Action Network will continue meeting quarterly with leaders from government, business, and civil society to continue work; Commitments to Action announced today include solarization of health clinics in Puerto Rico; mental health worker training; and resiliency investment funding in Dominica
MIAMI, FL – Today, President Clinton formally launched the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery at the University of Miami, bringing together more than 350 leaders from government, business, and civil society to discuss and develop solutions that address immediate and long-term hurricane recovery needs facing the region.
Participants announced eight Commitments to Action – solutions that are new, specific, and measurable – focusing on a wide range of issues, including training for 5,000 mental health workers in Puerto Rico; deploying nurses to the U.S. Virgin Islands to conduct vision, hearing, and dental screenings for 9,000 schoolchildren; a comprehensive reforestation and habitat program that will plant 750,000 trees; a new agency in Dominica providing funding for resiliency projects; and solarizing 12 primary health clinics in Puerto Rico.
“In the wake of the terrible hurricanes, the people of these islands have shown a remarkable resilience and a resolve to do long-term work and build back better,” said President Clinton. “When I went to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Dominica, I was struck by both the determination and the positive attitude of the people there. We are here to do what we can to help these people build communities that are stronger, safer, more prosperous, and more resilient.”
“If we do not address the fundamental issues contributing to climate change, we're going to see a greater intensity of disasters like Hurricane Maria and Irma,” said Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica. “If the world continues to fail to address climate change, we must not only build back better, but we must improve the national resiliency of our islands. This meeting of the Clinton Foundation is helping to ensure that our efforts to become the first climate resilient nation in the world are system-wide, integrated and coordinated.”
“Although these back-to-back storms were a great tragedy, there is now a tremendous opportunity to improve the future of the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Tom Secunda, founding partner of Bloomberg L.P. “By bringing together such a wide range of people who share the common goal of finding innovative ways to help, The Clinton Foundation is helping us ensure we build back smarter, stronger and a more sustainable communities.”
“The Rockefeller Foundation is focused on bringing together public and private partners to help Puerto Rico recover and to support those who are working to build things back better than before,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Together, we can reimagine a Puerto Rico that is more equitable, resilient to shocks and disasters, and provides opportunity for all of its residents in good times and bad.”
At the meeting, President Clinton and leaders from business, government, and civil society announced eight Commitments to Action that address a wide range of recovery and resiliency issues facing the region.
COMMITMENTS TO ACTION ANNOUNCED TODAY
- The Government of Dominica has committed to launch a climate resiliency agency (CREAD), dedicating $600 million in funding to implement resiliency projects, with the goal of making Dominica the first climate resilient nation in the world.
- The American Federation of Teachers has partnered with Airlink and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to bring nurses to conduct vision, hearing, and dental screenings for all 9,000 schoolchildren on the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Afya Foundation has committed to addressing the urgent medical needs of the elder population in Puerto Rico, by shipping immediate medical supplies and equipment to Acción Social's 22 Elder Care centers, while providing training and capacity building to Acción Social staff.
- Para la Naturaleza (PLN) has committed to launch Habitat, a comprehensive reforestation and habitat restoration program in Puerto Rico that aims to plant 750,000 native and endemic trees that are more resilient to natural phenomena such as hurricanes, and provide assessment and maintenance of newly planted areas.
- Americares has committed to address mental health challenges in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria by providing training for 5,000 health workers, emergency responders, and social service providers across the island.
- International Medical Corps has committed to support primary healthcare for school-aged children in Puerto Rico by procuring an additional Mobile Medical unit for Med Centro, allowing them to reach an additional five elementary and middle schools with comprehensive preventive health screenings, and providing training and capacity building to all Med Centro staff.
- Digicel has committed to repair or rebuild seven schools and 360 homes in Dominica that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Maria, while also training 100 community members in building techniques and provide community workshops on risk mitigation and disaster preparedness.
- Direct Relief, the Hispanic Federation, The Solar Foundation, and New Energy PR have committed to install solar or solar + storage systems at 12 primary care clinics in Puerto Rico, meeting critical energy needs at each site.
Full commitment summaries are below.
President Clinton also announced a Commitment to Action in development, issuing a challenge to members of the Action Network to pre-position relief supplies for the upcoming hurricane season. With estimates that every $1 spent on preparedness saves $4 in response and recovery spending, pre-positioning relief supplies, and establishing logistics and distribution channels, can help resources be deployed more efficiently in the event of a disaster. CGI is bringing together Action Network members who can lend their resources, materials, expertise, and support to a broad effort that already includes engagement from Operation Blessing, Airlink, Federal Surplus Company, Solight, J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Americares, and World Central Kitchen.
