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Felix von Geyer, New York, 13th April 2005 Sustainable Development International

UN Secretary General, Kofe Annan appointed ex-President Bill Clinton as the UN's Special Envoy to oversee the Indian Ocean and South East Asian disaster relief, with wider implications for diversified economies and equity distribution of inetrest to many countries who come under the umbrella of 'Small Islands and Developing States'.

He stated that it is now one hundred days since the Tsunami disaster struck and that the world had responded amazingly to the appeal for funds. The appointment was coupled with an announcement that a high profile figure is now required to be special envoy and to lead the UN effort in the affected countries in order to ensure the international community does see through the reconstruction vital to the fate of the survivors and their communities.

Mr Annan stated that the role required overseeing all those involved in the recovery and reconstruction, from government agencies, NG Os? and financial institutions, ensuring that the money reached those who need it most. He also stressed the need for former President Clinton to establish a prevention mechanism for future disasters, particularly in the Indian Ocean Countries and South East Asia.

Mr Clinton reiterated many of these points, stressing that the relief effort was now in a mid-point between relief in terms of providing medication and water to the need for recovery and the rebuilding of homes, sanitation and hospitals.

Mr Clinton pointed to the need to involve the international community, not only at government level, but also with NG Os? to prevent such disruptions occurring again in the future. Furthermore, in developing best practice for such a mechanism, this would need to become an available model for the UN and globally. Here, Mr Clinton referred to many themes pertinent to sustainable development as a whole, the need for equity distribution and diversified economies in order to mitigate the negative effects of losing one's home, a family member or, even, one's business. The need to restore tourism in this region was also noted as being of imminent concern.

Mr Clinton then described the critical functions of his job as being accountable to the UN secretary General and institutions such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and NG Os? to assure the money was accounted for and well-spent, avoiding unnecessary delays and organised around the individual country plans of those states affected.

Interestingly, in answering further questions, Mr Clinton stated that the United States should be interested in the United Nations and the positive role that the USA can play in the world, not defining who their enemies are. This seems to be a veiled criticism of the controversial appointment by President Bush of John Bolton as the US Ambassador to the United Nations who has been perceived by many for believing the role of the United Nations is unimportant in the world.