The Clinton Foundation has announced the launch of a post-disaster action network in support of disaster relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean, which suffered widespread devastation from two Category 5 hurricanes in September.
Created at the invitation of the governments of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, the Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery will work to catalyze support for immediate needs in the region and secure cross-sector investments in medium- and long-term recovery efforts. With a focus on five areas — energy, infrastructure, health, education, and economic development — network members will identify areas of need where they can have the deepest impact, coordinate their work and avoid duplication of efforts, build partnerships, and share best practices and lessons learned.
The network is modeled on the foundation's Haiti Action Network, which was launched in 2008 to mobilize Clinton Global Initiative members and has generated commitments totaling more than $500 million to date. At a planning meeting earlier this week, former President Bill Clinton previewed several initial commitments, including efforts to rebuild schools and homes in Dominica, install solar power systems for healthcare clinics in Puerto Rico, and distribute remote Zika testing for pregnant women across the region.
Nearly five months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the region, about 60 percent of Dominica's and a third of Puerto Rico's residents remain without power. Last November, the Clinton Foundation announced a partnership with the Solar Foundation and other groups to help restore electricity in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean community are in need, and we must answer that call," said Clinton, who will travel next week to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica to view ongoing rebuilding efforts. "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."
The Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery's first official meeting will be held in April at the University of Miami, where representatives from businesses, government, and NGOs will share commitments to action. The network is expected to convene on a quarterly basis, with opportunities for members to coordinate across sectors and geographies throughout the year.
"Solutions to challenges always require actors from multiple sectors," Clinton Foundation CEO Kevin Thurm told Devex. "Solutions are not solely...for government, for the not-for-profit, or for the private sector. And [they are] best delivered when there is maximum coordination, understanding of what works and sometimes what does not work."
(Photo credit: Solar Foundation)