Press Releases

    17 March 2005

    Secretary-General Appoints Erskine Bowles as Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery

    NEW YORK, 16 March (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Erskine Bowles today as the Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery.  Mr. Bowles will support former President Bill Clinton in his capacity as the United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery.  The Secretary-General announced President Clinton’s appointment last month.

    “The tsunami crisis had an enormous impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people”, said Secretary-General Kofi Annan.  “The United Nations will greatly benefit from Mr. Bowles’ extensive experience in international affairs and his deep commitment to ensuring that the world does not turn its back on the tsunami victims.”

    “When I accepted the position of Special Envoy, I decided right away that I wanted Erskine Bowles at my side for this crucial mission”, said President Clinton.  “He has the right combination of mind and heart for the job, and I know he’ll make a real difference in the success of our efforts.”

    The Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery was created last month at the request of the General Assembly in an effort to sustain global attention and cooperation in the long-term recovery and reconstruction effort of the region.  At the time of the announcement of President Clinton’s involvement, the Secretary-General stated he believed that “no one could possibly be better qualified for this task”.

    At the request of President Clinton, Mr. Bowles will leave for the region today to see first-hand the impact the tsunami has had on people’s lives and to assess how the global humanitarian community has responded to this unprecedented natural disaster.  He will consult with a wide range of partners -- from government, United Nations agencies, civil society groups and the business community -- to solicit ideas on how the Office of the Special Envoy can best assist in the recovery effort.  Mr. Bowles will also attend the Asian Development Bank conference in Manila on 18 March.  The meeting aims to provide a forum for regional coordination and information sharing to ensure that recovery efforts are effective.

    Following Mr. Bowles’ visit to the region, President Clinton will convene a meeting of United Nations agency heads in New York to discuss the status of their work on tsunami recovery.

    Born and raised in North Carolina, Erskine Bowles received an MBA degree from Columbia and began a successful career in investment banking.  In 1993, President Clinton named him as head of the United States Small Business Administration, and he went on to become the President’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff.  Among his accomplishments at the White House were helping to coordinate the Government’s response to the Oklahoma City bombing, negotiate the first balanced federal budget in nearly 30 years and extend health insurance to millions of children.  In 2002 and 2004 Mr. Bowles was the Democratic Nominee for the United States Senate from North Carolina.

    With two sons diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and a father and sister who suffered from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Erskine Bowles has been active in causes promoting care and treatment for people with juvenile diabetes and ALS.  He has served as president of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and encouraged the creation of an ALS treatment facility in North Carolina.

    Press Contact:
    Jehane Sedky-Lavandero,
    Tel.:  212-326-7269, e-mail:

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