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Migiro urges UN system to hasten recovery efforts in Haiti while world remains focused

By UN

17 February - Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today implored United Nations agencies and offices to move swiftly and in concert to support reconstruction efforts in earthquake-devastated Haiti.

“Haitians have proven their great resilience many times; tragically, they are being called on to prove it once again,” Ms. Migiro told a UN regional coordination meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The UN system must bring all its strengths together to 'deliver as one' in common cause with other stakeholders in Haiti,” she said at the gathering in Mexico City.

Ms. Migiro underscored the need for a swift response to help Haiti take advantage of the international spotlight in the aftermath of the quake that rocked the country on 12 January, killing an estimated 200,000 people, leaving another 2 million dependent on aid and reducing much of the infrastructure in the capital, Port-au-Prince, to rubble.

There are also more than 1.2 million people are living in spontaneous settlements with seasonal storms looming on the horizon.

“We must ensure that Haiti's people are provided with adequate resources to weather the coming rainy season, while at the same time laying the foundations for long-term sustainable development,” stressed Ms. Migiro.

Her address covered a wide range of regional priorities, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of internationally agreed targets to eradicate poverty and hunger along with other social ills by 2015.

At the last gathering of this forum, she said the impact of the 2008 global financial meltdown was still unclear. “Now, we have a better idea of the fallout.”

The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates that the crisis “has brought poverty reduction to a halt across the region. More worryingly, the numbers of extreme poor have increased,” warned Ms. Migiro.

She noted that signs of recovery are emerging around the region, “but very high rates of growth will be required to rebuild all that has been lost. With only five years left to the MDG deadline in 2015, we must do everything possible to help countries regain their momentum.”

During her visit to Mexico this week, the Deputy Secretary-General will also hold bilateral talks with the country's Secretary of Environment and National Resources Juan Rafael Elvira and ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena.