AMBASSADOR SUBASINGHE SPEAKS AT ROUNDTABLE
ON POST-TSUNAMI CHALLENGES FOR CHARITIES AND DONORS
AT THE ASPEN INSTITUTE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON DC
Discusses role of private philanthropy
with corporate leaders, policymakers, scholars,journalists and
nonprofit relief agencies in responding to the Tsunami disaster
The Aspen Institute headquarters in Washington D.C. convened
a roundtable discussion on February 1, 2005 in Washington D.C.
on the important role of private philanthropy and non-profit relief
agencies in responding to the Tsunami disaster. The event was
co-sponsored by the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy program
and the Global Interdependence Initiative of the Aspen Institute.
President and CEO of the American Red Cross Marsha Evans, Under-Secretary
General for Humanitarian Affairs and Humanitarian Relief Coordinator
for the United Nations Jan Egeland, Executive Vice President and
Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Foundation Kathy
Bushkin, President and CEO of The Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson,
Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe and, Director of Public Policy
and Advocacy for World Vision U.S. Serge Duss, were the featured
speakers at the event.
Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe speaking at the forum underlined
the effective collaborative role played by the NGOs in the relief
efforts in the immediate aftermath of the recent Tsunami. Bringing
together the NGO experience, technical skills and resources added
tremendous value to the Tsunami response which was a complex one
given the magnitude of the disaster.
Highlighting that the tremendous outpouring of US private support
for tsunami relief to humanitarian agencies was now estimated
at over US $800 million, Ambassador Subasinghe mentioned that
effective coordination between Government, donor agencies and
non-profits was essential in the reconstruction phase to avoid
duplication of efforts and to maximize efficiency. He underscored
the importance of coordination between non-profits and, developing
mechanisms to effectively utilize contributions from private donors.
The Ambassador proposed that NGO interventions in the next phase
aim at reviving markets and livelihoods through activities such
as cash-for-work programs to create a demand for goods and services.
Underlining the critical need to help affected families rehabilitate
their lives, Ambassador Subasinghe further proposed that NGOs
should also aim at re-starting social services at the local level
that include schools, primary health care clinics, water treatment
In his concluding remarks, the Ambassador urged individuals,
corporations, foundations and philanthropies to stay engaged in
the long-term recovery effort which will cost Sri Lanka U.S.$
1.8 billion to rebuild damaged infrastructure and replace destroyed
assets. He also asked the newer NGOs who participated in the Tsunami
relief effort for the first time, to be especially attentive to
local sensibilities and sensitivities in carrying out their particular
missions given the complex socio-cultural complexion of affected
Among those present were some 30 other non-profit and corporate
leaders, policy makers, scholars and journalists who also participated
in the discussions.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
01 February 2005