Davos Annual Meeting 2010 - Haiti: First Responders back from the Front-Line

Uploaded by WorldEconomicForum on 27.01.2010

Josette Sheeran, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme, United
I am Josette Sheeran, the head of the World Food Programme. I have just returned from
Haiti, where I have been living in a tent with our staff there. You have here on the
panel one other person who has just returned from Haiti but organizations that are very
active right now in trying to stand with the people of Haiti during this extraordinary
catastrophe. And I see many people in the audience who are there with Haiti also, and
I met the people from your organizations in Port-au-Prince doing really heroic work.
Do I need to introduce everyone? Let me just do that. Many of you know Bekele Geleta, the
head of the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent; welcome. Catherine
Bragg, who is the deputy head of OCHA, who is the humanitarian coordinator in the UN
system. We also have the fabulous Tom Arnold from Concern Worldwide, who is always there
in every disaster doing such wonderful work with his organization. And Denis O'Brien from
Digicel, which is I guess the largest cell-phone distributor in Haiti, but has just returned
from Port-au-Prince and his company's been taking very generous action there in Haiti.
I was asked to open just with a few remarks from my experience in Haiti and then to turn
to Denis and then to have Bekele and Tom comment, and then Catherine to wrap up, and then we'll
open it up for a discussion with all of you.
The World Food Programme, as you may know, was founded in 1963. We have been on the frontline
of every major catastrophe and disaster and war zone since then. We are fundamentally
responsible for reaching people with food and last year we reached 102 million people
every day in Darfur with our partners. We do everything in partnership. 60% of our work
is through partners, such as Concern and World Vision and others. We reach four million people
a day with food in Darfur, and if you can imagine have been reaching up to half the
population of Somalia, 40% of the population of Afghanistan with food in addition to many
other place.
I say that to say, to give emphasis to the statement I'm about to make, that according
to all of our frontline logistics experts and operational experts this is not our largest
disaster but our most complicated situation we've ever confronted. We have never been
in an urban catastrophe of this size, with the density of population and the total loss
of the infrastructure. And so we are very much in the supply chain business; saving
lives is about getting a supply chain up and running and virtually every step of that supply
chain is a nightmare. And so we can talk a little bit about that.
I was struck by the heroism of the Haitian people there; their response is one of great
dignity and kindness. Often we see in these disasters the best of humanity coming out,
and you will see that if you were in Port-au-Prince right now. But also humanitarian heroes: 90%
of my staff is homeless; they have lost their homes, they are living on the street and then
delivering food. Most of them have lost loved ones; one of our key leaders buried his son
in the garden and was delivering food hours later.
So it is unique in the fact that virtually every party that needs to respond there has
lived through the tragedy of enormous proportions. As you know, the Brazilian troops that lead
MINUSTAH there, the peacekeeping troops, lost so many loved ones. The Jordanian troops I've
met with there lost so many loved ones. And then nothing to say of the government itself.
I drove through Port-au-Prince, walked through Port-au-Prince, needed to see for myself the
pillars of the symbols of Haiti and see them for myself. And I went to the Presidential
Palace, almost like Tinker Toys just torn apart. The Justice Ministry in dust. The Parliament
in dust. The market, which was such a symbol of hope there as Haiti was really beginning
to trade more and look more to opening its businesses, in dust. The Parliament, I think
I mentioned, in dust. And the hotel where the United Nations was just completely, that
tower, gone. So all of those and the cathedral, just gone.
So all of those very critical symbols of stability and hope and building so affected, and the
response is not to scale yet. In WFP, we talk about the WFP machine clicking in. It's our
huge global logistics effort; we have thrown everything to get this right at Haiti and
scale up. We've gotten 10 million meals out. I think we all can tell these stories, but
the need is at least two million a day, people that really don't have access to food. There
are some informal markets cropping up, as you'll see almost anywhere. People begin to
try to respond, but people don't have cash. Every single bank branch was closed. Bit by
bit this will get better, but we think we will be in there longer and deeper in the
emergency phase than we initially predicted. I have been putting out a global call for
these types of meals ready to eat because at least we are finding in the camps people
don't have an ability to cook, and this type of product that we are buying from France,
it's a supplementary Plumpy, it's a sweet paste filled with nutrition that children
can just open and squeeze in their mouths. This is life saving and can protect the brains
and bodies of young children who aren't getting adequate nutrition, which they are not right
And even in El Salvador, where we have been making biscuits for children for school, El
Salvadorian producers are ramping up production so we can get these biscuits and high-energy
biscuits fortified with nutrition. This is more expensive; it's actually not more difficult
than bringing in bags of rice and beans and oil, but you know, critical that we get these
in in addition. So some of these complexities I wanted to touch on.
