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H.E. Secretary General


Ladies and Gentlemen

In his latest report assessing the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa and the response by the international community and the United Nations Emergency Mission in particular, the Secretary General highlights the overall significant decline in the number of new cases of Ebola in the three most affected countries, stressing however that setbacks can quickly follow apparent gains. There is the need for constant vigilance to ensure that this promising decline is not reversed and is sustained in the upcoming months.

Yet, we are witnessing this decline! And it speaks volumes of the results international cooperation can achieve in facing transnational threats such as Ebola. It is a huge collective effort we must continue with resolve and determination until we meet the “zero case target”. One new case of contagion is one too much; one new case is one too dangerous.

In assessing the overall decline, our gratitude goes first and foremost to the health workers on the ground. They are the heroes, our heroes, and towards them we have a moral obligation to ensure they work in the safest possible conditions and that the fight against Ebola continue to remain high on the international agenda and receive the funding it needs. The role of local political leadership is also essential in bringing the epidemic under control and hitting the zero target.

Italy will continue to remain highly committed to this common endeavor and will continue to contribute to the multilateral effort required to “getting to zero”. We are doing so with a comprehensive approach encompassing public funding, the role of private hospitals, the work on the ground of several NGOs including Emergency and its presence on the ground which is contributing to the achievement of our common target.

As we move towards the zero target, we must also start paving the road from emergency towards recovery, addressing the economic and social setbacks the epidemic has created in the affected countries and improving preparedness and prevention mechanisms in order to avert new crises. We must take stock of the lessons learned both at national and international level to improve early warning and early response mechanisms, focusing on the need to rethink healthcare systems and assist the affected countries in their needs.

In this context, I wish to conclude by recalling the high level meeting the European Commission is organizing tomorrow in Brussels to consider the additional actions required to end the epidemic and to discuss a set of principles to guide the recovery of the three affected countries.

Thank you.