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International Donors’ Conference Toward a New Future for Haiti
April 1, 2010

An aerial view of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, shows the devastation of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. (AP Photo)

Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release

April 1, 2010

International Donors’ Conference Toward a New Future for Haiti
Statement by Co-Hosts and Co-Chairs

1. The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, killed hundreds of thousands of people, left more than a million homeless, and caused significant damage to Port-au-Prince, as well as other cities and settlements. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the Haitian people, countries, organizations, and individuals around the world were united in responding to urgent humanitarian needs. Now Haiti is embarking on a plan to rebuild and pursue a historic opportunity to build back better, transforming the country into a vibrant and prosperous democracy that is unified and resilient. To support that effort, delegations from over 150 countries and international organizations, as well as representatives of Haitian civil society, non-governmental organizations, local governments, Haitian Diaspora and the private sector, met at the United Nations in New York on March 31, 2010.

2. The International Donors’ Conference Toward a New Future for Haiti demonstrated an international commitment to Haiti’s short and long-term recovery and yielded more than $9 billion for Haiti’s reconstruction and to support essential social services, governance and broad-based sustainable development, and to defend against natural disasters. Of this amount, more than $5 billion was pledged for 2010 and 2011. Generous in-kind assistance was also announced. All pledges, as well as the conference proceedings, can be found on the internet at www.haiticonference.org. This assistance will support the vision and Action Plan presented by the Haitian government, incorporating the results of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment. It will be delivered in a manner that strengthens the authority of the State, makes local governments more effective, builds the capacity of local and national institutions, mitigates vulnerability to future disasters, protects the environment, promotes and protects human rights and gender equality, and creates an enabling environment for the private sector and civil society to thrive, all of which are critical for Haiti’s long-term stability and prosperity. It will also reinforce mutual accountability and transparency to all Haitians and to our publics. Participants welcomed the concept of political, institutional, and economic decentralization enshrined in the Haitian vision, in order to promote more broad-based development. They took note of the proposals put forward by the local governments to that purpose. They also reaffirmed that Haitians from all walks of life must be included in the long term recovery efforts and recognized that women’s leadership and participation is critical.

3. Haiti’s short-term financing needs will also focus on protecting the most vulnerable, especially women and children, maintaining essential social services, and continuing programs in health, education and social protection. In light of the fall in government revenues as a result of the earthquake, participants agreed on the extraordinary need for budget support to the Haitian government over this fiscal year and the next to help finance critical expenses such as the salaries of civil servants and police and the operation of schools and hospitals.

4. Participants also noted the need for continued humanitarian assistance, particularly with the approach of the rainy and hurricane seasons. The shelter needs are particularly acute and require urgent action from the Haitian government and the donor community. Agriculture is another area requiring special emphasis, as it will support both food security for the Haitian people and the goal of decentralization. Disaster risk reduction will be an integral part of all efforts to build back better. Participants agreed with the Haitian government on the need to provide equal access to health services to the Haitian people.

It’s business as usual for this barber amongst the ruins where his shop once stood. (AP Photo)

5. All agreed on the importance of the private sector to catalyze sustainable economic development in Haiti and the need for strong public-private partnerships. The people of Haiti need jobs. They have expressed a strong desire to help rebuild their nation. And they have the talent and the drive to sustain economic growth in Haiti well into the future. But the Haitian people need opportunities to support their families and contribute meaningfully to the progress of their nation. In support of the Haitian people, donors have committed to use Haitian firms and workers whenever possible and to strengthen labor standards, and the Haitian government has committed to introduce reforms to make the investment climate more conducive to businesses, such as by establishing a clear land ownership policy and developing an up-to-date registry.

6. The conference also carried forward the principles agreed to at the Montreal Preparatory Conference on January 25, 2010:

7. Ownership: Participants agreed to align their assistance with the priorities and under the leadership of the Government of Haiti and to involve the Haitian people in the development and implementation of projects and programs. The participants welcomed the Haitian Government’s commitment to the establishment of an Interim Haitian Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), which will give way to a Haitian Development Authority (HDA), which will ensure leadership by the Haitian government in establishing priorities for international assistance and in coordinating, expediting, and implementing that assistance. At the same time, participants committed to assisting in building the administrative capacity of the Haitian government, which suffered devastating losses, and to supporting a smooth political transition through democratic elections as soon as possible.

8. Coordination: Participants agreed to strengthen their coordination through regular consultation and unprecedented transparency in their efforts as well as through the IHRC and HDA. They also agreed on a Haiti Reconstruction Fund, for which the World Bank will act as Fiscal Agent, to channel significant assistance resources more effectively and to enhance coordination. Participants agreed to concentrate on priority sectors in close coordination with the Government of Haiti and other donors.

9. Effectiveness: Participants and the Government of Haiti agreed to work together to ensure the effectiveness of assistance by adhering to the principles of aid effectiveness and good humanitarian donorship and to build on lessons learned.

10. Inclusiveness: The Conference highlighted the importance of holding outreach consultations with a large number of key communities, including the Haitian people, civil society, NGOs, local governments, the private sector, the Haitian Diaspora, and MINUSTAH stakeholders. These communities, as well as CARICOM and Haiti’s other partners in the region, all have a vital role to play in rebuilding Haiti. These groups have distinct perspectives and areas of expertise, as well as critical resources. The full and continued participation of women and men in shaping Haiti’s future, consistent with the vision of the Haitian people and government, must be assured, to guarantee that Haiti’s progress endures and reaches all people, and especially the most vulnerable. Participants also welcomed the contributions of those assisting in providing security, particularly under MINUSTAH’s enhanced commitment, and called for robust contributions of the security resources requested by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to ensure MINUSTAH’s continued success. Drawing from its expertise and consolidated presence on the ground, an active role should be envisaged for MINUSTAH in supporting and assisting Haiti after the earthquake.

11. Accountability and Transparency: The Government of Haiti and the participants agreed to greater accountability and transparency. Donors declared their pledges of assistance in greater detail than for previous pledging conferences. The participants also agreed to a robust internet-based tracking system to report on the delivery of their assistance and an emphasis on measuring performance and results. Donors recognized the importance of independent monitoring of the implementation of pledges. In the interest of transparency and accountability, the entire proceedings of the donors’ conference were conducted publicly with continuous coverage through web-based broadcasting. And, in the interest of transparency and accountability, the IHRC/HDA will have a monitoring and transparency unit that will be accountable to the people of Haiti and the international public.

12. Sustainability: The international community is proud to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti. Our support for Haiti will not be short-lived; we are invested in Haiti’s long-term success. Therefore, the chairs and co-chairs agreed to monitor thoroughly the implementation of the Haitian plan and of donors’ pledges, in liaison with the IFIs and the United Nations. They intend to meet at least twice a year for that purpose at capitals’ level.

13. We look forward with hope to a future for Haiti in which the damage from the earthquake has been mended; homes, buildings, and roads are rebuilt stronger than ever; better education and health systems are in place; Haiti’s economy is diversified with a broader export base and a higher revenue base to finance public services; democracy is thriving; the social, cultural and intellectual fabric of the country is restored; Haitians’ access to civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights is a reality; and all the women and men of Haiti enjoy opportunity, security, prosperity, and peace.