General Assembly Resolution Reaffirms United Nations Support for New Approach to Cholera in Haiti, Including through Trust Fund
GENERAL ASSEMBLY PLENARY
SEVENTY-FIRST SESSION, 91ST MEETING (AM)
The General Assembly today reaffirmed its support for the Organization’s new approach to cholera in Haiti, including the establishment of the United Nations Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund, and invited Member States, donors, financial institutions, the private sector and others to extend financial support for the initiative.
Adopting without a vote a resolution titled “The new United Nations approach to cholera in Haiti” (document A/71/L.78), the Assembly also welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to invite Member States to voluntarily direct their share of the unencumbered balance and other income of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2016, to the Trust Fund.
Through the text, it encouraged Member States and the United Nations development system to facilitate and complement international and regional cooperation and technical assistance for the new approach.
It went on to request the Secretary-General to bear in mind when disposing MINUSTAH’s assets their potential use by the United Nations country team and the Government of Haiti in supporting the cholera response as well as the country’s sustainable development.
In addition, through the text, the Assembly welcomed the Secretary-General’s appointment of a new Special Envoy for Haiti.
Announced by the former Secretary-General on 19 August 2016, the new approach aimed to intensify efforts to eliminate cholera from Haiti, catalyse action to upgrade the country’s water and sanitation systems, and provide material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera.
Outbreaks of cholera have affected more than 800,000 people and resulted in over 9,000 deaths in Haiti since 2010, the resolution stated in its preambular section.
The Security Council, through its resolution 2350 (2017), unanimously decided on 13 April 2017 to phase out MINUSTAH, draw down its military component by 15 October 2017 and replace the Mission with a new entity, the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MIUSJUSTH). The new Mission would help the Government strengthen rule-of-law institutions and further develop and support the Haitian National Police and engage in human rights monitoring, reporting and analysis.
Introducing the text, E. Courtenay Rattray (Jamaica), whose country co-facilitated the text with Mexico, said the cholera crisis in Haiti stood starkly as a stain against the United Nations good name. Repairing the harm caused would not be easy, he said, noting with concern that limited resources had been made available to the Trust Fund. The amount that could be raised through the redirection of MINUSTAH balances and credits to the Fund would be small relative to the amount required, he said, adding, however, that, given the dire situation, every feasible source of funding could make a difference.
Speaking after adoption, Astride Nazaire (Haiti) said consensus demonstrated considerable international support for the new approach and for the ideal of universal solidarity. The cholera epidemic had been a terrible calamity for Haiti, but with the resolution’s adoption, hopes for achieving sustainable development had been strengthened, she said.
Judith Marcia Arrieta Munguia (Mexico) described the resolution as a watershed in the fight against cholera in Haiti, with the new approach making it possible to direct resources previously earmarked for MINUSTAH to an important development issue — water and sanitation.
Rudolph Michael Ten-Pow (Guyana), speaking on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the people of Haiti needed the international community’s support not only to alleviate the suffering caused by cholera, but also to address underlying conditions that increased the risk of the disease. That included extreme poverty, weak sanitation infrastructure, limited access to clear water, poor housing and a lack of basic health services. All of those formed part of the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, helping to make the case for special assistance for Haiti not only as a small island developing State but also because of the moral responsibility owed to it by the Organization.
Angelito Ayong Nayan (Philippines) said that, in solidarity with the people of Haiti, his country would contribute $50,000 to the Trust Fund.
Martín Garcia Moritán (Argentina) noted his country’s role in Haiti over the years, including a military field hospital — deployed as part of MINUSTAH — which had treated cholera cases and responded to the 2010 earthquake. Emphasizing that Argentinian police officers would participate in MINUSTAH, he announced that his country would also contribute $10,000 to the Trust Fund.
Michael Bonser (Canada) said his country would respond positively to the Secretary-General’s request for its unused share of MINUSTAH’s budget to be directed to the fight against cholera, and called on all other Member States to consider doing likewise.
Representatives of Colombia, Guatemala and Chile also spoke.
For information media. Not an official record.