ABOUT THE ACTION NETWORK AND TODAY’S MEETING
The Action Network is convening leaders from business, government, and civil society over a sustained period of time, working to improve disaster response and support the sustainable, inclusive, and resilient rebuilding of the region. The Clinton Global Initiative supports members’ work by providing them with opportunities to identify critical areas of need where they can have the deepest impact; coordinate work and avoid duplication of efforts; network and build new partnerships; and share lessons learned, best practices, and common resources with a larger community.
The meeting convened leaders from across sectors, including Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Commonwealth of Dominica; Irwin LaRocque, secretary-general, Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Governor Kenneth Mapp, Virgin Islands of the United States; Jenniffer González-Colón, resident commissioner, Puerto Rico; Stacey Plaskett, delegate to the United States House of Representatives, Virgin Islands of the United States; Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, Municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Mayor Lornna Soto, Canovanas, Puerto Rico; Mayor Mayita Meléndez, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Mayor Carmen Maldonado, Morovis, Puerto Rico; Mayor Ernesto Irizarry Salvá, Utuado, Puerto Rico; Mayor Torres Yordán, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico; Lynn Jurich, CEO, Sunrun; Andrea Luecke, executive director, The Solar Foundation; Denis O'Brien, chairman of the board, Digicel; José María Figueres Olsen, former president of Costa Rica, and co-founder, Ocean Unite; Hugh Riley, secretary general and CEO, Caribbean Tourism Organization; Thomas F. Secunda, founding partner, vice chairman & global head of financial products & services, Bloomberg LP; Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president, Rockefeller Foundation; and Sally Yearwood, executive director, Caribbean Central American Action.
The Action Network will continue to meet in person on a quarterly basis, with opportunities for members to coordinate across sectors and geographies throughout the year. It builds on the successful CGI Action Network model – for example, the Haiti Action Network, which began 10 years ago when four hurricanes devastated the country and continued through the devastating 2010 earthquake, has led to 130 Commitments to Action in Haiti worth more than $500 million when fully funded and implemented, in areas including health, education, energy, agriculture, and infrastructure.
Watch a recording of today's event here: http://live.clintonfoundation.org
COMMITMENTS TO ACTION ANNOUNCED TODAY
Building the First Climate Resilient Nation in the World
The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has committed to work with its development partners to create and launch the Climate Resilience Agency of Dominica (CREAD), which will dedicate $600 million to new resiliency projects. CREAD is an independent agency that will fund, design, procure, implement, and coordinate climate resilient projects with the objective of making Dominica the first climate resilient nation in the world. CREAD will feature an innovative financing incentive for private sector partners: for every $10 million pledged, Dominica will offer the right to use a total of 1 million tons of carbon sequestered by its rainforests and marine environments as a carbon offset over the course of 20 years. Through CREAD, Dominica will rebuild and repair major roads, rebuild approximately 20 schools and 27 health facilities, and provide support for 8,500 farmers across the island. Funds raised through the carbon offset program will be dedicated to the provision of 4,000 climate resilient homes for those most in need.
Children’s School Clinic Mission to the U.S. Virgin Islands
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has partnered with Airlink and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to conduct extensive preventive health screenings for schoolchildren in the U.S. Virgin Islands. After the 2017 hurricane season, the U.S. Virgin Islands experienced extensive damage to schools and healthcare facilities, creating a gap in health services for schoolchildren who should be receiving preventive health screenings from nurses in their schools. Working with Airlink and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, the AFT is sending 24 nurses to the U.S. Virgin Islands for one week to conduct extensive screenings for vision, hearing and dental needs. During the one-week deployment, all 9,000 schoolchildren on the U.S. Virgin Islands will receive health screenings. In addition, the AFT is working to secure diagnostic tools and medical equipment to leave behind on the island to ensure that health screenings can continue in the future.
