Valerie Amos United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator - Remarks to the Press, Cote d’ivoire, 20 June 2014
Today I am concluding a two-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire. The purpose of my visit was two-fold.
First, to participate in the first of our regional consultations in the run-up to the World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul in 2016. The World Humanitarian Summit will set the agenda for humanitarian actors to address the challenges we now face, including rising needs and dwindling resources.
The consultations with our partners – including affected people, Governments, representatives from the private sector, civil society organizations and UN agencies – are a crucial element in the process. And in the past two days, we have had a rich discussion with our partners in this region. Countries are dealing with the impact of climate change and conflicts, internal displacement and refugee flows. And we see that the solutions to the challenges faced in West and Central Africa have to be coming from the region, with the support of international community.
The second reason for my visit has been to do a country visit here in Côte d’Ivoire. I was last here in the midst of the post-electoral conflict, and was delighted to have an opportunity to speak to representatives from the government, civil society organizations and UN agencies about the situation now in Côte d’Ivoire.
This morning, I met President Alassane Ouattara and also met the Prime Minister to whom I presented my sincere condolences for the twelve people who lost their lives in floods yesterday.
Côte d’Ivoire has made significant progress towards stabilization and recovery since the 2010 crisis. Four years ago, there were 500,000 people displaced in the country and 300,000 people had fled to neighboring countries – a salutary reminder today, which is World Refugee Day. Most have returned and the Government continues to encourage displaced people inside and outside the country to return home. We welcome that approach.
The government’s focus on inclusive growth and longer-term development is also welcomed but I’m very conscious that there are residual humanitarian needs which have to be addressed. For example, about 40 per cent of children are chronically malnourished. There is a need to expand access to health services in the western part of the country. And we also have concerns about food insecurity in the North and North East. The UN will continue to address these issues in collaboration with our development partners and the Government.
I would like to end by thanking the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for hosting the consultation, and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, ECCAS and ECOWAS for their support to the consultation process.
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