I met extensively with the president and prime minister; they are deeply engaged. I found
a government very, very strongly leading what they want built and how they want the response
to go in Haiti. And they are operating in a courtyard; they don't have a meeting room
and every morning hold a meeting outside. WFP, through our logistics cluster, work for
the United Nations, which we lead. We were able to get them cell phones. We are trying
to get them snap-together offices so they have a safe place to meet. That's the level
of destruction and confusion there, and of course there's no accounting for who's missing
yet. There's about half the police force who've not shown up yet; people don't know if they're
gone or, you know, just can't make it there or are dealing with personal family tragedies.
Anyway, I come back with that mixture: very strong and very potent of just sadness, determination
and hope because of the incredible spirit of everyone who's gathered there and determination.
I think I now will turn this over to Denis, who has also just come back from Haiti.
Denis O'Brien, Executive Chairman, Digicel, Ireland:
Thank you very much, Josette, and can I just sympathize with the various arms of the UN
and the people that you've lost? We lost eight people, but your numbers, the number of people
that you've lost is just – and missing – is up to 200, so just our sympathies.
And I suppose I made my second visit since the earthquake this week, and one of the things
that really concerns me – or two things. One is criticism of the effort on the ground,
which I think is uncalled for and not to put a tooth in it, if you take what the French
Development Minister said last week, I thought he was totally out of order. And the last
thing we need at the moment is for people to be so critical when people are working
so hard on the ground. And it is a massive struggle for both the US Army, but also for
all the different organizations under the UN umbrella: for the Red Cross, Concern, everybody
trying to do things that maybe they never had to do before. And I think the European
Union and their response has been paltry, and I am from Ireland and am very much a European
as such.
So something needs to be done there, and I think a lot of credit needs to be given to
the US military in the way they have reacted and the work that they have done. There are
obviously issues on the ground, and I could see them this week, particularly in food distribution
because if people do not know when they are going to get food and they get food infrequently
– say, every three or four days – well, obviously people are going to get very,
very upset and, you know, there is a problem about security. And because of now nearly
400 camps springing up around the capital – small camps maybe 30, 40 people;
larger camps in their thousands – it's very, very difficult to get the aid and the
water. Sometimes food comes but no water comes, so you know, all of that we can see improvements
on the ground.
I have 900 colleagues there that work for Digicel and, you know, our first thing was
to get our network up, but probably most of our effort was looking after our staff because
with 900 staff, you know, literally most of them have been touched – all of them
have been touched in one way. I met one man who showed up for work having buried five
members of his family, so we have 300 staff at the moment who have no home. So, you know,
all of these things are coming together to create – you just don't know what to
do as such.
But bit by bit things are getting better and I would say, you know, in the next two weeks
you will see another real improvement here. There's a couple of problems, though, and
that is money because the banks only just recently opened. When I was there on Monday,
you know, it's like a run on a bank. There's literally thousands of people outside every
bank and every money exchange, and all their remittances are pilling up but the banks don't
have the cash to actually give out. So that is an issue.
There also is the issue for people not only in camps; they are also outside their homes
because there is a loved one or loved ones inside the room of the house, so they are
actually on their bedding out in front of the house on the road. And they are afraid
to leave because their house will get looted, and there is no help really there to help
clear housing and that, so you know, a lot of these houses are rental accommodation as
well, so it is very, very complicated. Port-au-Prince is mainly a rental market, not an owner-occupier
A lot of areas like outside Port-au-Prince are struggling as well, particularly Jacmel,
Petit Goave and Léogâne. They are not getting, you know, as much food and water
as they need at the moment. So you know, you have all these displaced people and in their
eyes they probably feel absolutely hopeless but I couldn't imagine – you know,
if this was in Ireland we would be all rioting. In Haiti, they are so dignified that, you
know, they have no food, no water and they have lost their family. And you know, they
are stoic in the way they are actually coping with this. And many of the people are absolutely
traumatized. You know, I met people who were traumatized because of their loss. For example,
in our office people won't go up through the building. We have 11 floors in the building;
they won't go beyond the second floor because they are afraid of another aftershock.
