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South Sudan: UN welcomes demobilization of child soldiers amid signs of peace

INTERNATIONAL – The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is celebrating the release of some 3,000 South Sudanese child soldiers on January 27 in what is being hailed as one of the largest ever demobilizations of children in a zone of conflict.

“These children have been forced to do and see things no child should ever experience,” UNICEF South Sudan Representative Jonathan Veitch stated in apress release. “The release of thousands of children requires a massive response to provide the support and protection these children need to begin rebuilding their lives.”

An initial group of 280 children – ranging from 11 to 17 years of age – were released by the South Sudan Democratic Army (SSDA) Cobra Faction at the village of Gumuruk in South Sudan's eastern Jonglei State. The release was marked by a ceremony overseen by UNICEF and the South Sudan National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission during which the child soldiers reportedly surrendered their weapons and uniforms. Further phased releases of the other children are planned over the coming month.

According to the UN agency, some of the child soldiers have been fighting for up to four years and many have never attended school. In the last year alone, 12,000 children, mostly boys, have been recruited and used as soldiers by armed forces and groups in South Sudan as a whole.

The security situation in South Sudan deteriorated steadily over the past year since political in-fighting between South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, started in mid-December 2013. The hostilities subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that has sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UNMISS bases around the country. The crisis has uprooted an estimated 1.9 million people and placed more than 7 million at risk of hunger and disease.

Nonetheless, a recent peace deal between the warring factions has fostered hope of a definitive end to the year-long conflict.

In its press release, UNICEF explained that it is currently working to trace and reunify the children with their families, a “daunting” task due to the more than 1 million children who have either been displaced internally or have fled to neighbouring countries since fighting broke out.

In the meantime, the UN agency is supporting the former child soldiers with basic health care and protection services and necessities such as food, water and clothing to help them get ready to return to their families. Moreover, counselling and other psychological support programmes are urgently being established as well as access to education and skills training programmes.

Mr. Veitch warned, however, that the successful application of such programmes demanded significant resources.

UNICEF, in fact, estimates the costs for the release and reintegration of each child at $2,330 for a two-year period. Although some funding has been forthcoming, the agency is appealing for an additional $10 million.

For her part, Leila Zerrougui, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, celebrated the demobilization, adding that the release of the child soldiers was “a step in the right direction.”

“Helping them take back their lives must be a priority,” she declared in a statement. “I call on the international community to provide sufficient resources to ensure they have access to the support that will help them heal and return to a peaceful life.”

South Sudan is one of seven countries highlighted in the UN's ongoing “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign which aims to end the recruitment and use of children by Government armed forces in conflict by the end of 2016. During the Special Representative's visit to South Sudan in June 2014, the Government recommitted to the full implementation of its action plan with the United Nations to end the recruitment and use of children in the Sudan People's Liberation Army. In May, Riek Machar, signed a commitment with the Special Representative to end all grave violations against children.

“Today's release of children is a step in the right direction, but we cannot forget that thousands more have been recruited by all parties to the conflict,” Ms. Zerrougui continued. “I urge the Government of South Sudan and the opposition led by Riek Machar to honor their commitments. The release of children in their ranks is long overdue.”

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World must 'wake up' to enormity of Central African Republic crisis, warns relief official

INTERNATIONAL – The top United Nations humanitarian official in the Central African Republic (CAR) is calling for increased protection of displaced communities in the northern town of Batangafo, where relief agencies are working hard to ease suffering as the country's ongoing conflict drives a steady stream of terrified people into the area seeking safety.

Senior Humanitarian Coordinator Claire Bourgeois visited Batangafo over the weekend to assess the increasing protection needs in the area caused by a continuous influx of newly displaced persons (IDP). There are now more than 30,000 IDPs in the main site of the city, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

After visiting the overcrowded displacement site in Batangafo – which daily receives hundreds of people driven from their homes by violence – Mrs. Bourgeois, in a press release today,stressedthe urgent need to restore State authority in the town.

