New Zealand statement Delivered by Carolyn Schwalger Deputy Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 11 October 2016.

We have been following with heavy hearts the reports of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew in the Republic of Haiti.

We extend our deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones, suffered injury, had property damaged or livelihoods disrupted.

There is no doubt that the hurricane has greatly exacerbated Haiti’s humanitarian situation, which was already challenged by severe drought and the cholera epidemic.   Food, shelter and medical care are required urgently. Longer term, Haiti will need support in rebuilding damaged infrastructure and containing the spread of diseases.

Our thoughts are with the people of Haiti in these difficult days.

It is unfortunate that Haiti was forced to postpone last week’s first round of elections in the wake of the hurricane. This is yet another setback for a country which is in dire need of political certainty and stability following the failure of the electoral process earlier this year.

The Secretary-General’s report makes clear the impact that the political uncertainty in Haiti continues to have on its development towards a stable and prosperous future.  Progress towards consolidating the rule of law has been slow.

We urge all Haitian political actors to do everything in their power to ensure that the electoral process commences as soon as is feasible, in stable conditions and without violence. We also call on all relevant actors to spare no effort to ensure these elections are free, fair, inclusive and transparent.

The capacity of the Haitian National Police continues to improve, and we commend its determination to provide for the safety and security of the Haitian people. But there is still work to be done before it will be operationally independent. Progress in this area is vital for MINUSTAH’s eventual reconfiguration.

Against this background, MINUSTAH continues to play an important role. New Zealand appreciates the work of the Special Representative and of MINUSTAH contributing countries in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and in supporting Haiti more generally.  We welcome the renewal of MINUSTAH’s mandate for six months. 

However, we all recognise that MINUSTAH cannot stay forever and that it needs to evolve as the situation on the ground allows. It is important that we lay the foundations now for that to happen smoothly and responsibly.   We are reassured that MINUSTAH and the UN Country Team are continuing preparations for the Mission’s transition through the development of a transition plan.

We also support the Secretary-General’s call for a Strategic Assessment Mission to be undertaken by the end of MINUSTAH’s next mandate period. 

For MINUSTAH’s transition to be successful, it must have genuine national ownership. Its implementation will be the responsibility of the Government that emerges from the forthcoming electoral process. We therefore hope that the strategic assessment will be completed after a new Government is in place, and that it will adequately reflect its views and priorities. This adds further urgency to the need to ensure a duly elected and legitimate President is inaugurated early in 2017.    

In any event, we urge the UN to do all it can to engage relevant Haitian stakeholders when assessing the UN’s future presence in Haiti.

We regret the impact cholera continues to have on the people of Haiti. The UN has a responsibility to help address and end the outbreak, and to provide appropriate support to victims of cholera. 

We thank the Secretary-General for his efforts to improve the UN’s response to the cholera crisis and look forward to the UN’s new approach having a direct and positive impact.

Haiti is once again at a critical point on its path to restoring an inclusive and representative democracy.

We hope that in the coming months Haiti will recover well from Hurricane Matthew and complete a peaceful political transition.

We also hope this Council will remain united in supporting Haiti through this critical period.