On December 1, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly met for a session in which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon explained the UN’s new plan to eliminate cholera in Haiti and possibly compensate the victims. During his remarks, Ban also apologized to Haitians for the first time in six years, and admitted that the UN should have done more. Below is the statement from Trinidad and Tobago’s representative, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
December 1, 2016
Remarks by Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of CARICOM at the Informal Briefing of the General Assembly by the Secretary-General on the United Nations’ New Approach to Cholera in Haiti
I take the floor on behalf of the fourteen Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). CARICOM wishes to thank the Secretary-General for his briefing to the membership on the “New Approach to Cholera in Haiti” and we welcome his Report on the matter which outlines the Organization’s intention to intensify efforts to eliminate cholera from Haiti and to assist and support those most directly affected.
We are encouraged by the words in the Report of the Secretary-General which states that, “The new approach represents an act of good faith and a true effort to concretely demonstrate deep regret for the suffering of Haitians as a result of the cholera epidemic”.
Notwithstanding the suffering of the Haitian people due to the arrival of cholera in 2010, we speak of a nation that has demonstrated to the international community, the art of resilience.
Haiti is still standing even after it has been assaulted by unprecedented disasters.
CARICOM considers it noteworthy that the United Nations’ New Approach to Cholera in Haiti has been officially introduced to the international community a few days after the successful Presidential elections in Haiti (November 20, 2016). We are optimistic that the installation of the new government will contribute to a stable political environment, which will be essential for effective collaboration between the United Nations and the Government and people of Haiti in achieving the total elimination of cholera.
Through the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, this Assembly committed to “Leaving No One Behind”.
This mantra supports CARICOM’s view that the steps taken by the United Nations to put an end to this unresolved crisis should be people-centered. The commitment to include the victims, their families and communities in developing a response package is particularly promising. The extent to which the victims of the cholera epidemic are engaged in the process will determine the success of the New Approach; and equally as important is the extent of the collaboration with the Haitian civil society, NGOs and community leaders.
Additionally Mr. President,
CARICOM encourages robust investment in cholera management and elimination efforts in Haiti in the forms of full investment in public water, sanitation and other health systems. We therefore welcome the establishment of the United Nations Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund and urge all stakeholders to contribute toward this important initiative.
We underscore the crucial importance of funding in order to advance and sustain the New Approach outlined in the Secretary-General’s Report.
Finally Mr. President,
CARICOM advocated that just compensation must be rendered to the victims who have suffered great losses as a consequence of the cholera epidemic. We therefore look forward to the operationalization of Track Two of the New Approach which speaks to the package of material assistance and support to the victims at the community level and the individual level.
CARICOM stands in solidarity with its sister State, Haiti. We remain fully committed to working with the international community in ensuring a practical, measurable and time-bound resolution to the unresolved dilemma.
We once again thank the Secretary-General for his valuable initiative in this regard.