizations to the response to the outbreak and their involvement in the coordination of the response, in
support of national authorities.
“The Security Council welcomes the efforts of David Gressly as the UN Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator to create the enabling environment for the WHO led public health response in support of the government of the DRC, and the commitment of the UN Secretary General to addressing and containing the Ebola outbreak, including by providing sufficient resources to the Coordinator.
“The Security Council reiterates its serious concern regarding the security situation in the areas affected by the Ebola outbreak, in particular the attacks on humanitarian and medical personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, which is severely hampering the response efforts and facilitating the spread of the virus in the DRC and the wider region; and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all armed groups.
“The Security Council condemns in the strongest terms all attacks against and threats intentionally directed against medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, including the killings of health workers, as well as attacks on their means of transport and equipment, hospitals and other medical facilities, bearing in mind the need to ensure that those responsible are held accountable and brought to justice by relevant authorities. They recalled the provisions of resolution 2286 (2016) in that regard.
“The Security Council demands that safe and unhindered access be ensured for humanitarian and medical personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, to patients and others in need; and also stresses that response teams and medical facilities must be respected and protected, and that they must not be a target, in accordance with international law.
“The Security Council highlights the need for a comprehensive and community based approach, by building trust among the population, especially those most at risk, to facilitate an effective response. The Security Council also encourages the promotion of a comprehensive and sustained response beyond the current outbreak, support health facilities and basic needs and services for the affected populations in DRC and the region, in order to prevent or minimize any potential future outbreak.
“The Security Council emphasizes the importance of strengthening international support and engagement, including full and timely financial contributions to the response, technical assistance, scientific cooperation and human resources to bring the disease permanently and successfully under control.”
Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator and World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Emergency Responses
Goma, 31 July 2019. Following confirmation on July 30 of a second confirmed case of Ebola in Goma, the Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator, David Gressly, and the World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, Dr. Ibrahima Socé Fall, are working intensively, mobilizing all aspects of the response to stop any further spread of Ebola in Goma.
To date, there is no evidence that this second case detected in Goma has any link with the first confirmed case, a pastor who travelled to Goma from Butembo. This second individual was working as a miner in Ituri province and travelled back to Goma on 13 July. The victim has sadly died this morning.
Surveillance at all points of entry and points of control in the area is being stepped up as is community engagement, risk communication and active case finding. However, this new case in Goma is confirmation that while a there has been much progress to combat the spread of Ebola, we need to do more. The efforts to end the Ebola outbreak must continue until there are zero cases. And we must build a strong, resilient health system to avoid a resurgence of Ebola virus disease in the DRC.
We commend the Congolese authorities for their response and confirm our commitment to support their efforts to end this Ebola outbreak. We also recognize the tireless efforts of the front line workers in the response who are risking their lives every day to end this outbreak. We call on international partners and donors to continue to provide the support and engagement necessary to swiftly end this epidemic.
Statement by Mr. W. David Gressly as he resumes his position as DSRSG for MONUSCO
As February has come to a close, we have seen significant progress since the beginning of the year. There have been no confirmed cases in the last two weeks and only two in the last 21 days. In May when the crisis was at its peak there were over 120 cases per week. Today the last confirmed case currently under treatment in one ETC will be returning home. All other ETCs have no confirmed cases. The number of contacts of confirmed cases being monitored has declined from a peak of over 20,000 per day to under 250 today.
The progress is clear and the systems for seeing the end of the epidemic are fully in place. As a result, the national coordination is starting to mainstream the response back to the provinces. Likewise, we are doing the same with the international support to the response. Effective March 1, 2020 international coordination support to the Ebola response will transfer back to the Humanitarian Country Team under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator, David McLachlan-Karr and I will return to my previous position as DSRSG for MONUSCO.
I requested at the beginning of November to return to my position in March as the trends then were already quite positive. I’m happy to see that this has been borne out.
I want to wish David and the HCT full success as they move towards a post Ebola period. I would also like to thank all who supported this response and particularly those in the EERT and the EERO.
Finally I want to recognize those who were victims of this disease, both survivors and those who tragically did not survive. The survivors and the families and communities of all the victims will continue to need our support. We’ve made that commitment, now we need to see it through. I’m confident that will happen.
W. David Gressly