In terms of medical work, one of the things that I was told yesterday by a doctor was
that amputees – there have been thousands of people who have lost their limbs, but the
two companies in Port-au-Prince that used to make protheses are gone. So it's just another
small thing that needs to be fixed, as such, and there's a real need for wheelchairs as
well. And when I met a number of the ministers in – basically, it used to be a court,
I think – the other day I met four or five ministers in the cabinet. The cabinet
secretary said to me, 'Denis, we need money because all the money that has been raised
around the world today has gone into the NGO effort', and they need money to pay policemen.
Policemen will not go back to work because they won't get paid. There's 60,000 teachers
that need to be paid, and the government actually needs a credit facility from the IMF to actually
pay people, because teachers will move if, you know, they are reasonably well educated.
They will find another job and move away from teaching. Civil servants, if they're not paid,
they will move away from that job as well.
And to compound all this, there are approximately a half million children that are not going
to school at the moment. So when I met the minister for education, I said 'Look, we want
to go and build 30 schools'. And he said, 'Look, great, but I actually need office facilities
for my 500 staff and I need my building cleared. There's 50 people in it under the rubble at
the moment'. And when I met him two hours later, he was actually under a tree in the
grounds of his office having a meeting with all his senior civil servants to get schools
back open on the 1st of March. So we have been trying to work with him to get a facility,
a tent even, for 500 of his civil servants.
Then the biggest issue then is schools. There are 8,000 schools; a lot of them are small,
private schools, but you know, you pay maybe US$ 3 a month to send your child there, so
they're not like fully fledged private schools as we would know it mainly in the Western
world. So they're all in ruins; 90% of the schools are in ruins. And he's saying, 'We
need tents to actually put children into and divide up tents and have classrooms in tents'.
And you know, we worked it out because we've got on the phone and tried to buy tents immediately
and we are, but these tents are big tents – 10,000 square feet – that
you could probably put 12-13 classrooms in, costs US$ 130,000, without a floor. So when
you multiply all these numbers out, you know, the complexity of the problems facing Haiti
at the moment and the challenges that these organizations have had to grapple with –
we're a commercial, you know, we're a business but we're trying to do our bit – is
just absolutely enormous.
And that's why, you know, the international community really have to dig deep to help
and to come forward. And it's all about capacity. You know, the minister for education lost
his top civil servants last Tuesday week, so we need to put in capacity in the short
term and also train Haitians to replace these civil servants. And that's where, you know,
instead of people criticising, people should actually come forward. And that's why the
European Union and all the member states need to say, 'We will do one piece of this. We
will do maybe education or we will do social services or we will do sanitation or break
up the problem and divide it up instead of all everybody criticising each other'.
And you know, for it to make a promise of €400 million is terrific, but between
the cup and the lip, that could be five or 10 years and everything is now. I mean, in
China when they had an earthquake, you know, Beijing didn't get the brunt of it; they didn't
get any of it. So the government stayed in place and they were able to coordinate the
aid, coordinate everything, the rescue, everything. But the whole of Port-au-Prince is gone. The
ministry for justice is gone. The ministry of foreign affairs, the interior, the tax
– this government will not be able to collect tax for six months. Now, companies
will keep – you know, they will collect the tax and give it to the government, responsible
companies. But there are just the whole shape of government is not there, so I think we
should be praising the efforts of the UN; we should be praising the efforts of the United
States and USAID, and everybody else involved and everybody should get behind it.
But also talk to our politicians in each of our home countries to say, 'Okay, what are
we going to take responsibility for?' Because Haiti has been a tragedy, you know, since
it got – effectively since it got independence in 1804. And –
Sheeran: Denis, if we could wind up. Would you like to finish a few sentences? I didn't
mean to stop you in your tracks.
O'Brien: No, thank you for stopping me.
Sheeran: Not that we're passionate about the subject up here. Bekele? And let's try to
leave at least half the session for a dialogue here. Thanks.
