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CARICOM – Haiti still needs your help

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The Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has made another impassioned plea to the international donor community to make good on their pledges of assistance towards the reconstruction of Haiti.{{more}}

In a Statement on the Recovery and Reconstruction of Haiti, issued at the conclusion of the Twenty-Second Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference in Grenada, CARICOM leaders were particularly concerned with limited resources available in the Haitian Reconstruction Fund (HRF) being overseen by the World Bank.

With the second hurricane and rainy season since the 12 January, 2010 catastrophe approaching, CARICOM Heads of Government urged the international community to “make good on their pledges,” as it was critical for the Government of Haiti to begin to clear the post-earthquake rubble and to provide shelter for the internally displaced.

The tangible support of the international community, the Heads of Government noted, was also necessary to boost the Haitian government’s institutional capacity to fulfil its responsibility to the people of the CARICOM French-speaking Member State.

The International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti, convened by the United States and the United Nations at UN Headquarters, New York, USA, in March 2010, had resulted in pledges of US$ 5.9 billion and the establishment of the HRF.

An Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), co-chaired by former United States President Bill Clinton and Haiti’s Prime Minister Honourable Jean-max Bellerive, was also established to work in collaboration with the World Bank in guiding the reconstruction process in Haiti, in accordance with an Action Plan the country had developed for its national recovery and development.

CARICOM Heads of State and Government noted that the limited flow of resources pledged to the Fund, as well as the “drastic shift” to a bilateral approach in planning to utilise its resources, did not bode well for addressing the priorities laid out by the Haitian Government in the Action Plan.

In this context, they called on the international donor community to place substantial funds in the HRF; synchronise their bilateral activities with the priorities of the Government; and maintain the integrity of the process, as was agreed at the Donor Conference.

CARICOM Heads also urged the international community to “meet their commitments to Haiti in the manner originally planned, in order to make their contributions more effective,” and to address the plight of the internally displaced in Haiti by the end of the eighteen-month life of the IHRC.

Moreover, they noted that projects being approved by the IHRC, though important, did not reflect the critical, immediate priorities and the implementation arrangements are uncertain. In this respect, CARICOM Heads of Government advised the IHRC to review its working methods, in order to ensure that the priorities of the Haitian Government were met with the urgency which their mandate required.

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