While impressed by the way the humanitarian response is organized by the Danish Refugee Council and Médecins Sans Frontières Spain, and by the active role played by the Committee of Wise Men and the Transhumance Committee, she nevertheless emphasized that immediate action is needed to ensure the safety and protection of civilians who are at severe risk of attacks in the region, especially in the western area.

"This will stop the daily influx of hundreds of displaced people arriving at the site searching for safety; it will facilitate the return to their places of origins; and, at the same time, will enable humanitarian actors to reach people in need in areas where activities are now interrupted due to safety concerns,” Mrs. Bourgeois said.

Mrs. Bourgeois was accompanied on her visit by representatives of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, as well as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN refugee agency (UNHCR), World Health Organization (WHO), and other humanitarian partners.

The delegation met with the Committee of Wise Men, representatives of the Pheul community, non-governmental organizations and IDPs themselves in Batangafo, to discuss their basic needs and the challenges impeding their return to their places of origin.

OCHA notes that the most urgent needs identified were: improvement of the security and protection of civilians, and assistance to newly arrived displaced people. The mission participants called on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians and humanitarian workers in CAR.

“The world needs to wake up to the enormity of the crisis in CAR. This is one of the most serious humanitarian emergencies in the world. We urgently need more action and more commitment. Action to protect civilians must be the top priority for all actors,” Mrs. Bourgeois added.

Her strong call comes following the launch last Friday by UNHCR of its latest funding appeal to help more than 450,000 Central African Republic refugees struggling to survive across the region. The $331 million appeal presented seeks to provide safety, food, clean water, shelter, health and other basic services to people, which the agency expects will be seeking refuge in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Republic of the Congo by the end of the year.

More than two years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in the CAR amid continuing clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka alliance and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian CAR faces a humanitarian crisis of major proportions. Nearly a million people have been displaced and 2.7 million people, over half of the population, are in dire need of immediate assistance.

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World tourism tops 1.1 billion in 2014, contributing to global economic recovery

INTERNATIONAL – The number of international tourists reached 1.13 billion in 2014, 51 million more than in 2013, on trend for the fifth consecutive year of above average growth since the 2009 economic crisis, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced on January 27.

“Over the past years, tourism has proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity and a fundamental contributor to the economic recovery by generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of jobs,saidUNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai at the opening of the Spain Global Tourism Forum in Madrid.

He added: “This has been true for destinations all around the world, but particularly for Europe, as the region struggles to consolidate its way out of one of the worst economic periods in its history,”

According to the latest UNWTOfigures, the Americas (+7 per cent) and Asia and the Pacific (+5 per cent) regions registered the strongest growth, while Europe (+4 per cent), the Middle East (+4 per cent) and Africa (+2 per cent) grew at a slightly more modest pace.

By sub region, North America (+8 per cent) saw the best results, followed by North-East Asia, South Asia, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe and the Caribbean, all increasing by 7 per cent.

The outlook remains positive for 2015, as confirmed by the UNWTO Confidence Index. According to the 300 experts consulted worldwide, tourism performance is expected to improve this year, though expectations are less upbeat than a year ago. UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to grow up to 4 per cent this year. And by region, growth is expected to be stronger in Asia and the Pacific and the Americas, followed by Europe. Arrivals are also expected to increase in Africa and the Middle East.

“We expect demand to continue growing in 2015 as the global economic situation improves, even though there are still plenty of challenges ahead. On the positive side, oil prices have declined to a level not seen since 2009. This will lower transport costs and boost economic growth by lifting purchasing power and private demand in oil importing economies. Yet, it could also negatively impact some of the oil exporting countries which have emerged as strong tourism source markets,” added Mr Rifai.

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Human rights chief says world ‘haunted’ by suffering endured by millions during Holocaust

INTERNATIONAL – Ahead of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, taking place on January 27, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement to mark the “forever solemn day” when the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp was liberated.