Bekele Geleta, Secretary General, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies, Ethiopia:
Okay. Thank you, Josette. Well, I went to Haiti, came back Saturday evening. Before
I went to Haiti, by sheer coincidence, just a few days before, I was reading on Haiti.
A positive change had started to take place in Haiti; although every image that Haiti
has had been negative, a positive change had started taking place. The UN Economic Commission
for Latin America and the Caribbean had ranked the economic development rate of the region.
Haiti ranks fourth from the top, okay, in 2009. That was a good, positive start of change.
Just the Red Cross, Haiti Red Cross had 115 branches in the country and 10,000 volunteers.
This was before the disaster. Now, I will tell you about the Red Cross because there
is no sufficient estimate yet about the economy, but it is estimated at four billion. The Red
Cross, it is left with just above 20% of its capacity due to this earthquake. You can imagine
the degree of disaster. Now, my president and myself went to Haiti. We were in the Dominican
Republic, we were in Haiti, and also we were in Panama. All these places, we discussed
about Haiti.
Essentially, we went there to see for ourselves the degree of the destruction, to talk with
authorities where and how they are going to take the reconstruction to, and then also
to guide the Red Cross activities and give direction to the Red Cross activities there.
Now, we – I will just tell you – I don't go to the destruction of the property,
the death and the wounded. I mean, I have not seen in any disaster so many people coming
to the streets, loitering on the street aimlessly. One doesn't have to look much to see the pain,
the anger, the frustration, the want in the eyes of these people. I mean, it's a terrible
tragedy. I was extremely emotional there, extremely.
Now, of course we discussed with our people, we discussed with government authorities,
we met with the head of state, we met with the prime minister, we met with the first
lady, we met with a number of ministers, and we have attended their meetings. We have of
course discussed at length with our own people. Now, what came to my mind is, 'Why is it that
nature hits most of the time where the human preparedness is least?' This includes Katrina
in the United States.
Now, the major disasters are hits where the human beings are least prepared. It is really
surprising. Haiti is poor – the poorest in that region and it's Haiti that is hit
by this kind of disaster. Now, three things we discussed there. Sorry, no, the Dominican
Republic president had convened a meeting of governments, World Bank, the UN system
were invited into that. I don't go into the outcomes of that, but what I can say is governments
are very much willing and very much committed to support Haiti to come out of this disaster.
Not only that: they are also willing to support Haiti in a big way in economic reconstruction.
Now, how much of it will materialize is yet to be seen, but it was a very, very positive
Now, what we thought about is 'What can the Red Cross do in the short term, in the relief
phase? What can the Red Cross Red Crescent do in the recovery phase and reconstruction
phase? But at the same time, what can we do in such a way that the Haitian population
feel it is them who are reshaping their future, it is not something that is imposed from outside
on them?' Now, this is very important because the Haitian president said in the Dominican
Republic that development will not be imported from abroad. This is a very interesting statement
of the president.
Now, the Red Cross, I don't go into much detail. We have 20 specialized units – we call
it the emergency response unit – in place. Actually, the 21st is going today.
Now, this deals with – we have a Norwegian, Canadian, Israeli hospital, which has 70 beds,
which is a fully fledged hospital which can do any kind of operation. This is a temporary
hospital, specialized hospital that the Red Cross Red Crescent put together. We have primary
health facilities, three of them that are working in Port-au-Prince but at the same
time in the areas. We have two mass water purification systems that are in place. These
are now providing 500,000 litres of water per day. Now, a lot has been done in terms
of reaching people. We reach 1,000 patients per day, for example, in the health facilities
we have sent in. We work very closely with the government, we work very closely with
the national Red Cross, we work as a movement. This is the International Committee of the
Red Cross. This is the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent, which I represent,
and the national societies that have put up these 21 specialized teams together. These
teams come from all over the world
These teams come from all over the world. These teams are manned by 200 expertise, now,
in Haiti. For the recovery, we have started work on it already, but we are in the planning
stage. But we will be planning very carefully with the others, okay? I will be rounding
it up. The challenge, very quickly – the biggest challenge is coordination, which
I hope Catherine will come to, because the UN has to play a major role in coordination.
