23 May 2013

Opening remarks at joint press encounter with World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim

Ban Ki-moon

As you know, we have just concluded a visit to the Heal Africa hospital.

I was deeply moved by the stories and suffering that we heard. The visit brought out strong feelings.

First, I am angry that women and girls have to endure such barbarity, here or anywhere. This must stop.

Second, I am humbled at their courage to overcome their wounds. I thank the dedicated doctors and nurses who are helping here and elsewhere.

Third, I am determined to do more to bring security and opportunity to these women and their communities.

That is why I am here with World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim.

We are here to support the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.

We call it the framework for hope.

It aims to address the roots of the violence.

The Intervention Brigade being deployed within the UN peacekeeping operation is designed to bring added stability and protect civilians.

But that is only one element of a much larger political process.

A peace deal must deliver a peace dividend -- health, education, jobs, opportunity.

The framework for hope must be an agenda for action.

We must invest in the people who have suffered so much.

We must invest in women and girls.

Today is the first International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

Many women and girls at this hospital suffer from fistula after enduring brutal rapes.

In pain, and often unable to control bladder and bowels, they are disabled and often shunned by society.

I commend the work done here and by Dr. Mukwege at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu to heal these wounded women.

But the condition is not caused by abuse alone.

Early pregnancy and the lack of healthcare contribute to 40,000 cases in this country alone.

It is further emphasis of the need for holistic development.

Education for girls can help them avoid early pregnancy.

Better medical services can prevent complicated pregnancies leading to fistula.

Education and health care are part of the broader infrastructure of development that can bring economic progress and hope to this battered region.

That is why I welcome the commitment of Dr. Kim and the pledges of the World Bank.

Together, the World Bank and the United Nations are determined to support peace and development that will benefit all the people of the DRC and the Great Lakes region.

We have the best chance in many years to bring peace and calm to the region.

I urge all of the region’s leaders to work together to realize the potential of the agreement which is aimed at realizing the full potential of the people.

Thank you.