Elder Relief: Supplies for Puerto Rico’s Most Vulnerable
Afya Foundation has committed to address the urgent medical needs of elders in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. The hurricane has compromised access to care for those in rural areas, particularly the sick and elderly. To address this issue, Afya Foundation will partner with Puerto Rican social agency Acción Social to develop a long-term program to support elders on the island. After conducting needs assessments, Afya will ship three 40-foot containers of needed medical supplies and equipment to Puerto Rico to support Acción Social's 22 Elder Care centers, which serve patients across 76 municipalities. Additional supplies will be kept in five storage hubs throughout the island to allow Acción Social's care workers to replenish their supplies moving forward. Additionally, Afya will provide training and capacity building to Acción Social's staff to strengthen their existing elder care work. This commitment will positively impact the care and quality of life of 1,200 elders on the island.
Para la Naturaleza (PLN) has committed to launch Habitat, a comprehensive reforestation and habitat restoration program aimed at recovering the vital ecosystems of Puerto Rico that were decimated by Hurricane Maria. Over the next seven years, PLN will maximize the production capacity its tree nurseries and plant 750,000 native and endemic trees, which are more resilient to natural phenomena such as hurricanes, across the islands of Puerto Rico. PLN will also provide assessment and maintenance of newly planted areas for a period of five years to ensure an 80% tree survival rate. PLN will engage 100,000 volunteers in this effort, and will also provide educational programming to build the capacity of local communities in sound environmental practices. Restoring Puerto Rico’s flora will help recover and enhance local biodiversity, improve watershed and soil health, and protect the habitat of endangered species.
Healing for Health Workers: Building Mental Health Capacity in Post-Maria Puerto Rico
Americares has committed to support health workers, emergency responders, and social service providers in Puerto Rico to address mental health challenges in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Mental health has emerged as a serious unaddressed need following Hurricane Maria, and individuals in these professions are at an increased risk for psychosocial issues due to their dual role as care providers and survivors of the hurricane. Working with partners, Americares will train these workers to increase their own resiliency and coping skills in order to avoid job burnout and manage stress effectively. Americares will also train these individuals to better understand, identify, and respond to the mental health and psychosocial needs of their patients and clients and will equip them with skills including Psychological First Aid, identifying the signs of trauma, and suicide prevention. Over the next 18 months, Americares will extend this training to 5,000 health workers, emergency responders, and social service providers across the island.
Puerto Rico Response and Recovery: Health in Schools
International Medical Corps has committed to improve access to primary healthcare for school-aged children in Puerto Rico by partnering with Med Centro to expand their health in schools program. After Hurricane Maria, health organizations in Puerto Rico have experienced increased numbers of patients seeking care at Mobile Medical units (MMUs) as opposed to traditional clinic sites. In recognition of this new reality, International Medical Corps will support Med Centro in procuring an additional MMU, which will allow Med Centro to reach an additional five elementary and middle schools with comprehensive preventive health screenings. Additionally, International Medical Corps will provide training and capacity building to all Med Centro staff to strengthen existing services as well as services provided in the new MMU, particularly in the areas of adolescent health and mental health. As a result of this commitment, more than 1,000 elementary and middle school students will receive increased access to primary care services.
Restoring School Infrastructure and Housing in Dominica
Digicel has committed to repair or rebuild seven schools and 360 homes in Dominica that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Maria. In collaboration with partners including PJ Construction, IsraAid, and the Government of Dominica, Digicel will focus its efforts in communities on the eastern side of the island and in Dominica's Kalinago Territory, which were badly impacted by the hurricane. Digicel will rebuild seven primary schools as well as the homes of the families whose children attend these schools. To support local capacity building, Digicel will also train 100 community members in building techniques and provide community workshops on risk mitigation and disaster preparedness. Digicel's commitment will positively impact more than 1,500 Dominican children and adults.
Solar Saves Lives: Solar Power for Primary Health Clinics in Puerto Rico
Direct Relief, the Hispanic Federation, The Solar Foundation, and New Energy PR have committed to install solar or solar + storage systems at 12 primary care clinics in Puerto Rico. These clinics have been identified in partnership with the Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico, which oversees 60+ federally funded clinics on the island. Health clinics were hit hard by Hurricane Maria, with extended power outages causing losses of medicines and compromising clinics' ability to provide care. Six months on, health centers - especially those in rural and remote areas - still struggle with unreliable access to power. To address immediate energy needs and build the long-term resilience of these facilities, the solar systems will cover at minimum the critical energy needs of each site, allowing them to restore services and ensure continuity of care into the future, regardless of their access to grid power. This commitment is part of the Solar Saves Lives initiative, launched in November 2017 to support the mobilization and delivery of solar + storage solutions to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
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About the Clinton Foundation
Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, that premise has energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.
As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.
We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.