Jun 04
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Press Release

June 4, 2019

President Clinton, Secretary Clinton Announce 29 New Projects for Resiliency and Disaster Recovery at Clinton Foundation Meeting in St. Thomas
Following visits to St. Croix and St. John to advance recovery projects, President Clinton and Secretary Clinton convened over 400 international leaders at the fourth CGI Action Network meeting at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas

ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – This week, President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton convened over 400 leaders from across the Caribbean from business, government, labor, and civil society at the fourth meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery at the University of the Virgin Islands. At this week’s meeting, participants discussed the current recovery efforts in the region, progress to date, ongoing challenges, and announced 29 new projects that address critical issues such as food security, access to health care, small business support, sustainable tourism, and renewable energy. Since the Action Network was launched last year, 775 organizations have convened over four meetings to make 86 Commitments to Action.

Some highlights of the new projects announced this week include:

  • A commitment by the Virgin Islands Conservation Society to integrate the Eco-Schools disaster risk reduction curriculum to seven schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • A commitment by Nilus to bring their successful food rescue program, which minimizes food waste and establishes healthy and affordable food markets, to the Caribbean starting with a pilot in Puerto Rico.
  • A commitment by International Planned Parenthood Federation, Engineers Without Borders, and the Clara Lionel Foundation to strengthen the emergency preparedness and response capacity of local Sexual and Reproductive Health providers in the Caribbean.
  • A commitment by Solar Head of State and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to install 12 photovoltaic power systems and battery energy storage systems on key government buildings in OECS Member States and the OECS Headquarters.

Full details of the 86 Commitments to Action made through the Action Network can be found at https://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-global-initiative/commitments (link is external)

“We are here to share ideas and experiences and figure out how we can better help the entire Caribbean become stronger, safer, and more sustainable,” said President Clinton. “With the 2019 hurricane season upon us, the work of this network to ensure resilience, preparedness, and sustainability in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominica, and across the Caribbean is more urgent than ever.”

“CGI was founded on the belief that partnerships are the most effective way to meet the challenges we face – and the proof is in this meeting, with 86 Commitments to Action helping communities across the Caribbean,” said Secretary Clinton. “We are going to continue to do our part to bring unlikely partners together, and mobilize people to take action.”

This meeting comes after two days of site visits on the Virgin Islands. On Sunday and Monday before convening the meeting, President Clinton and Secretary Clinton visited several CGI Action Network projects. On St. Croix on Sunday, President Clinton and Secretary Clinton visited Lutheran Social Services and the St. Croix Foundation, highlighting progress that has been made so far and exploring opportunities to expand recovery and increase resiliency for the region. On St. John on Monday, President Clinton and Secretary Clinton visited a warehouse and a house rebuilt by Love City Strong, to showcase progress they have made building houses in vulnerable communities.

Featured participants at this week’s meeting included President Bill Clinton, founder and board chair, Clinton Foundation; former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Governor Albert Bryan, U.S. Virgin Islands; Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett, Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Virgin Islands; Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica; Prime Minister Leona Marlin-Romeo, Sint Maarten; Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes, Aruba; Premier Andrew Fahie, British Virgin Islands; The Honorable Dawn Zimmer, former mayor, Hoboken, New Jersey; Thomas Secunda, founding partner and vice chairman, Bloomberg LP; Meaghan Enright, executive director, Love City Strong; Zack Bongiovanni, head of global partnerships, emerging markets, YouTube; Aurelio Alemán-Bermudez, chief executive officer and president, First BanCorp Puerto Rico; Nikima Royer Jno Baptiste, chief executive officer, Digicel Group Dominica; Dee Baecher Brown, president, Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands; Carol Callwood, President, St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers, Local 1825; Donna Christensen, president, Christensen Institute for Community Health and Empowerment; Deanna James, president, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development; Celia Kalousek, executive director of the St. John Community Foundation; Annie Mayol, president and chief operating officer, Foundation for Puerto Rico; Ada Monzón, founder at EcoExploratorio; Xavier Mufraggi, president and chief executive officer, Club Med; Geraldine Pitt, chief executive officer, Viya; Frank Rainieri, president and chief executive officer, Grupo Puntacana; Tahseen Sayed, country director for Caribbean countries, World Bank Group; Rosa Soto-Thomas, President, St. Croix Federation of Teachers, Local 1826;Karolin Troubetzkoy, executive director of marketing and operations, Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain Resorts; Therese Turner-Jones, general manager, country department Caribbean group, Inter-American Development Bank; Sebastian Vidal, executive director, Parallel18; among others.

The Action Network, along with Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), follows the success of CGI and its Commitment to Action model. Over the years, CGI and its successors have brought together leaders from across sectors to improve the lives of more than 430 million people in 180 countries worldwide.

The Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative are grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Secunda Family Foundation for their collaboration in convening this meeting. Our work would not be possible without the generous year-round support of IBM, Swiss Re, Interenergy, and Medtronic; and meeting sponsors: Haugland Group, MEBO International, Renogy, Witt O’Brien’s, American Federation of Teachers, FirstBank, Marjorie Rawls Roberts, P.C., Island Spirit Fund, Viya, Crowley, AT&T, and Discover Fund Management. We are also grateful to the University of the Virgin Islands for hosting this Action Network meeting.

At the meeting, President Clinton and Secretary Clinton announced new Commitments to Action – solutions that are new, specific, and measurable. A summary of the 29 commitments announced at today’s meeting is below. For more details on any of these commitments, or to be put in touch with any of these organizations or their partners, please e-mail press@clintonfoundation.org (link sends e-mail).