Seventy years since the camp was liberated on 27 January 1945, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he bowed “both personally and as a representative of the United Nations” to every woman, man and child who was forced to endure terrible suffering at the hands of the Nazis.

“We continue to be haunted by the fate of the millions of Jewish men, women and children, as well as Roma, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war and other prisoners and deportees from all over Europe, people with disabilities, homosexuals, and dissidents, who suffered and were killed by this ghastly extermination machine,” Mr Zeid said. “The memory of well over a million Jewish children, and thousands of other children, who were put to death is particularly unbearable.”

In memory of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and the pain that many others have since endured, I believe that it is urgent for us all to strengthen our moral courage. We must resist discrimination of every kind so that all may live in liberty, with respect, equality and justice.

Underlining the fact that the UN Charter was shaped in response to the atrocities of the Holocaust and the Second World War, he said the document pursues a vision of “what the world should be”, where people are able to exercise their human rights in freedom, dignity and equality, in full accordance with international human rights law.

Nonetheless, he noted also that the “toxic influences” of discrimination and racial and ethnic hatred have not disappeared, while atrocities continue.

“Discrimination and hatred kill and wound thousands of people,” he said. “In memory of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and the pain that many others have since endured, I believe that it is urgent for us all to strengthen our moral courage. We must resist discrimination of every kind so that all may live in liberty, with respect, equality and justice.”

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In new development report, ‘string of successes’ spotlighted in Asia-Pacific region

INTERNATIONAL – The United Nations main development programme spotlighted January 26 its string of successes in 36 countries and territories in the Asia and Pacific region in the areas of poverty reduction, conservation of natural resources, democratic governance, and crisis resilience.

Launched by the UN Development Program (UNDP), the Asia-Pacific Regional ReportAchieving Development Results in Asia and the Pacifichighlights the accomplishments of programmes implemented in 2013 and 2014.

“The report documents the achievements of UNDP’s $2 billion delivery in the region during the past two years, focusing on key priority areas: innovative solutions to persistent development challenges and scaling up those solutions for greater impact,” UNDP Administrator’s Helen Clarksaidin a statement on January 26.

Innovative solutions go hand-in-hand with efforts to strengthen local level partnerships, UNDP says. An example of that is the Programme’s work with Baidu, China’s largest internet service provider, to develop a mobile application to encourage responsible recycling of electronic waste.

“UNDP will strengthen partnerships and ensure that we are fit for purpose to continue achieving high quality results in the region,” said Haoliang Xu, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

With its programmes, UNDP also assisted people in strengthening livelihoods. From the help of governments and development partners, more than five million people now have access to social protection in the region, half of them women. Additionally, UNDP supported three million urban poor women and men in Bangladesh to gain financial security through loan schemes.

This is critical because economic empowerment is closely linked to the creation of community housing development funds and the various models of land tenure security, ensuring people are secure and can invest in their homes, UNDP said.

On crisis resilience, UNDP supported debris removal efforts, helped to restore social service centres and rebuild infrastructure following Typhoon Haiyan, the biggest natural disaster to hit the region in the two years. Since then, UNDP has been working with local and national authorities to improve early warning systems. The Philippines Government’s impressive preparatory action meant that the death toll from Typhoon Hagupit was just 18 as opposed to the 6,000 casualties after Haiyan.

In the area of strengthening democratic governance, UNDP provided electoral assistance which led to 16.7 million new registered voters across the region. In Bhutan, where it can take up to a week for parliamentarians to visit voters in remote areas, constituents can now interact with their parliamentarians virtually. And in the Maldives, selected community members are testing a new scheme to use mobile phones or log on to a website to report problems with public service delivery.

“It’s a new way for citizens to communicate with policy makers. According to a global survey responsive government is a key priority for more than three million people in the region as the post-2015 development agenda is being formulated,” said Nicholas Rosellini, the Director of UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub.

