The "Ebola: from emergency to recovery" conference took place in Brussels yesterday under the organization and patronage of the European Union. While international efforts have reduced the number of Ebola infections in recent months, it is critical to maintain the momentum to prevent a sharp increase in new cases.
The conference yesterday was aimed at sustaining international mobilization and planning the next steps in the fight both against the current outbreak and the Ebola virus in general.
The Ebola conference is co-chaired by the European Union, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the Presidents of Guinea and Sierra Leone. Also participating are the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). All the key international players were engaged in targeting the actions needed now to bring the number of Ebola infections to zero – and the measures to help the affected countries recover from the severe blow that the epidemic has dealt their people and economies.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said: "Tо end Ebola and ensure sustainable development in the affected region is the best way to honour the memory of the victims. I would also like to pay tribute to all those who have been involved in the outbreak response with expertise, dedication and courage.
“Together with our Member States, we have mobilized more than €1.2 billion for the fight against this disease. And we will continue to help until we win the battle against Ebola".
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini added: "Ebola is a challenge that we must continue to tackle collectively, quickly and for the long term, also to help make sure that no other epidemic will have such a devastating impact in the future.
“Today is the time to do so: we have the opportunity and the responsibility to be effective in our development aid, to promote good governance and invigorate regional cooperation. With its political, diplomatic, humanitarian and financial tools, the EU is part of the solution and a partner".
The conference reviewed progress and outlined concrete steps to: Ensure funds already pledged are made available and maintain international support (medical teams, laboratories, epidemiologists, research efforts and other resources) until there are no more cases of Ebola; make the response more mobile and flexible; promote regional cooperation; assist countries in West Africa to work on prevention, containment and preparedness – to help secure that no other epidemic will have such devastating impact in future and build resilient health systems in the affected countries with enhanced infection control; capacities to adhere to International Health Regulations and reviewed improved governance and accountability in the affected countries
Priority areas for recovery include resuming and improving basic services (health, education, water, sanitation) and the need to return to sustainable economic development. At the conference, the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone presented their assessments and plans for national recovery.