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March 29, 10

NEWS / Ahead of donors meeting on Haiti, Ban calls for more than $11 billion in spending

29 March 2010 – The “smart” rebuilding of Haiti after January’s earthquake will require some $11.5 billion of spending over the next 10 years, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today ahead of Wednesday’s international donor meeting on the way ahead for the Caribbean country.

“That is our challenge in New York – not to rebuild but to ‘build back better,’ to create a new Haiti,” the Secretary-General said in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

More than 100 countries will take part in the International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting will be led by Haitian President René Préval, with the Secretary-General and Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of State, as co-hosts, and UN Special Envoy for Haiti, former President Bill Clinton.

The conference will be co-chaired by Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France and Spain, as the leading donors to Haiti.

Under the yet to be detailed plan, an Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission would channel nearly $4 billion into specific projects and programmes during the next 18 months, with the remaining funds spread over the next decade.

“This assistance must be well-spent and well-coordinated,” Mr. Ban said, noting that emergency relief, such as food and sanitation, must continue.

The UN and its partners have provided tents and tarpaulins to 1 million people so far, roughly 75 per cent of those in need, and will distribute some 300,000 more in the coming weeks.

The Haitian Government is now finalizing plans to relocate people from camp sites vulnerable to flooding to more secure ground, hopefully ahead of the full thrust of the rainy season.

In terms of security, Mr. Ban noted that the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is working to ensure that women and children are safe from sexual violence in the camps.

In addition to basic services, Mr. Ban said reconstructing Haiti will include a new social contract between Haiti and its people which empowers women, provides new opportunities for economic advancement and includes fair and free elections to be conducted with the UN’s help, preferably by the end of this year.

“This new partnership requires a commitment to good governance, transparency and mutual accountability – between the Government and the governed, between the public and private sectors, between Haiti and the international community.”

Mr. Ban also called for development in Haiti’s rural areas, environmental recovery, land reform, and new investment in fisheries and agriculture.

In a related development, Edmond Mulet, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said today that the Government of Haiti will be in the driver’s seat in the reconstruction and development efforts.

“For too long the international community has bypassed national and local government institutions because of their perceived and real weaknesses,” he told reporters in a press conference in New York, alongside Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Mr. Mulet noted that this is not the first time that UN Member States would meet to raise funds for Haiti, but hoped that “on this occasion we will get it right.”

When asked by journalists if they thought it was realistic that the donors’ meeting would pledge the needed funds given that the $1.44 billion revised humanitarian appeal for Haiti launched in February was still outstanding, Miss Clark said she was “optimistic of good progress.”


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