Staff at the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) are at the forefront of a new kind of UN operation – one that leverages the UN system capacities and expertise in innovative ways to respond to the uniqueness of this crisis – and the Organization can increasingly expect to have more of these kinds of UN operations in the future as the nature of global responses are reshaped to meet the complex challenges of this century.
That was one of the messages from the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, in a town hall meeting held with UNMEER staff in Ghana, on Friday. So far, some 96 staff members from throughout the UN system have been deployed at short notice to the countries affected by Ebola – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – as well as in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, where UNMEER is headquartered.
"We are breaking new ground with this Mission," Ms. Malcorra said at the town hall. "We are breaking new ground on how to operate and making the 'one UN' concept a reality on the ground."
She noted that the UN system has to be smarter and more flexible than ever before, but, if UNMEER is able to deliver, it will prove the Secretary-General's vision that the UN system stands as a vital tool to garner action and provide a response to those who are most vulnerable in the world.
But the UN cannot do this alone, she added. The scale of the work to be undertaken requires all parts of the system to deliver in partnership with host governments, member states and civil society.
"UNMEER must prove how effective this new model can be," she said.
The Chef de Cabinet concluded by thanking UNMEER staff for their dedication and told them how proud the Secretary-General was of their work, of their dedication and their camaraderie. She stressed that UNMEER staff members have the expertise, the passion, the judgment and the commitment to meet this challenge and provide an effective response.
"In less than one month since the Secretary-General established UNMEER, we have deployed over 90 staff from WHO, WFP, UNICEF, OCHA, UNDP, DFS, DPA, DPKO, DPI, DSS, the EOSG, at lease eight field missions, as well as others, including staff from the US Centers for Disease Control and soon an expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control," the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of UNMEER, Tony Banbury, said at the town hall meeting.
During her visit to Ghana, the Chef de Cabinet, along with the World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, World Food Programme Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, and the Special Representative and head of UNMEER, Tony Banbury, also met with the President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama.
Background on UNMEER
The first-ever UN emergency health mission and UN system-wide mission, UNMEER was set up to accelerate support to the countries and people most affected by the Ebola crisis. The Mission will be temporary and will focus on crisis management.
UNMEER is providing the operational framework and unity of purpose to ensure the rapid, effective and coherent action necessary to bring the crisis to a close as soon as possible.
Learn more about the Global Ebola Response at: www.un.org/ebolaresponse
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