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


Josette Sheeran, Executive Director,
United Nations World Food Programme, United States: 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 now. 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 market. 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 meeting. 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 said. 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 States: 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 quickly. 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 appeal. 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.

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