Deputy Secretary-General, Addressing Regional Coordinating Mechanism, Urges Rapid Action to Help Haiti Make Most of International Focus on Its Needs

19 February 2010

Deputy Secretary-General, Addressing Regional Coordinating Mechanism, Urges Rapid Action to Help Haiti Make Most of International Focus on Its Needs

19 February 2010
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, Addressing Regional Coordinating Mechanism, Urges Rapid

Action to Help Haiti Make Most of International Focus on Its Needs

Following is UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s opening address to the Regional Coordination Mechanism meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean, in Mexico City on 17 February:

I am honoured to chair this meeting.  It is a particular pleasure to gather in Mexico City.  Mexico has long distinguished itself through its commitment to our Organization and to multilateralism more generally.  I thank the Mexican authorities for hosting us.

I should also hasten to bring you warm greetings from the Secretary-General.  Both he and I see the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) as a fundamentally important piece of connective tissue in our Organization.  The objectives of the RCM are clear: to achieve policy coherence and create synergy at the regional and subregional levels, thereby enhancing the global impact of our work.

Your region has taken the lead in establishing both the RCM and a second valuable regional coordination structure: the Regional Directors Team (RDT) of the United Nations Development Group.  As you know, these two structures have distinct yet complementary functions.  But together, they play a critical role in helping us deliver on the mandates outlined in the Charter and given to us by Member States.  After all, to the people we serve, there is no RCM or RDT, no Secretariat and no agencies, funds and programmes.  There is simply one United Nations.

The Secretary-General and I are, therefore, encouraged to see that, increasingly, RCMs and RDTs meet at the same time in the same place.  We are glad to see follow-through on efforts to link the RCM and RDT back to the Chief Executives Board and to other activities in the Secretariat.  These are very welcome developments.

We are here to address several of the region’s key development challenges.  I would like this meeting to enable the United Nations to contribute more meaningfully to policy debates throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  Of course, these challenges are felt most acutely right now in Haiti.  The United Nations family continues to grieve for the colleagues and friends we have lost, and for the tens of thousands of Haitians who remain missing or were killed.

We are united in our resolve to rebuild our United Nations presence in Haiti, and to help the country recover.  This is a huge challenge.  Haitians have proven their great resilience many times; tragically, they are being called on to prove it once again.  The United Nations system must bring all its strengths together to “deliver as one” in common cause with Haiti and its partners.

Whatever the case, we must also act quickly and help Haiti make the most of the international spotlight that has been directed on its needs.  And we must ensure that Haiti’s people are provided with adequate resources to weather the coming rainy season, while at the same time laying the foundations for long-term sustainable development.

Safeguarding our progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is a challenge in Haiti, across this region and around the world.  Our last RCM meeting, in November 2008, took place when the full impact of the economic and financial crisis was still unclear.  But now we have a better idea of the fallout.

According to ECLAC [Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean] estimates, the crisis has brought poverty reduction to a halt across the region.  More worryingly, the numbers of extreme poor have increased.  Fortunately, we are beginning to see signs that the region has started to recover.  But very high rates of growth will be required to rebuild all that has been lost.  The task of restarting growth is made even more difficult by the new challenges posed by climate change, which we will have the occasion to discuss during this meeting.

With only five years left to the MDG deadline in 2015, we must do everything possible to help countries regain their momentum.  Nearly 10 years of experience show that the Goals are attainable when adequate resources, sound technical assistance and good policy are brought to bear in tandem.  The United Nations, as you all know, is playing a key role in delivering this trinity.  This year’s MDG Summit in September will help advance our work.

Similarly, the COP-16 meeting later this year here in Mexico provides a precious opportunity to complete the work on climate change that started in Copenhagen.  I know I speak for the entire UN system gathered here in pledging our time and resources to supporting the Mexican Government in furthering negotiations.

Latin America and the Caribbean’s efforts to achieve the MDGs and halt climate change are very much in keeping with two of the seven strategic opportunities for the year ahead articulated by the Secretary-General in a speech to the General Assembly in January.  Allow me to make note of the other five:  empowering women; advancing towards a world free of nuclear weapons; preventing and resolving deadly conflicts; ensuring human rights and the rule of law; and strengthening the UN system.  I know you are committed to every part of this agenda.  The Secretary-General and I are grateful for your collaboration in pursuing all of these priorities.

I would like to say a few words, however, about empowering women. As you know, this is a cause that is close to the hearts of Ms. [Alicia] Bárcena [Executive Secretary of ECLAC] and myself.  And we have a great ally in the Secretary-General.

Last November in Guatemala, we launched the Secretary-General’s “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign.  I would like to thank all Regional Directors for supporting this and other initiatives to eradicate violence against women.  We have since launched the campaign in Africa, too, as well as a Network of Men Leaders who are working to end gender violence.  The Secretary-General’s new special envoy on sexual violence in conflict has also taken up her post, as you may be aware.  We must now complement these steps with agreement on a dynamic new gender entity.  I have no doubt that our consultations with Member States will lead to an announcement soon.  We are working very hard on this.

Thank you for your leadership, hard work and solidarity.  Let us use this RCM to galvanize action and deliver real results for this region.  The people of Latin America and the Caribbean have high expectations of us.  They have given us our trust.  I have no doubt that the United Nations will rise to the occasion.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.