New approach to cholera in Haiti - Report of the Secretary-General (A/71/895)

Report
from UN General Assembly
Published on 03 May 2017 View Original

Summary

On 19 August 2016, the former Secretary-General announced a new approach by the United Nations to cholera in Haiti. The new approach has two tracks. Track 1 involves intensifying the Organization’s support to reduce and ultimately end the transmission of cholera, improve access to care and treatment and address the longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti. Track 2 involves developing a package of material assistance and support for those Haitians most directly affected by cholera. These efforts must include, as a central focus, the victims of the disease and their families. The former Secretary-General urged Member States to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Haiti by increasing their contributions to eliminate cholera and provide assistance to those affected.

In its resolution 71/161, adopted on 16 December 2016, the General Assembly recognized that the United Nations had a moral responsibility to the victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, as well as to support Haiti in overcoming the epidemic and building sound water, sanitation and health systems, welcomed the new approach and called upon all Member States, relevant United Nations bodies and other international governmental and non-governmental partners to provide their full support to the new approach, in particular to intensify their efforts to respond to and eliminate cholera and to address the suffering of its victims, including by providing material assistance and support to communities and those Haitians most directly affected by cholera. The Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit a further report for consideration at its resumed seventy-first session.

Pursuant to that request, the present report provides updated information on the incidence of suspected cholera cases in Haiti and on the further development and implementation of the new approach.

The Secretary-General urges Member States to provide their full support to the new approach to control and eliminate cholera in Haiti and provide material assistance and support.

I. Introduction

1. The United Nations new approach is intended to intensify efforts to eliminate cholera from Haiti, catalyse action to upgrade water and sanitation systems in order to ensure that all Haitians have access to clean drinking water and sanitation, and provide material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera. The new approach is consistent with the core values of the Organization and with the Sustainable Development Goals.

2. The new approach has two tracks. Track 1 comprises two aspects. Track 1A consists of a greatly intensified effort to respond to and reduce the incidence of cholera in Haiti. The aim is to ensure that those who contract cholera receive prompt medical attention to prevent further deaths and to take measures to reduce the incidence of cholera in Haiti. Track 1B consists of mobilizing an international effort to improve water and sanitation systems in order to eliminate cholera in Haiti. Those steps, in addition to eliminating cholera in the long term, are essential to the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals in Haiti, especially Goal 6, to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

3. Track 2 consists of a package of material assistance and support for those Haitians most directly affected by cholera, centred on the victims and their families and communities. It represents a specific and tangible expression of the Organization’s recognition and acknowledgement of the suffering that the Haitian people have endured as a result of cholera. It is aimed at providing a meaningful response to the impact of cholera on individuals, families and communities.

4. On 1 December 2016, the former Secretary-General presented his report on the new approach to cholera in Haiti (A/71/620) to the General Assembly. He also apologized to the Haitian people on behalf of the United Nations. He stated that the Organization simply had not done enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti and that it was profoundly sorry for its role.

5. In its resolution 71/161, adopted on 16 December 2016, the General Assembly recognized that the United Nations had a moral responsibility to the victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, as well as to support Haiti in overcoming the epidemic and building sound water, sanitation and health systems. The Assembly welcomed the new approach and called upon all Member States, relevant United Nations bodies and other international governmental and non-governmental partners to provide their full support to the new approach, in particular to intensify their efforts to respond to and eliminate cholera and to address the suffering of its victims, including by providing material assistance and support to communities and those Haitians most directly affected by cholera.

6. The apology by the former Secretary-General on behalf of the United Nations generated considerable goodwill in Haiti. The United Nations must demonstrate its intention to implement the new approach or risk dissipating this goodwill.

7. As set out in the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (S/2017/223), the return to constitutional order and a continued period of political stability ahead in Haiti offer the opportunity for the country to move from economic fragility to sustainable growth and development, with significant assistance from the international community in support of national efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework for Haiti for the period 2017-2021.