Sheeran: Thank you, Bekele. Tom, and then Catherine.
Tom Arnold, Chief Executive Officer, Concern Worldwide, Ireland:
Thank you. Well, I maybe start by making a couple of brief introductory comments. The
first one relates to and connects with what Josette and Denis have spoken about –
just the sheer scale of the destruction that has happened there – the physical infrastructure,
the human and governance infrastructure – is enormous. And therefore I think I would
very much connect with Denis's comment, that some of the criticism about slow aid delivery
here is, to put it mildly, a bit simplistic, and, I think, needs to be put into that context.
Very much agree with Josette's comment about the extraordinary heroism and dignity that
is shown by the people.
The other piece of context is, from a Concern point of view, just a little background. Concern
has been working there for the past 16 years – the programme is across the country,
but specifically in Port-au-Prince, working in two of the main slums, accounting for about
350,000 people. So therefore there is a background to respond. And some of the work that we were
doing there was some very interesting work on trying to facilitate almost a peace process,
or certainly a conflict resolution process, between some of the gangs in those slums –
using, interestingly enough, some experience from the Northern Ireland peace process. And
that had been making some real progress, and we were got to the point where we were talking,
in the last six months, about a whole programme of small and medium-scale industry. So, very
much connecting with the point that, in the past year in particular, Haiti was becoming
a place where there was progress being made and some bit of confidence coming back.
So, what needs to be done now? Obviously, the most immediate needs – when I was
there, it was the weekend after the earthquake, I was struck by some of the people talking
on the ground about some of the – they're obviously recovering the bodies and dealing
with all of that terrible aspect had to be done – but some of the concerns they
had was that, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, people, in order to bury bodies
quickly, and avoid public health risks, buried in shallow graves. Concern about what this
might mean, in a month's time, when the rainy season starts.
Obviously basic needs like water – getting that into place has been a major priority.
And now the food issue here – and this is where we connect with WFP's efforts. As
Josette said, there's not enough people getting food. There are scarcities there, there are
tensions rising, and the absolutely major priority has to be a general distribution
of food as quickly as possible. That would probably involve use of the military, in order
for it to happen, but that needs to be done. After that, I think, if we do get to more
targeting of food distribution, that's where I think the NGOs do come into play.
The question of getting income back into people's hands is of enormous importance. One of the
priorities that Concern is placing is getting a Cash for Work scheme implemented; we'll
be starting very quickly. Connected with, for the men, the cleaning up of some of the
areas. And that very much connected with our whole water and sanitation programme. Also
part of the Cash for Work would be to get some capital back into the hands of women
– 10,000 women who'll be given a small grant of US$ 75 to get the small businesses
going again.
The issue of education is, as Denis very rightly said, of critical importance. I mean, I don't
certainly have a blueprint in my head as to what needs to be done, but the sheer fact
of 500,000 children not at school, and arrangements needing to be put in place. However that is
done over the coming months has to be a priority.
And then the final comment I would make is – perhaps it leads into Catherine's
contribution – the whole issue of coordination here is of critical importance. There are
a very large number of agencies, both governmental and non-governmental, at work in Haiti. I
think we need to seriously draw some of the lessons that were to be drawn from the tsunami,
when a lot of people descended to help. A lot of them didn't help. And I think the UN
is faced with a real challenge here, to make sure the coordination works as well as possible.
And some of the more, I would say, serious and well-established NGOs have a key responsibility
in this regard as well.
So they're the comments I would make for the beginning, and I'm sure there'll be plenty
of room later on for comments.
Sheeran: Thank you, Tom. Can I just have anyone representing organizations that are active
in Haiti, and trying to help in Haiti, raise your hands? Okay. Good. During the tsunami
20,000 individual points of light showed up to help. And when I interviewed the government
afterwards, for them, it was just overwhelming. Pakistan, the clusters actually worked, and
I think when they worked, they're very helpful. But certainly on the ground – Catherine
will talk about some of the difficulty – I tried to have a meeting of the food cluster,
and the logistics cluster, and telecom, which we had up. Even finding people – everyone's
offices are destroyed. Where is everybody? Where can we find them? I mean, is part of
the problems, we've been trying to do this at a global level in addition to on the ground.
Catherine Bragg, of OCHA.
Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency
Relief Coordinator, OCHA, Hong Kong:
Thank you. In order to tell the story of this Haitian tragedy, I think it cannot be repeated
enough that this is actually the first mega-humanitarian crisis that happened in an urban setting.
We've never actually had to face that before. So there are a lot of things we're kind of
learning as we go. And it's also a very unprecedented event, in the sense that, not only did it
happen in an urban setting, it was right in the capital, where the nerve centre of the
government, of major infrastructure such as airports, ports, major roads, for any kind
of logistical movement, would have to go through. All those were destroyed.
We also have the responding agencies, normally would be the ones active in a disaster of
this sort, themselves being the victims and have suffered losses. This is not just the
UN that has suffered losses. Denis already mentioned his staff, and we all thought the
same condolence, and thank you for mentioning the UN staff. But the humanitarian community,
all of the operating agencies themselves, have lost either their own staff, or have
staff who are injured. Their own offices were destroyed, computers were destroyed, so making
this, a responding operation, very, very difficult in that sense.
But I think despite all of that – and I think it's important to remember it is really
despite all of that – I think in the last two weeks, really there has been a Herculean
effort in order to get over the challenges that I have mentioned. And I think at this
point, two weeks into the aftermath of the earthquake, I think we can say that we have
turned the corner, in terms of the first chaotic days of any disaster, any violent natural
disasters that we have seen. In the sense that we have now reached, in terms of provision
of food, half a million people; provision of potable water, 200,000 people. We have
at this point 150 medical clinics that have been set up. We're now already moving into
the second phase of medical services – not just the immediate one, in terms of having
the survivors that were injured by the earthquake itself, but now into the second phase of rehabilitation
and of injured limbs etc. There's going to be a huge need for psycho-social medical services
as well – that's going to be our next phase going forward.
All of that is to say that I think at this point we can say that, at least we have turned
the corner in terms of the immediate chaotic days. A number of my fellow panellists have
asked if I would talk a little bit about the coordination of it, and I think that may be
actually an interesting story to tell there as well. This is actually one of the most
complicated ones –
Sheeran: If you can in about one minute, because we only have seven left, so.
Bragg: Okay. I'll be very quick about the coordination.
There are actually basically three levels. First one, of course, is the government of
Haiti is in the centre of the coordination. And I think all of the reports in the media
about how the government is not in place, too weak to do anything – they are
actually in the centre of the coordination. Every morning the minister of interior, at
seven o'clock, meets with the UN, and the US representatives, every morning, for coordination.
So there's the government level of coordination. There's the civil military coordination, between
the civilians and the military. As you know, the American military is in there now with
15,000 troops; Canadians are in there ramping up to 2,000 troops; and there are other foreign
militaries as well. So there's the coordination between the civilians and the military. And
then the third level is in terms of the civilian humanitarian operations.
And there, all of the tried and true methods in the last five years, of how we have a coordination
structure, has kicked into place. I won't bore you with jargons, with words like cluster
or whatever, but in the last five years we've really refined the way how operating agencies
combine themselves into clusters of operation. And it has actually been really an improvement
over how we dealt with things back in the days of the tsunami response. For example,
if you're a private-sector company, and you say, 'I have got medical supplies that I want
to either donate or to offer for purchase'. The first thing we will say is, 'Please contact
the lead agency for the health cluster'. That agency would have the list of the needs, so
that we can tell you what is needed, so that you don't send anything that is not needed.
And that's how the cluster has been really helpful, has been a real improvement over
the last five years. I know Josette has been looking at me – maybe I can continue
telling this as I respond to questions from the audience. How's that?
Sheeran: Very good. What I am going to suggest is, we just take a quick round of comments
or questions, and then we'll do one last round with the panel. But I want to introduce Robert
Greenhill, who is a leader here at the World Economic Forum, but former head of the Canadian
Development Agency, and Haiti expert, who will just talk about what the World Economic
Forum is doing. And then maybe a quick round of 30-second comments and a quick goodbye
round from the panel.
