May 19, 2009
May 19

Press Release: President Bill Clinton Appointed United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti

New York, NY
Press Release

Haitian Government welcomes appointment; builds on Clinton’s extensive engagement

New York, NY – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of former US President William J. Clinton as the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti.

“I am confident that President Clinton will bring energy, dynamism and focus to the task of mobilizing international support for Haiti’s economic recovery and reconstruction," said Mr. Ban.

The appointment builds on President Clinton’s extensive engagement with Haiti while serving in the White House, and most recently, through his Call to Action on Haiti at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2008.

The appointment is not the first time the former president has worked with the United Nations – he has previously served as the United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. In addition, President Clinton accompanied Mr. Ban to Haiti in March, during the Secretary-General’s visit to raise global awareness of the Caribbean nation’s recovery and reconstruction needs.

Mr. Ban added he had spoken last week with Haiti’s President René Préval about the appointment and that President Préval welcomed it on behalf of the government and people of Haiti, describing it as a vital boost in efforts to ensure that the plight of Haiti remains a priority for the international community.

“It is an honor to accept the Secretary General’s invitation to become Special Envoy to Haiti," said President Clinton. “Last year’s natural disasters took a great toll, but Haiti’s government and people have the determination and ability to “build back better,” not just to repair the damage done but to lay the foundations for the long term sustainable development that has eluded them for so long.”

In 2008, Haiti suffered a string of severe setbacks. The rise in global food and oil prices deeply affected the Haitian population. In addition, the Caribbean nation was devastated by four successive storms in as many weeks, leaving 800 people dead and another one million either homeless or badly affected.

As Special Envoy, President Clinton will support the efforts of the Haitian authorities to jumpstart sustainable social and economic development. He will focus attention on the importance of new partnerships and efforts among the private sector, civil society, and donors – to continue to assist the people and government of Haiti as they continue to “build back better” from recent storm damage – as well as strengthen local capacity, and create a more stable and prosperous future for the children of Haiti. The post, which carries an annual salary of $1, will see President Clinton travel to Haiti several times within the next year.

“I believe Haiti is better positioned to make progress for all its people than at any time since I first visited in 1978," said  President Clinton.  It offers unique opportunities for public and private investment to improve health and education in ways that will be good for Haitians and all their partners in our interdependent world.”

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