Haiti Donor Conference Calls For Aid Pledge Delivery, Focuses On Need For Political Stability
At a donor summit in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, Haitian President Rene Preval called on donors to follow through on their aid pledges, Al Jazeera reports. So far, "only Brazil has delivered" on its commitment of $55 million (6/3). "Two months after more than 140 nations pledged $5.3 billion toward Haiti's reconstruction over the next two years and $9.9 billion over the next decade, little of the money has arrived," according to the Miami Herald (Charles, 6/3).
Ninety international delegations attended the summit, which is the "first session of the committee led by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive," the Associated Press reports. Part of the agenda focused on "40 priority projects including housing, free-trade zones, electricity, institutional strengthening, education and agriculture," the news service writes (6/2). The summit "was aimed at extracting more of the pledged money, defining reconstruction projects and deadlines, as well as reassuring donor countries that the World Bank would oversee the process to minimise embezzlement and corruption," Al Jazeera writes (6/3).
U.N. and Haitian officials discussed the importance of political stability, according to the Miami Herald. Edmond Mulet, head of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, said, "Tangible change must be felt by the men, women and children living in desperate conditions in the camps in order to avoid this discontent being transformed into social and political instability." Mulet said it was essential for the international community to support the nation's political stability. Without it, "the efforts deployed by the Haitian government or the international community will not bear fruit,'' he said.
Preval "echoed those sentiments" the Miami Herald writes, adding that "opposition forces have tried to rally the masses to call for Preval's resignation." Preval said, "Haiti needs a systematic anti-seismic defense. It's called democracy ... Without political stability, without democracy, our project is doomed to fail.'' He noted his desire to step down on February 7 and said Haitians should get ready for elections.
Former President Bill Clinton called for more coordination and spoke of the need to ensure projects fit with Haitian priorities. "It's their recovery plan because it's their country,'' he said (6/3).
In related news, NPR's "All Things Considered" examines the rebuilding effort on the ground. "Haiti's recovery from the devastating January earthquake is proceeding slowly. Aid workers and government officials say it's clear that some of the almost 2 million people displaced by the quake will be living in 'temporary' shelters for another year or more. Outside the capital, the recovery is progressing faster, but the task ahead remains huge." The piece includes quotes from a local Haitian who lost family in the quake and an ex-Canadian soldier who is overseeing USAID contractors in Haiti (Beaubien, 6/3).