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‘Vicious circles linking violence and hunger’ must end

INTERNATIONAL – Agriculture and food security must be treated as essential components of peacebuilding and conflict resolution, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said during a special meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission held at Headquarters on January 26.

“Food security is an important foundation for peace, political stability and sustainable development. In the history of humanity, time and time again we have seen vicious circles linking violence and hunger – and these are conflicts that are not restricted by national borders,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silvasaidto participants on January 26.

In addition to Mr. Graziano da Silva’s briefing, the meeting was also expected to hear opening remarks from the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, another briefing by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support as well as an interaction with Member States.

In his remarks, the FAO Director-General emphasized that food security can be used as “a conflict prevention and mitigation tool” for the advancement of peace and security. Policies and actions on food security can not only build resilience and resolve conflicts; they can help prevent them, too.

“We cannot just wait for an emergency to react. To achieve food security, we need to act before the crisis. We cannot prevent a drought from happening, but we can prevent it from becoming famine,” he added.

Hunger kills far more people than war or terrorism, he noted during his speech. For example, between 2004 and 2009, an estimated 55,000 people a year lost their lives as a direct result of conflict or terrorism, while in Somalia alone, between 2010 and 2012 over 250,000 died due to famine caused by severe drought, Mr. Graziano da Silva said.

Meanwhile, the impact of conflicts in rural areas can be devastating for crop production, livestock and harvests and often causes the destruction of farm assets and household capital.

And the impact of conflicts on food security often lasts long after the violence has subsided, Mr. Graziano da Silva said.

As agriculture continues to be the primary way of life for the majority of people in post-conflict countries, rehabilitation and revival of agriculture in those areas, therefore, becomes crucial to alleviating poverty and ensuring overall development.

The FAO Director-General emphasized that “partnerships are crucial,” spotlighting that now more than ever countries need to work together to overcome the multiple, interconnected challenges. It is in this spirit of collaboration that FAO has been able to successfully carry out projects across the globe.

Additionally, with the crafting of new global sustainable development goals (SDGs) underway, “improved knowledge and understanding of the possible interplays between food security and human security will help shape more effective interventions and contribute to more lasting results,” Mr. Graziano da Silva said.

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UN Women launches next phase in ‘HeForShe’ campaign at Davos Forum

INTERNATIONAL – At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 23, UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to achieving women’s empowerment and gender equality, unveiled a new initiative to galvanize the support of global leaders to bring an end to the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls around the world.

At a press conference in the Swiss city, UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, who launched theHeForShecampaign in September, said this next phase,HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10, will focus on engaging governments, businesses and universities to make concrete commitments to advance women’s empowerment.

“Women share this planet 50/50 and they are underrepresented, their potential astonishingly untapped. We are very excited to be launching IMPACT 10x10x10 to bring the HeForShe into the next phase,”saidMs. Watson alongside UNSecretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, as well as several political and business leaders.

In the months following the kick-off of the initiative in September, several Heads of State, along with celebrities and thousands of men from around the world have committed to be champions for the HeForShe campaign. Ms. Watson said: “Everyone from Desmond Tutu to Prince Harry to Hillary Clinton and Yoko Ono has issued their support.”

Best known for playing the leading role of ‘Hermione Granger’ inHarry Pottersaga, Ms. Watson said: “I’ve had my breath taken away when a fan told me that since watching myspeech[in September] she has stopped herself being beaten up by her father. I’ve been stunned by the number of men in my life that have contacted me since my speech to tell me to keep going and that they want to make sure their daughter will still be alive in a world where women have parity, economically and politically.”

To date, more than 200,000 men and boys have signed their commitment to gender equality. HeForShe has reached more than 1.2 billion people on social media. But more can be done.

“Decide what your commitment is, make it public, and then please report back to us on your progress so that we can share you story. We want to support, guide and reinforce your efforts. Impact 10x10x10 is about concrete commitments to change, the visibility of these commitments and the measurability of them too,” declared Ms. Watson.

