Press Releases   |    In the News   |    Op-Eds   |    Transcripts   |    Multimedia

Press Releases

Paul Farmer Visits Haiti as UN Deputy Special Envoy

8 September 2009
Office Of The Special Envoy For Haiti

Dr. Paul Farmer ended his first visit to Haiti as UN Deputy Special Envoy today. His five day visit served as a follow up to President Clinton’s July mission, with the main objective of gauging how to best support the Government of Haiti in the implementation of its national recovery plan. He met with President Preval and Prime Minister Pierre-Louis, representatives of the United Nations, NGO leaders, international donors, and members of the private sector to ensure that all recovery efforts are aligned with the Government of Haiti’s national plan. In addition, Dr. Farmer visited the Central Plateau and Cap Haitian, where he met with local communities and representatives of the tourism industry.

“I am truly honored to be here in my capacity of Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti,” said Dr. Farmer in the native Creole. “This island nation is one I am deeply committed to and I intend to do whatever it takes to support President Clinton and the people of Haiti in our joint effort of creating new jobs, improving the delivery of basic services, strengthening disaster recovery and preparedness, attracting private sector investment and garnering greater international support.”

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with President Clinton and Dr. Farmer to urgently implement our efforts to respond to the needs of the people of Haiti, and to expand opportunity for all in our country,” said President Preval. “Dr. Farmer’s visit was very useful in advancing this work, in coordination with many partners in Haiti.”

Participating in the meetings with Dr. Farmer were government representatives, including Leslie Voltaire, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Gabriel Verret, Economic Advisor to the President, Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, Minister Patrick Delatour, Minister Daniel Dorsainvil, Minister Jacques Gabriel, Minister Marie Josee Garnier, Minister Joel Desrosiers Jean-Pierre and Minister Marie Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue.

“I want to reassure the Haitian people that I am aware of your frustration. You not only live on less than $2 a day, but it has been almost a year since the last hurricane season and many of you are yearning for a sense of normalcy – housing, jobs and a sense of security,” Farmer said. “No one expects it to be easy. But you have my word that we will not let you down. We will make every effort to secure investments, ensure that donors honor their pledges, and support your Government in rolling out its recovery plan.”

Dr. Farmer was appointed Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Like President Clinton, Farmer is on a $1 a year contract with the United Nations. Dr. Farmer has known President Clinton for 15 years and has worked closely with him in Africa since 2005. Dr Farmer holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University where he is a professor of Social Medicine and the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is the founding father of Partners in Health (1987), an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services in ten countries and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty.

For background information

President Clinton’s appointment as UN Envoy on Haiti builds on his engagement with Haiti while in the White House, his service as the UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, and most recently on his Call to Action on Haiti at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in September 2008 that generated more than 20 projects in Haiti valued at more than $130 million.

President Clinton’s priorities as UN Special Envoy for Haiti include:

  • Work with the Haitian Government and people as they implement their vision for recovery and beyond in an effort to maximize job creation and sustainability;
  • Assist Haiti to “build back better” from the 2008 hurricanes, prepare for future tropical storm seasons, and promote environmental recovery and the development of clean energy in Haiti;
  • Encourage international donors to honor their pledges as quickly as possible and align their assistance with Haitian priorities;
  • Encourage international private sector investment in Haiti by elevating awareness of the economic opportunities there, and working with Haitian officials to improve the economic climate;
  • Encourage philanthropists, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to provide additional resources and better coordinate their work with each other and with the Haitian Government; and
  • Seek more support for Haiti from Diaspora communities in the United States, Canada and France.