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Secretary-General, at World Bank Ebola Event, Calls for Sustained Assistance to ‘Devastated’ Countries

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Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Special High-Level Event on Ebola at the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C., today:

The Ebola epidemic remains a pressing challenge. Too many lives have been lost. Families, communities and nations have been devastated. Yet, over recent months, we have seen important progress. The Presidents and Governments of the affected countries have shown leadership and resolve. Communities have adopted safe and dignified methods of caring for the sick and burying the dead. And we have seen multilateralism at its best.

I thank the many Governments, local and international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and, in particular, the brave doctors and nurses working on the front lines. As a result, we have seen a significant decline in new Ebola cases. Liberia has only recorded one case in the past two months. The outbreak has shrunk considerably to a narrow belt along coastal Guinea and Sierra Leone. Our marathon effort has been a success.

But the last mile may be the most difficult. We must strengthen surveillance, contact tracing and community engagement. And when we reach zero cases, we must maintain our response capacity for at least a year. To avoid having to face such an emergency again, I have established a High-Level Panel on Lessons Learned, chaired by President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.

As we look forward, I call on the international community to support the recovery and peacebuilding efforts of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These efforts must also recognize the fragility of these countries’ transitions from past conflicts and instability to sustainable peace and development.

To generate the required resources, I am convening a high-level international conference in July, in New York. We must ensure that women, men and children have safe and affordable access to clinics, hospitals and schools. People need jobs and access to markets. Affected communities, the bereaved and orphans need support. People’s faith in their Governments’ ability to protect and serve them must be reinforced.

These are our building blocks to repair the fabric of communities, economies and societies torn apart by this terrible disease. I thank you and look forward to a productive discussion.

For information media. Not an official record.