Convened by former United States President Bill Clinton, the United Nations tsunami recovery envoy, key players in the reconstruction of areas devastated by last year’s giant waves today endorsed stepped-up measures to improve transitional shelters, replace livelihoods and build local government capacity.
“Nine months after the devastating tsunami, we must sustain and strengthen our collective efforts at recovery throughout the region,” Mr. Clinton said at a meeting in Washington of his Global Consortium on Tsunami Recovery that included World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, heads of UN agencies, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), members of the non-governmental (NGO) community, and ministers and senior representatives from the affected countries and donor countries.
“While much of the attention of the world is focused elsewhere, the affected Asian governments are really only beginning a long and complex reconstruction process. We will continue to stand by them,” he pledged. “We must tackle the tough issues with the same determination and drive that characterized the immediate aftermath to the crisis,” he added.
Mr. Clinton applauded progress made to date, including the establishment of national recovery plans; the commitment of governments to develop transparent, on-line financial tracking systems and common indicators to track the recovery effort; and progress on a region-wide early warning system that is expected to be up and running within a year.
At the same time, he said, logistical and capacity constraints continue to impose serious challenges to recovery. In India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia thousands of teachers and civil servants lost their lives in the tsunami and critical transport systems and other infrastructure were destroyed in those countries, as well as in the Maldives and Thailand. In Aceh, which experienced the greatest loss of life, tens of thousands of displaced persons are still living in inadequate facilities and have little or no access to jobs.
In response, the Global Consortium members have endorsed a plan of action for to improved transitional shelters, provide more micro-credit and other vocational programmes, and increase the cadre of Government personnel at the district, sub-district and village levels engaged in reconstruction. The plan would also widen the definition of beneficiaries to take into account, for example, people displace by conflict in Aceh and Sri Lanka.
The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), other agencies an institutions and a range of NGOs will coordinate with local governments on the proposed programmes.