Joining Ms. Watson at the press conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “HeForShe has signed up fathers who want to raise empowered daughters; leaders who know their societies will be stronger when there are as many women in parliament and in business as men; and ordinary people who are fed up with violence and discrimination against women – and want to be part of a global force for change.”

Underling the alliances the campaign is building, Mr. Ban said that the partnership involves individuals and corporations, government leaders and activists, celebrities and global citizens.

“Ultimately we need everyone to get involved if we are to turn the tide,” said UN Women Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“The HeForShe IMPACT Initiative puts responsibility for change right where it matters- and spotlights leaders who can make it happen. The founding Champions from industry and Government will pave the way for others to join in, using the pilot initiatives to streamline decision-making on relevant and successful activities,” the Executive Director said.

The World Economic Forum’sGlobal Gender Gap Report 2014highlights a large current gap between men and women in terms of political engagement and opportunity and little improvement in equality for women in the workplace since 2006. Universities join the impact trio because youth engagement represents one of the greatest opportunities for accelerating progress toward the achievement of gender equality, and ending violence against women.

At the launch, global leaders who will serve as IMPACT 10X10X10 founding Champions were announced. They will steer the initiative and lead in mobilizing their communities and include: Prime Minister of the Netherlands; President of Sierra Leone; Prime Minister of Sweden; CEO and Chairman of Unilever; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tupperware Brands Corporation; Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. JPMorgan Chase is also a Title Sponsor of the HeForShe campaign.

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Central Africa: UN agency delivers food to thousands of refugees on Nigeria-Chad border

INTERNATIONAL – With a “tense and highly volatile” situation in North-Eastern Nigeria at the Chadian Lac border, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it has begun distributing food to thousands of refugees who have recently been displaced by the region’s escalating violence and urged that it required some $11 million to continue to meet those needs.

Distribution of 159 tons of WFP rations started on January 23 in the border region in Baga Sola, and the agency is planning a first round of distributions for 10 days to more than 7,800 refugees from Ngouboua in Nigeria, of whom 4,103 are new arrivals, WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told reporters at a press conference in Geneva.

The situation in the Central Africa region has been deteriorating in recent months. Just last weekend, Boko Haram insurgents pillaged villages and abducted some 80 people in Cameroon in one of the group's biggest kidnappings to take place outside of Nigeria. This sparked fears through-out region that the insurgents were gaining ground and expanding their attacks.

On Monday, Chad’s Government said it would deploy troops to Cameroon to help fight the armed group and keep the violence from spreading to other countries.

WFP was able to able to respond to the first wave of 6,250 refugees within 48 hours of their arrival, with an emergency ration of two days, Ms. Byrs said. There are currently more than 13,000 refugees in North-Eastern Nigeria at the Lake Chad border, according to the latest statistics from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Ms. Byrs today expressed concern over the impact this refugee migration will have host communities. Prior to the crisis, the November 2014 emergency food security assessment showed that areas within the Lac Region were food insecure. At that time, 32 per cent of the population was found to be food insecure while the global acute malnutrition rates were above 15 per cent, above the World Health Organization (WHO) 'critical' threshold.

There has also been an impact on trade flow. Chad had previously exported cattle to Nigeria through the Lac Region and most of this trade had been recently affected by the crisis. The income of livestock keepers in the region has also been affected. Maize farmers who exported their grains to Nigeria are affected as well. The decrease of trade also has had a negative impact on Kanem and Bar El Ghazal‘s regions, which had the highest level of food insecurity in Chad.

She added that many of the refugees were currently located in several hard to reach small islands on Lake Chad. In the coming weeks, the Government and humanitarian partners plan to relocate them on a voluntary basis to areas where they can be reached.

