Readout of President Clinton's meeting with UN Agency Heads
NEW YORK, 4 March 2010 – President Bill Clinton, the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, today convened a meeting with the heads of United Nations agencies to discuss Haiti.
President Clinton noted that the international response has had positive impacts, but given the magnitude of January's earthquake, recognized that there is still much that needs to be done - particularly regarding the provision of shelter and sanitation, the development of a hurricane-proof safehouse in each temporary camp, and the need to strengthen agriculture for this planting season. He also stressed the importance of sourcing as much as possible from Haitian farmers and suppliers, and involving civil society in the relief efforts to the greatest extent possible in both the short- and long-term relief efforts. The meeting also emphasized the importance of providing lighting and personnel to enhance security in camps.
In light of the upcoming hurricane season, he also urged the removal of rubble in areas in which houses can be repaired, in order to assist the return of Haitians to their homes.
Participants included Edmond Mulet, the Special Representative of the Secretary General to Haiti; Alain Le Roy, Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF; Jacques Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization; John Holmes, Under Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief; Margareta Walhstom, International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Amir Abdulla, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, World Food Programme, and Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA.
Today's meeting builds on President Clinton's long-standing efforts on Haiti. In September 2008, following the four storms and hurricanes that badly damaged Haiti, President Clinton called on the members of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to respond, generating $100 million in commitments. In May 2009, building on President Clinton's long-standing commitment to the people of Haiti, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Haitian President René Préval asked him to become the UN Special Envoy for Haiti. In this role, he has worked with UN agencies, NGOs, government and multilateral donors, the international business community, the Haitian Diaspora around the world, and the Haitian people to help implement the Haitian government's plan to develop a more modern economy and secure future.
After the earthquake in January 2010, President Clinton was asked by the UN to provide strategic guidance to the UN's involvement at the international level in Haiti's recovery and reconstruction efforts. In this role President Clinton represents the UN at the highest levels of international coordination efforts, and is working to garner the support of and mobilize the international private sector, civil society, and donors to advance the Government of Haiti's plans to rebuild. He is bringing to the attention of the Secretary-General any gaps in the international response, from the emergency relief phase and beyond, while advancing the principle of building Haiti back better than it was before the disaster. Moreover, President Clinton is working to ensure that the commitments to, and disbursements for, Haiti's long-term recovery and rebuilding effort are realized and sustained, and that assistance is channeled to communities and peoples most in need.
In addition, at the request of President Obama, President Clinton is directly supporting relief and recovery through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and also the Clinton Foundation Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund which already have allocated $4 million and $3 million, respectively, to 23 organizations on the ground that are urgently expanding the delivery of food, water, medical care, shelter, and education assistance to earthquake survivors. President Clinton also continues to encourage members of CGI to become involved in Haiti; he also is utilizing the Clinton Foundation to respond to urgent needs on the ground, issuing calls for donations to support recovery efforts, as well as shipping and delivering food, water, medical supplies, shelter, and vehicles to support aid distribution in Haiti.
Since the earthquake, the Clinton Foundation has delivered: over 20 tons of medical supplies, over 45,000 lbs. of water, 5 GE SunSpring units capable of producing up to 5,000 gallons of water per day, more than 4,000 tents, 4 pallets of plastic sheeting, 70 trucks, 1,000 portable toilets along with 20 cordless drill sets to support assembly, over 1,000 stoves, and more than 6,900 flash lights. En route to Haiti are an additional 30,200 tents, 52 pallets of women's clothing, 18,000 pieces of men's clothing, an additional 3,000 solar flashlights, and at least 50 more trucks.