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UNDP-led mission marks shift to recovery in Ebola affected West Africa

UNDP-led mission marks shift to recovery in Ebola affected West Africa

New York, 20 January 2015 – A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-led mission to pinpoint critical areas of support needed to help the nations most affected by Ebola start their recoveries concluded on Tuesday in Sierra Leone.

While the main aim for the governments of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and the international community remains ending the epidemic, the mission marks the start of a shift towards recovery and longer term support as case numbers and deaths drop across the region.

Stain Nkwain, UNDP’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy, led the week-long Ebola Response Assessment Mission. He said that the drop in case numbers is a direct result of the determination of the regions governments and the international community.

“It’s time to start thinking about recovery for survivors, for affected communities and for those communities where the disease is under control so the livelihoods can start up again,” Nkwain said.

Representatives of the UNDP, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Union and UN agencies met with key stake holders in the three countries to identify the gaps, needs and areas of work that will to be addressed in the transition between crisis and recovery.

The mission identified four key areas of work: health and water sanitation, infrastructure and basic services, socio-economic recovery, and peacebuilding.

Each country faces unique challenges, but the crisis has exposed some common weaknesses, particularly in the health sector.

“We want to come out of Ebola with a stronger, more resilient health system,” said Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia. She said her Government’s 10-year plan for the health system now needs to be completely revised.

The same is true for Sierra Leone, where the mission’s results will inform a two-year recovery plan for the health sector and the country’s wider recovery efforts with an aim to “build back better”.

David McLachlan-Karr, UNDP Sierra Leone’s Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, acknowledged the need for all involved in development to follow the governments lead in supporting the recovery.

“The process must be anchored in the national agenda” said McLachlan-Karr. “We have experienced an unprecedented shock, but we are committed to helping the government get back on the development track.”

Eloi Kouadio IV, UNDP’s Country Director in Guinea, highlighted how smooth, shared working arrangements between all involved in the fight against Ebola had led to better results in Guinea.

“It is this type of combined effort that is essential to identify gaps and understand why they exist in order to strengthen our collective response” he said.

UNDP has been tasked by the UN Secretary-General to lead the UN response on Ebola recovery. The organization has been coordinating the early recovery response in the three most affected countries, collaborating with partners within and outside the UN to conduct impact and recovery assessments, and helping to ensure their efforts are mutually reinforcing.

UNDP has also launched its own recovery programmes, focused on four pillars: revitalizing economies and jobs, helping the health sector to recover, strengthening the institutions that promote peace and stability, and reducing poverty and environmental degradation, which exacerbated the crisis.


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