During a visit by its Board of Directors to Pakistan, the United Nations Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to mobilizing support from the corporate sector, private donors, and the Pakistani Diaspora community in support of the UN’s earthquake relief and rehabilitation efforts.
Building on its initial contribution of US $1 million toward UN earthquake relief initiatives, the UN Foundation established the South Asia Earthquake Response Fund to enable private sector donors to support the UN’s relief and rehabilitation efforts. The UN Foundation—in close coordination with its UN counterpart, the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships—has already raised over $400,000 from individuals and partners for the Fund and is continuing to mobilize support for the UN’s vital work.
“The victims of this disaster have turned to the UN and the international community in their time of need, and we can’t let them down,” said Ted Turner, Founder and Chairman of the UN Foundation. “Each of us can make a difference in the lives of those who have lost so much.”
From December 17-20, 2005 the UN Foundation Board of Directors visited Pakistan to meet with government leaders, including President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker, and the National Commission on Human Development.
The UN Foundation also received a briefing from the Federal Relief Commission, visited several sites in the earthquake-affected areas, including Chakoti and Muzaffarabad, and met with earthquake survivors. “Seeing how much progress has been made in the face of this disaster has made me proud to be a human being,” said Turner to a gathering at the Thori camp in Muzaffarabad.
Nafis Sadik, UN Foundation Board member and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, said, “I was really sad and devastated to see the destruction, but felt proud as a Pakistani to see how the government, military, NGOs, the UN, and the international community are working together to rebuild Pakistan.”
In addition to its earthquake relief activities, the UN Foundation has also mobilized significant funds for polio eradication efforts in Pakistan, in partnership with the Gates Foundation, Rotary International, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. Together, the partners are providing US $45 million to enable the Pakistani government to undertake, with key UN agencies, a 2006 campaign to eradicate polio.
Other Board members participating in the trip included: Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General Emeritus, World Health Organization; former U.S. Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation; and Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank. A senior UN representative, Amir Dossal, the Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, also accompanied the Board members.
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the UN. Through its grant making and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.