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Office of the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery






New York, 28 November 2006: From 1-2 December, former U.S. President Bill Clinton will make his final visit to the tsunami affected region as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery. President Clinton will  visit  locations  in  Tamil  Nadu (India), Phuket (Thailand) and Aceh (Indonesia),  three of the many areas along the Indian Ocean coastline that were  affected by the December 26, 2004 tsunami that took the lives of over 200,000  people.  He is expected to complete his two-year tenure as Special Envoy at year's end.


During his tour, President Clinton will review progress in the tsunami recovery efforts over the last two years, visiting new permanent homes and schools.   He will also focus on programs that he has advocated for and coordinated over the last two years, including efforts to promote equity and empower communities to take charge of their own development, restoring livelihoods and promoting disaster resilience and disaster risk reduction.


President Clinton will be in the region both to visit sites affected by the 2004 Asian Tsunami and to tour  locations where the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS    Initiative   (CHAI)   operates.   (For   information   on   the HIV/AIDS-focused activities and country visits on the schedule, please contact the Clinton Foundation press office, at 1-212-348-0360.)


In  his  capacity  as Tsunami Special Envoy, President Clinton's will first travel  to Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, on December 1, when he will visit a badly devastated  village  to see a new housing complex constructed for fishermen whose  homes  were  destroyed  by  the  tsunami and a rehabilitated school.

Reviewing progress on disaster risk reduction, he will also visit a cyclone shelter with a newly installed early warning system and witness an early warning test and mock drill.


On the morning of 2 December, President Clinton will be in Phuket, Thailand where he will visit a small Moken (sea gypsy) community whose members have begun to rebuild their livelihoods and housing through a community driven process.   This village highlights the important efforts of the Royal Thai Government   to   address   land rights issues for Thailand’s affected communities.   President  Clinton  will  also plant a mangrove tree in this village,  to  officially  launch  the  World  Conservation  Union's  (IUCN) Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Initiative.


MFF is a multi-agency, multi-country initiative that aims to strengthen coastal ecosystems and livelihoods in the Indian Ocean region. It promotes long-term  investment  in  coastal  ecosystem  conservation  as development infrastructure,  and is initially targeting six countries badly affected by the  December  2004  tsunami:  India,  Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.


At a meeting in New York on 31 October, President Clinton welcomed the Initiative and described it as "a clear example of 'building back better', through   a   collaborative   effort   to   strengthen   the environmental sustainability of coastal development in the tsunami affected region, and to promote investment in coastal ecosystem management."


On the afternoon of 2 December, President Clinton will be in Aceh, Indonesia.  He will visit one of the barrack sites built by the Government of Indonesia to serve as a temporary home for people displaced by the tsunami.  He  will  then  visit  a  transitional  shelter  site, run by the Australian  Red  Cross  ?  an  example  of  the  extraordinary  effort by a coalition  of  international partners and the government to move all people in  Aceh  and  Nias  out  of  tents.   The Special Envoy pressed hard for implementation   of   this program, through which over 14,000 durable transitional shelters have now been constructed throughout Aceh.  The shelters are providing accommodations for those who had formerly lived in tents and are now awaiting permanent homes.  There are around 200 shelters at the site President Clinton will visit, housing around 900 people.


President Clinton will then visit a recently completed permanent school and permanent homes in a community that was devastated by the tsunami.  He will visit with teachers and students and present certificates of land title to several new homeowners in the community. Under the Reconstruction of Aceh Land   Administration   System (RALAS) Project, financed by the World

Bank-managed Multi Donor Fund, it is anticipated that some 600,000 landowners will receive titles over a three year period, giving the tsunami survivors a solid legal basis to rebuild their lives.


President Clinton  will  conclude  his visit to Aceh by meeting with local government   representatives   and   former  Aceh  Freedom  Movement  (GAM) combatants,  to  review  the  positive impact on recovery of the Aceh peace process.  The Special Envoy will deliver remarks about the progress in Aceh and the importance of sustainable efforts to build back better, of which the peace process is a crucial component.


Information for interested media


Media are invited to cover the entirety of the Special Envoy's three visits.


Media  who  wish  to cover any portion of President Clinton's final tour of the  tsunami  affected  region as UN Special Envoy are asked to contact the relevant  UN  country  press  officers  below  who  will  facilitate  their clearance,  attendance and transport and can give more specific information on the various visits.


For further information please contact:


Chennai/India:  Eva van Beek, UNV Field Reporting Officer: Tel: +91 44 42 303 551 Ext. 206; Fax: +91 44 42 303 556; Email: [email protected]


New Delhi:  India: Surekha Subarwal; Assistant Resident Representative - Communication & Advocacy Chief, UN Inter-Agency Support Unit, UNDP: Tel.: +91-11-   24628877,    +91-11-24644702;    Cell:   +91   9810153924   Fax: +91-11-24627612 Fax; Email: [email protected]


Phuket/Bangkok:  Thailand:  Nick Keyes, Media and Communication Officer, UNDP Thailand:  Tel.:  +66  (0)  2288-1814; Fax: +66 (0) 2280-4294; Email: [email protected]


Aceh/Indonesia:  Lely Djuhari, UN Press Officer: Tel.: +62 811 802 338; Email: [email protected]



              David Singh, Communication Officer, Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami


                                       Tel.: +1 212 906-6904; Mobile: +1 917 345-4374;

                                                     Email: [email protected]