Robert Greenhill, Chief Business Officer, World Economic Forum. Canada:
Thank you, Josette, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to be here at the beginning. We actually
had in parallel another session on Haiti as well, and that's actually an indication of
just how determined we are that we use the global convening power of the World Economic
Forum to really continue to focus the world's attention on Haiti, not just in terms of what
to do now, but maybe what to do for the future. And the theme of this year is, 'Rethink, Redesign,
Rebuild'; we also hope we could rethink the way we can make a difference in the short
term – how we redesign our engagement in the long-term, and actually help the Haitians
rebuild their country. And I just have to salute the extraordinary work done by the
NGOs and the international organizations, but also, to an unparalleled extent, the private
sector and individuals in this. This has been an unparalleled disaster, an unparalleled
challenge; but it's actually, so far, led to an unparalleled response. Today's a session
that indicates that; tomorrow we'll be talking about a longer-term engagement, to help with
the longer-term economic rebuilding of Haiti as well. Thank you.
Neal Kenny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps, United States:
Hi, I'm Neal Kenny-Guyer of Mercy Corps. Just very quickly on the comment – and maybe
it'll tee-up for the wrap-up on the part of our panellists – I just was in Haiti
yesterday morning, and just arrived here. I think it's important that none of us underestimate
or under-appreciate how important it is to stand up to government as quickly as possible.
I sat in on that coordination meeting at 7am, and talked to the minister of interior, and
the government needs significant help on the part of the international community to really
be full partners. They want to be full partners. The international community can't be successful
if they're not full partners, but I think there needs to be more attention paid to that
right now, because they've lost so many people and have suffered so much, as has always been
Secondly, I just would encourage all of us to remember that those most affected are always
the best agents of their own recovery, and to the degree that we engage the Haitian people,
and empower them in the planning, in the work – it's amazing to see, already, in
the private markets, what Haitians are doing in terms of cooking food, or buying food,
of organizing co-ops and so forth. And they are the strongest partners and allies that
any of us will have, both in the short-term, but even more importantly, to lay the foundations
for real building back better.
Sheeran: And great work Mercy Corps is doing there. Simon Maxwell's chairing a session
tomorrow morning at 9am on Humanitarian, and he's going to focus that on Haiti. Certainly
many of the events are going to be refocused on Haiti. 9am, Simon Maxwell, look it up on
the schedule.
William T. Loris, Director General, International Development Law Organization, United States:
I'm Bill Loris, the head of the International Development Law Organization – one
of the sister international organizations in Rome. In the tsunami situation, we worked
very closely with the government to help them resolve some of the critical legal issues
and legal wreck that was left behind the tsunami, and we're going to be doing that in this case.
Is that relevant? When? What's the cluster?
Sheeran: I will say, to even find room for me to pitch a tent – I don't know your
experience – was hard. We had probably 700 humanitarian workers using one shower,
and there's no food, so one thing that we really all have to be very conscious of is
the load and when. But there is a legal wreck there on just every level.
Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity International, United
Jonathan Reckford, with Habitat for Humanity International. Like Neal, just come back from
Haiti, and applaud the efforts. One of the things that I think is missing, and we desperately
need, in the government coordination, is decisions about how land is going to work, because there
are going to be hurricanes, there are going to be problems, and we've got to move toward
durable shelter, not just tents, as fast as possible. And obviously, a breathtaking need,
and so.
Sheeran: How many could you build? How fast?
Reckford: We've got some big numbers that I'm not ready to go public with. We're obviously
very active in the shelter cluster, but if the resources are there we can mobilize quite
Participant: I'm in the private sector with an investment bank, Jeffries & Co. We raised
and sent several million dollars, and one of the questions we had was, to whom? And
a lot of the discussion so far is, like, the immediacy of what's going on, but for those
of us in the private sector who aren't actually knowledgeable, it's not our day job to do
this. You know, if you've got a cheque with a couple of commas in it and you want to send
it somewhere that's going to have the most immediate impact, how do you decide? We ended
up just going with big brands, because we didn't know any better. So there's a communication
issue somehow, or an Underwriters Lab seal-of-approval, or something that would be helpful to us in
the private sector to figure out, in this kind of situation, where can we do the most
good? In the near-term – because our money was available immediately.
Greenhill: Let me answer that, coming from the private sector as well. The whole idea
of the cluster set-up, and the combined appeal, is to ensure that actually you have the prioritized
needs laid out and the organizations who can deliver it against it. So if you go to –
each of us have got one of these copies, to know who are the different international organizations
and NGOs engaged in this. If it goes through there, it'll go to the prioritized needs.