  • First BanCorp has committed to expand 1Éxito, a program that provides small businesses and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico with financial education, technical assistance, and mentorship through intensive workshops.
  • American Red Cross (ARC) has committed to install solar and storage systems at five primary care clinics in Puerto Rico, in the municipalities of Caguas, Gurabo, Morovis, San Sebastián, and Toa Baja.
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) has committed to support the Medical Examiner’s office at Puerto Rico’s Bureau of Forensic Sciences (BSF) in reducing their caseload of medical autopsies and external examinations used to determine cause of death and administer death certificates.
  • Yes! Our Kids Can, with support from the Tim Duncan Foundation, has committed to expand its educational program to the U.S. Virgin Islands, reaching four schools across St. Thomas and St. Croix. Through this commitment, Yes! Our Kids Can will expand its program to reach twelve teachers and 252 students and their caregivers in the USVI.
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) has committed to creating an integrated capacity building program to improve humanitarian response in the Caribbean. The program will support local and regional governments in their effort to reach vulnerable populations and decrease the need for international interventions after a disaster.
  • GlobalGiving has committed to providing a $250,000 grant to St. Croix Foundation for Community Development to fund three Long Term Recovery Groups (LTRGs) in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The funding will support new disaster case managers that will support 600 families across the Virgin Islands over the course of one year.
  • Virgin Islands Conservation Society has committed to adapting the Eco-Schools disaster risk reduction curriculum for seven schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and training 14 teachers to oversee 210 students as they focus on one of the major hazards in USVI: flooding.
  • Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI), in partnership with Catchafire, has committed to design and execute an 18-month program to provide 150 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. Virgin Islands access to an online pro bono platform to support their organizational and operational needs.
  • Computer Science For All Puerto Rico (CS4All-PR) has committed to expand its work to increase equitable access to computer science education by (1) building a network to strengthen and formalize the agenda for computer science education in Puerto Rico; (2) training 24 non-computer science teachers (grades 6-12), who will commit to implementing computer science education in their classrooms; (3) formalizing their partnership with Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA); and (4) creating an Advisory Group to help sustain these efforts.
  • Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism, Inc (CHANT) and its partners have committed to expand the Building Arts Institute, a workforce development program that provides training in woodworking, stonemasonry, and historic preservation in St. Croix.
  • Nilus has committed to expand their successful food rescue program to the Caribbean, beginning with a one-year pilot in Puerto Rico, to minimize food waste and create affordable and healthy food markets for low-income people.
  • St. Croix Foundation (SCF) has committed to rehabilitating the historic Alexander Theatre in Downtown Christiansted, St. Croix, to serve as both a community disaster shelter during emergencies and a state-of-the-art performing arts center, conference space, and job training center.
  • Center for Caribbean Resilience and Sustainability (CCRS) has committed to facilitating emergency preparedness trainings for approximately 2,970 seniors in USVI to help them be better prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.
  • Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) has committed to working with Arthur Waldron Academy to introduce a pilot STEM program into the school’s curriculum.
  • Medical Professionals On a Mission, Inc. (MPOM) with support from Direct Relief, has committed to restore a medical training facility and provide equipment to train nursing students at Dominica State College.
  • The Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and International Connector have committed to establish the BVI Innovation Lab (IBL) to empower students and entrepreneurs to create meaningful, sustainable innovations to benefit the BVI and the broader region.
  • TBL Tourism (TBL) has committed to develop a social enterprise hotel in the Municipality of Loiza with the mission of harnessing the power of tourism for positive social, environmental, and economic impact.
  • Mercy Corps and its partners have committed to expand its small business mentorship program, MicroMentor, to the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, and the Dominican Republic.
  • Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), in partnership with Club Med and Pan American Development Foundation, have committed to conduct a market and value chain assessment to determine the viability of a smallholder-sourced agribusiness that connects local smallholder farmers to local buyers for selected crops in the Dominican Republic
  • FarmPod LLC in partnership with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture and V.I. Good Food Coalition has committed to installing a vertical aquaponic food production system on the Rudolph Schulterbrandt Agriculture Grounds in St. Croix to promote sustainable agriculture and provide educational opportunities to the community.
  • International Connector (IC) and the Centro para Puerto Rico at the Fundación Sila M. Calderón have committed to upgrading six Community Technology Centers (CTCs) across Puerto Rico to offer technological resources and act as community resiliency hubs.
  • Organización Pro Ambiente Sustentable (OPAS) has committed to expanding upon its current Eco-Schools Program by creating a Resilient Eco-Schools pilot program for ten schools across Puerto Rico.
  • Empowered by Light (EBL) and its partners have committed to install a resilient energy system for the Puerto Rico Emergency Operations Center (EOC), to be powered by a solar and storage microgrid.
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF) and Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB), with the support of the Clara Lionel Foundation, have committed to strengthen the emergency preparedness and response capacity of local Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) providers in the Caribbean.
  • Solar Head of State (SHOS) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have committed to develop and implement a regional strategy to install 12 photovoltaic power systems and battery energy storage systems on key government buildings in OECS Member States and the OECS Headquarters.
  • Clean the World Foundation (CWF) has committed to launch an 18-month microenterprise development, education, and preparedness project to provide dignified jobs to women, improve the health of communities, and increase the efficiency of aid delivery in future disasters.
  • Love City Strong (LCS) and its partners have committed to expand upon the Resilient Housing Initiative (RHI) by supporting 30 additional home construction projects designed to return St. John’s vulnerable residents to stable living situations, and to ensure that components of their homes are rebuilt better than their pre-storm conditions.
  • The Nature Conservancy has committed to establish the USVI Coral Innovation Hub, a nursery and replicable platform for coral restoration located in St. Croix.
  • MEBO International has committed to addressing the need for increased medical and disaster preparedness training in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by providing capacity building for 160 doctors from across the region.

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