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20.05.2009 Press Release

Former US President Clinton appointed UN special envoy for Haiti

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19 May - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Bill Clinton as the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, building on the former United States President's extensive engagement with the Caribbean nation.

“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.

According to a news release, the appointment builds on Mr. 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 Secretary-General and Mr. Clinton joined forces to help Haiti when they visited the country in March to raise awareness of efforts to help its people and Government bolster their economic security.

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, suffered a string of severe setbacks last year, and was deeply affected by the rise in global food and oil prices. In addition, the country was devastated by four successive storms in as many weeks, leaving 800 people dead and another one million either homeless or badly affected.

“It is an honour to accept the Secretary General's invitation to become Special Envoy to Haiti,” said Mr. 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.”

As Special Envoy, he 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, as well as strengthen local capacity, and create a more stable and prosperous future for the children of Haiti.

“I believe Haiti is better positioned to make progress for all its people than at any time since I first visited in 1978,” Mr. Clinton added. “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.”

Mr. Clinton is no stranger to the UN, having previously served as the UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

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