I would say, having been involved on the donor side, with Canadian International Development
Agency, we trust the prioritized system laid out by OCHA – after the tsunami, based
on the lessons of it. So Catherine Bragg can give you a list of the needs; she can also
show you which are the ones that aren't being met. I'll give you one example. The Cash for
Work opportunity, to get people cleaning things up, because it's not actually perhaps as instantly
recognizable as others, is almost completely unfunded. There's other areas – there's
needs across almost every area – but you can actually see, not only the prioritized
needs, but where the big gaps are. And, in fact, OCHA has that facility exactly to answer
the question that you had, and we had, as a development agency.
Bragg: If I could make – just to follow up on that, to give the exact information
to people so that you can follow up. If you do want to make donations, the Flash Appeal
For Haiti. The appeal itself is a consolidated appeal of I think 14 agencies, UN agencies
plus a number of NGOs. Their needs, in terms of how to respond to the situation, is itemized
into projects you can support, and they're prioritized. All the projects are prioritized.
The website is www.reliefweb.int. And there you can find the appeal. The other way that
you can do this is to go into actual donations, without going through the appeal, and choosing
a project to fund. And it's ochaonline.un.org/donationtohaiti. I will be happy to repeat it to other people
after this session.
Lynn Taliento, Partner, McKinsey, United States:
Hi, Lynn Taliento from McKinsey, and we have a team supporting Partners in Health on their
supply chain right now, and we're also engaged in discussions about how to help going forward.
If you could take us to the next step, which is, if you're a private-sector company who
doesn't want either to just give cash now for relief or wants to contribute to relief
but wants to shape its donation by conversing with somebody about how their skills or how
their assets really can contribute, both during relief and during reconstruction, how do you
go there? How do you take that next step? How should these companies interface with
this system that is coordinated but maybe not as transparent to the rest of us?
Arnold: In terms of making donations, the gentleman from Jeffries and the woman from
McKinsey – McKinsey's probably expertise more than anything else. The department of
education need your expertise straight away, and if you could get there – I'll give
you the name of the minister and his email. In terms of the gentleman from Jeffries –
schools are needed, and you either fund organizations on the ground, like the Red Cross, Concern,
or Partners in Health, but I would direct the money and say, 'This is what I want the
money to be used for'. The other thing is, we don't need more NGOs, for the most part,
in Haiti today.
And the third thing is, the work of President Clinton here, in Haiti, when it wasn't fashionable,
needs to be recognized. Because I think President Clinton has a major role, over the next five
to 10 years, in really helping this agenda to be moved right into the middle of Washington,
and also Europe.
Geleta: Let me say, we are very grateful for the generous donation of the public –
especially North America, and the public from the region, Caribbean and the Americas. It's
a very, very generous donation, and they came out to help – individually, sending
volunteers, etc. Now, in terms of the private donation, Red Cross is not included. I am
not asking for a donation right now, but Red Cross is not included in the UN consolidated
Bragg: Just very quickly – to answer the question: how could the private sector
help? First point is cash, in the actual relief response. Cash, not goods. That's our general
line, with two exceptions. Right now we're desperately in need of meals ready to eat.
Desperately, desperately in need – lots of them. Second one is we need tents.
We need lots of tents. So those are the only two exceptions that I would encourage you.
Otherwise, cash, not goods.
Participant: Or plastic tarps, with ropes.
Bragg: That would help too.
Arnold: Very briefly – I think the broad comment that Neal made about the need
to really support government capacity here is crucially important. I think necessary
short-term measures need to be put, beginning from now, in a medium to longer-term context.
That's absolutely crucial. For the gentleman who asked the question about who can spend
the money best – I could give him a very clear answer, but out of conflicts of
interest reasons, I won't.
Sheeran: And I would just say, keep the cash rolling. Don't get paralyzed. Brand names
are pretty good, because all I can tell you is Mercy Corps, World Vision, Red Cross, Red
Crescent, Tom's group – there's a lot doing good. But do it with organizations that
connect with your employees. Because you want to keep them fired up, and if they're passionate
about shelter, if they're passionate about water, go with those things.