Sean Penn lends support to new roadmap for Haiti

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Sean Penn greets the Secretary-General with Maria Bello

Two years after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, the country is ready to move from an emergency to a long-term development phase, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Actor, director and philanthropist Sean Penn is one of the people who rushed to the scene shortly after the disaster struck and has been a constant advocate for the reconstruction of Haiti..

His NGO, J/P Haitian Relief Organization has joined forces with UNDP and other charities to begin to rebuild the country.

Speaking to UN Radio’s Leda Letra, Sean Penn explains the importance of working closely with the national institutions in order to be more effective on the ground.

I think in the sense that the people and the leadership are aligned, and that there's a leadership that's decisive, but I was indicating with something very simple that you had a willing committed leadership and with very clear vision. And so it just takes the coordination of that with the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the kind of cultural shift that requires a re-embracing of trust and a reinvention of it in some case because there's been and I think not out of bad intentions and despite some levels of incompetence on both sides that now we're at a point where there's a re-embraceable sense of trust that allows us to do what we're supposed to do which is to be there in a support position and to do that we're going to have to listen to the government.

This week is the most important week of the year for the United Nations with the high level meetings of the General Assembly what would be your message for the world leaders that will be reunited here?

Well, I think the message is just to bring the light back on to a situation where the earthquake of Haiti that brought so much tension to it is really a poverty earthquake that hit long before that. And in many of the ways, that it brought enormous instant attention to a problem that was eating up a lot of resources of NGOs and others committed without that support. It also kind of put undue claim on it as an emergency reaction in the sense of it being specific to the earthquake and that now the sustainable programs have to be pursued with that same vigor.

It's been almost three years since the earthquake you've been deeply involved with the country. Is Haiti now your second home?

Well, I don't know what the term second home means. Every time I talk about it in any kind of terms like that, the next thing I know I'm reading reports of, you know, buying a house or this or that. So, Haiti is a place that I am very honored to be working in a place I love very much.

Duration:  2’23″

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