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Press Release: Readout of President Clinton's call with UN Cluster Heads

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New York, NY – President Bill Clinton, the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, today convened a teleconference with UN officials leading the emergency and humanitarian response in Haiti to assess relief operations, highlight unmet needs on the ground – particularly in areas outside of Port-au-Prince and in advance of the rainy season – and encourage closer coordination with the Government of Haiti and with each other.

During the call President Clinton encouraged the provision of shelter and sanitation for larger numbers of Haitians, the development of hurricane-proof safe houses in each temporary camp, and the expansion of cash-for-work programs to involve more Haitians in relief operations. President Clinton also highlighted specific ideas to strengthen agriculture in advance of the rapidly-approaching planting season; provide fuel-efficient stoves for Haitian households that use recycled materials for fuel and employ Haitian women in the assembly of the stoves and the recycling process; strengthen the protection of women, children, and other vulnerable groups; procure more tents and latrines; and expedite the payment of Haitian doctors and civil servants.

Call participants included Francesco Del Re, of the UN’s Food and Agriculture (FAO), of the agriculture cluster; Judith Thimke, UN Word Food Program, of the food aid cluster; Gregg Giovanni McDonald, International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), of the shelter cluster; Adrian van der Knapp, UN World Food Program, of the logistics and emergency telecommunications cluster; Roger Guarda, UNDP, of the early recovery cluster; Souleymane Sow, UNICEF, of the water, sanitation, and hygiene cluster; Pilar Aguilar, UNICEF, of the education cluster; Stefano Fedele, UNICEF, of the nutrition cluster; Josep Zapater, UNHCR, of the protection cluster; Henrik Haggstrom, UNICEF, of the child protection cluster; Lina Abirafeh, UNFPA, of the gender-based violence cluster; Dan van Alphen, WHO, of the health cluster; and Dr. Paul Farmer, Deputy UN Special Envoy for Haiti.

Today’s call builds on President Clinton’s long-standing efforts on Haiti. In May 2009, building President Clinton’s 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 level of international coordination efforts at the policy level, 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 – “build 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.

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