Shift to Ebola recovery marked by UNDP-led mission

Jan 20, 2015

AFTER BEING CLOSED FOR THREE MONTHS, SCHOOLS IN GUINEA REOPENED ON JANUARY 19TH. THE REGION IS STARTING TO LOOK to POST-EBOLA RECOVERY. PHOTO: unMEER/MARTINE PERRET

New York - A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-led mission to pinpoint support needed for the countries hardest-hit by Ebola to kick start their recovery from the epidemic wrapped up in Sierra Leone today.

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 longer term support, as case numbers and deaths drop.

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 region's 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 from UNDP, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Union and UN agencies met with key stakeholders 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: 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.

Contact information

Nicolas Douillet, Communications Specialist, UNDP Africa. Tel: +1.212.906.5937. Nicolas.douillet@undp.org

Lesley Wright, Communications Specialist, UNDP Sierra Leone, Tel: +232(0)78 950 001 lesley.wright@undp.org

Carly Learson, Communications Specialist, UNDP Liberia  Tel: +231-0770003918 carly.learson@undp.org  

Anne Kennedy, Communications Specialist, UNDP Guinea, Tel: +224 628334813 anne.kennedy@undp.org


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