Mr. B. Z. Lolo
Minister, Security Council
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
20th January, 2011
Let me join others who have spoken before me in thanking Mr. Alain Le Roy and Ms. Valerie Amos for their very useful briefings.
We are pleased that our meeting today to mark the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010 has not ignored the overall challenges that still exist in the country, which have been made worse by the outbreak of the cholera epidemic. The earthquake and the epidemic have resulted in the deaths of more than 203,000 people, including United Nations personnel, and has rolled back many years of development gains achieved in the areas of infrastructure, health, shelter and education in Haiti, the poorest and least developed country in the western hemisphere, as Ms. Amos reminded us this morning.
I would like to convey Nigeria’s gratitude to all those who responded positively and stood shoulder to shoulder with the Government and people of Haiti in their darkest hour of need. The generosity of the international community in providing assistance for relief, recovery and reconstruction in the aftermath of the tragedy has no doubt made a tremendous difference in Haiti. Nigeria was among the many contributors that provided assistance in cash and in kind. Our assistance to Haiti in the past year exceeded $10 million, including cash and relief materials. I should note also that, under a bilateral agreement, Nigerian Technical Aid Corps volunteers had been providing assistance in Haiti in diverse fields for several years prior to the earthquake.
The role of the United Nations — in particular that of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) — in leading the international efforts in Haiti is most commendable. Nigeria is pleased that its police contingent is part of MINUSTAH, which has continued to carry out its mandate with distinction under very trying circumstances. May I therefore salute the courage, dedication and sacrifice of the gallant men and women of MINUSTAH, led by Mr. Edmond Mulet, as well as of all humanitarian workers in Haiti.
Much remains to be done to restore Haiti to its pre-earthquake state. As we have been reminded, 800,000 Haitians still live in makeshift camps. Other challenges include malnutrition, poor sanitation and weak health systems and basic services. In the face of those challenges, the international community must not take its focus from Haiti. We must continue in our bilateral and multilateral efforts to assist Haiti to grow better and faster from the devastating effects of the earthquake and the cholera epidemic. It is our hope that donors will not only fulfill outstanding pledges but also respond favourably to OCHA’s 2011 consolidated appeal for $906 million to address the humanitarian needs in Haiti. We urge the United Nations to continue to enhance its coordination efforts with other humanitarian actors.
The political uncertainty in Haiti is a matter of serious concern. We recognize the important role and contribution that the Organization of American States (OAS) can make in helping to resolve the ongoing electoral crisis in Haiti. We encourage the Provisional Electoral Commission to take into account the report submitted by the OAS verification mission in determining the candidates for the run-off election. In that connection, we call on the Provisional Electoral Council and all of Haiti’s political leaders to fully respect the will of the people and refrain from any action that will derail or undermine Haiti’s march towards democracy and legitimate governance. There is an urgent need for a date and candidates to be announced for the run-off elections. The longer it takes to resolve the political crisis, the longer Haiti will remain mired in its myriad problems.
Nigeria hopes that Haiti’s leaders, past and present, will see the need to put the interests of their people above personal and partisan interests in order to move their country forward, with the international community providing continuous support and encouragement