Council conclusions on Ebola
1. The Council endorses the Statement of the Co-chairs of the Ebola - "From Emergency to Recovery" Brussels Conference of 3 March 2015. Recalling its conclusions from October and November 2014 and recognising the leading role played by the European Union (EU) and its Member States as prime donors in the international community's crisis response, the Council reiterates its firm commitment to ending the Ebola epidemic by getting down to zero and sustaining zero cases through continued and appropriate emergency aid and support to recovery plans. It renews the tribute paid to the heroism and sacrifice of all those national and international responders who have helped tackle the epidemic on the ground and recognises the contribution made by EU diplomatic missions in the affected countries.
2. The Council underlines the importance of disbursing the remaining emergency and recovery funding pledged to date in a timely and coordinated fashion and in particular to cover an immediate US$400 million funding gap for the actions of the United Nations (UN) agencies and the additional support required for early recovery priorities and regional preparedness. The Council invites the Commission and the Member States to contribute towards these requirements, including through the rapid disbursement of the remainder of the €1.3 billion pledged by the EU and its Member States but not yet fully committed. It also calls for continued cooperation and coordination among actors involved in the ongoing response and recovery to ensure optimal and efficient use of resources.
3. The Council notes the upcoming World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings, the follow-up of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board Special Session on Ebola to be discussed at the upcoming WHO Assembly, the UN Secretary General-hosted meeting in May and the upcoming African Union (AU) meeting foreseen in June. The EU and its Member States, in close cooperation with the affected countries will continue to contribute towards the priorities for longer term recovery. This should include the rebuilding of sustainable social and healthcare systems, also in order to restore the confidence of the populations, as well as peacebuilding and state building. The UN Peacebuilding Commission and the New Deal will continue to provide important platforms for international coordination and for developing a coherent strategy linking development, security and political aspects, including the post-Ebola recovery.
4. The Council underlines the importance of the Co-chairs' commitments to improve local and national governance, transparency and accountability, to provide for more inclusive and effective results in service delivery for citizens, including access for all to health and education, and to address the particular burden placed on women and girls as a result of the crisis.
5. The Council notes the lessons learnt and the commitment of Co-chairs and partners to strengthen local, national, regional and global preparedness, including disease surveillance and disaster early warning mechanisms, in order to prevent, detect and contain future outbreaks. The Council recalls its invitation to the Commission, together with the Member States, to explore the establishment of a reserve pool of health experts on a voluntary basis for rapid and targeted deployment, through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. International efforts, in cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry, to boost research and development with the aim of developing and approving vaccines, treatments and rapid tests should continue.
6. The Council notes the scope for the EU and its Member States to keep playing a leading role in supporting co-operation in the affected region to end Ebola and ensure it does not resurge, including through the Mano River Union, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN system, in particular the WHO. The Council invites the EU Ebola coordinator to continue to work with the European External Action Service and the Commission services, together with Member States, to explore options in this regard.