Clinton Foundation to Launch Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery in the Caribbean

Clinton Foundation to Launch Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery in the Caribbean

Reproduced Courtesy the Clinton Foundation

Thursday, February 8, 2018 — On February 1, 2018, President Clinton announced that at the invitation of the leaders of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Antigua & Barbuda, and Dominica, the Clinton Foundation will be launching an Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, following a planning meeting yesterday with officials from the islands, as well as leaders from business and civil society.

The Action Network will formally convene for a meeting on April 3rd at the University of Miami, where stakeholders will continue to work towards Commitments to Action to address the on-going immediate response needs, as well as the long-term recovery in the region. This Action Network builds from the successful Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) model, where leaders from across sectors convene to mobilize resources and implement solutions to addressing pressing global challenges.

President Clinton will also travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica, to view the islands’ ongoing efforts to continue building back in the wake of last year’s hurricane season. This follows a trip to Puerto Rico in November of last year.

“Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean community are in need, and we must answer that call,” said President Clinton. “Together with leaders from government, business, and civil society, we can demonstrate what is possible when we come together and bring our collective will and resources to bear on this crisis. We have a responsibility to act, for the people who are still suffering, and for all the future generations in the region.”

President Clinton hosted a planning meeting, on January 31, to catalyze new work and build on existing work that is already helping in the region. A diverse range of officials from the region detailed the needs on their islands, and met with business and philanthropic leaders to start planning commitments. President Clinton described development of several new Commitments to Action to be announced at the April meeting, including the rebuilding of schools and homes in Dominica; the installation of solar equipment at primary care clinics in Puerto Rico; and the distribution of remote Zika testing for pregnant women across the region.

The Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery is focusing on five key areas: energy, infrastructure, health, education, and economic development. The Commitments to Action will aim to improve disaster response and support the sustainable, inclusive, and resilient rebuilding of the region.

The Action Network will support this work by providing its members 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 Action Network is expected 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. 

Addressing the Ongoing Crisis in the Region

In September 2017, two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, tore through the Caribbean region, causing catastrophic devastation. On Barbuda, Hurricane Irma destroyed 95% of homes and other infrastructure, forcing residents to relocate to Antigua. In Dominica, more than 80% of infrastructure was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to ever strike the country. Hurricane Maria severely damaged the electricity grid in Puerto Rico, leaving its 3.4 million citizens without power. Both hurricanes also caused widespread damage in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and many other areas. Across the region, thousands remain without proper shelter, power, or adequate access to food and clean water.

Leaders of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda have invited President Clinton’s assistance in “building back better” after the recent hurricane season. In response, President Clinton has issued a call to action to address the immediate response needs, as well as the medium- and long-term recovery in the region with a focus on sustainability and resilience. This Action Network builds on the Clinton Foundation’s longstanding engagement in the Caribbean and the Clinton Global Initiative’s experience in mobilizing cross-sector partnerships to address needs in post-disaster settings.

President Clinton will officially launch the Action Network on April 3 at the University of Miami, bringing together leaders from government, business, and civil society