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Haiti: UN, international partners hail formation of Government, urge 'credible' elections

CARIBBEAN – The United Nations and its international partners have welcomed the formation of a new Government in Haiti one week after the country's Parliament became “dysfunctional” due to its failure to hold elections within its constitutional framework.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative in Haiti, Sandra Honoré, and other members of the international community represented in the “Core Group” – comprising the Ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, United States, and the European Union, as well as the Special Representative of the Organization of American States – today welcomed the installation of Prime Minister Evans Paul, the formation of the Government, as well as the establishment of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

In a press release, Ms. Honoré and the “Core Group” encouraged the new Government to create “the political and security conditions necessary to guarantee the organization of fair, credible and inclusive elections” and said that the Group's members were “pleased” that the newly established CEP could pursue its activities in “full independence, with a view to guaranteeing the transparency and impartiality of the electoral process.”

In addition, the press release added, the “Core Group” continued to support the efforts of all stakeholders “to reinforce stability, consolidate democracy and restore the functioning of the country's institutions.”

Five years ago, on 12 January 2010 a devastating earthquake struck Haiti killing more than more than 220,000 people as well as 102 UN staff, delivering a major blow to country's already shaky economy, infrastructure and political landscape.

As a result, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti's (MINUSTAH) mandate was immediately increased to help the country's recovery, reconstruction and stability efforts. The Security Council subsequently requested MINUSTAH to further provide logistical support and technical expertise to assist Haiti's Government to continue operations to build the capacity of its rule of law institutions at the national and local level.

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Ebola: UN health agency urges better global preparedness against future outbreaks

INTERNATIONAL – The Ebola outbreak is “clearly” in retreat throughout the affected countries of West Africa but the continuing emergency response shows the need for urgent changes so that “never again should the world be caught by surprise,” the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told a special meeting Sunday, January 25.

Speaking in Geneva to the UN agency's Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola, WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan,emphasizedthe importance of maintaining momentum in the fight against the deadly virus and guarding against complacency while also delineating a set of recommendations for future large-scale and sustained outbreaks and emergencies.

“The Ebola outbreak points to the need for urgent change in three main areas,” Dr. Chan told those gathered. “To rebuild and strengthen national and international emergency preparedness and response, to address the way new medical products are brought to market, and to strengthen the way WHO operates during emergencies.”

Above all, she said, the Ebola outbreak had revealed “some inadequacies and shortcomings” in the WHO's administrative, managerial, and technical infrastructures, including the need for “a dedicated contingency fund” to support rapid responses to outbreaks and emergencies; “streamlined recruitment procedures” in order to increase the agency's personnel base; the application of a “one WHO” approach in which all levels of the agency use “the same standard operating procedures, tools, and frameworks for risk assessment, monitoring, and accountability during emergencies” and need to enhance crisis management and field experience during emergencies in WHO country offices.

Echoing these points, UN Special Envoy for Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, conveyed a message from UN Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon reinforcing the call to draw lessons from this outbreak for the future. In addition, he urged Member States to ensure that the WHO has the resources it needs to end Ebola transmission and build structures for future pandemics.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chan celebrated the international community's ongoing efforts to stamp out the virus in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone but warned that reaching zero cases in the three affected countries was “not going to be easy.”

The United Nations has, in fact, launched an appeal for the $1 billion needed for the first six months of 2015 in order to sustain the momentum in combatting the disease. Nearly 22,000 people have been affected by the disease with more than 8,600 deaths.

The WHO head noted, however, that despite the devastation left in its wake, the 2014 Ebola crisis also presented “an opportunity to build a stronger system to defend our collective global health security,” adding that health systems around the world need adequate numbers of well-trained and appropriately paid health care workers.

“This is one of the biggest lessons the world learned last year,” she continued. “Well-functioning health systems are not a luxury. Well-functioning health systems are the cushion that keeps sudden shocks from reverberating throughout the fabric that holds societies together, ripping them apart.”

“The volatile microbial world will always deliver surprises,” Dr. Chan concluded. “Never again should the world be caught by surprise, unprepared.”

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