New York

09 October 2014

UN Secretary-General Remarks at World Bank Conference on Clean Water, Improved Sanitation, and Better Health for Haiti [As Delivered]

I would like to thank Dr. Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank, who has organized this very important and timely meeting to support Haiti.

And I would also like to welcome, it is a great pleasure to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe of Haiti and distinguished ministers from Haiti. Your participation really means a strong commitment on your part to work with the United Nations, the World Bank and the members of the international community.

We are here to express our strong solidarity and our support, our continuing support, for the Haitian people and Government in their fight against cholera, and for social development.

I also appreciate and welcome many partners, countries and organizations for your continuing support.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For decades, water and sanitation have been neglected in Haiti, with serious consequences for public health.  Without safe water and adequate sanitation, people die from preventable waterborne illnesses, including diarrhea Malnutrition rates worsen, stunting not only a child's development but that of the country itself. Children, especially girls, stay out of school.

We now need to catch up.  We must help the Haitian people. We must bring access to water, sanitation and healthcare within reach of every Haitian.  We are here today to help make that happen.

The Government is fully mobilized.  Water and sanitation are at the core of Haiti’s National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera.  All United Nations agencies in Haiti will continue to support the Government’s efforts.

When I visited Haiti in July, I heard first-hand how cholera has affected families. My heart ached at the losses that so many thousands of people have had to suffer and die.

But I was also moved to see how much communities can do, how resilient people were, and they were really expecting the international community to do more for them.  With a little bit of help, we can help address the underlying risks and make them free of disease. During my visit, as the Prime Minister said, Prime Minister Lamothe and I launched a Total Sanitation Initiative, to raise sanitation standards and improve health conditions for millions of people in the next few years.

I have been meeting many people in many different places, but meeting the families of victims was one of my most moving. And I saw the strong spirit and resilience of those people, and I resolved to myself that there must be more for the international community to do for them.

I thank the many donors that have already contributed to the National Plan.  Our challenge is to scale up that support and strengthen Haitian institutions so that implementation is effective and durable.

Dr. Paul Farmer and Mr. Pedro Medrano, the UN Senior Coordinator for Resource Mobilization for Haiti Cholera Elimination, have been tracking pledges and disbursements.  As of today, the $2.2 billion, 10-year National Plan is just 10 per cent funded.  While a lot has been done, there is clearly much more to do.

Haiti has come a long way since the 2010 earthquake. We are shifting from a context of humanitarian response to one of building institutions and pursuing sustainable development.  More children are in school, and the security situation has improved, although the political process and electoral law remain critical challenges.

I call on all of Haiti’s partners to step up, sustain the recent momentum, and help build a healthy Haiti underpinned by clean water and improved sanitation.  Haitians, the Haitian people, expect their Government and the international community to deliver. If we all do our part, we can help Haitians to realize a healthier, more prosperous future.

Thank you for your commitment and leadership.