Remarks by Helen Clark at the Haiti Donor Conference

Mar 31, 2010

Remarks by Helen Clark, Chair of the United Nations Development Group

On the occasion of the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

Wednesday, 31 March, 2010

New York


President Préval,
Secretary of State Clinton,
President Clinton,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Central to the Action Plan just presented by Haiti’s Prime Minister today is the vision to build Haiti anew. The UN Development System will help Haiti achieve that goal.
Since the earthquake, our agencies have been among the many providing humanitarian support to Haitians under extremely difficult circumstances. 

But much remains to be done. As the rains are starting and the hurricane season is approaching, the shelter needs are especially pressing. Unless urgent humanitarian needs are met, and the revised Flash Appeal is fully funded, ensuring a smooth transition to recovery and development becomes more difficult.

The UN, together with other partners, has been supporting the Government of Haiti to quantify the recovery needs through the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment. That provided a strategic contribution to the Government’s Action Plan.

It is critical that the pledges made towards the $3.86 billion required over the next eighteen months to get recovery going are quickly fulfilled, and are additional to the emergency response. 

As we mobilise to support Haiti’s recovery, let me make five points on behalf of the UN Development Group.

First, the Government and people of Haiti must be in the driver’s seat of the recovery.  International resources must be aligned with national priorities.

The UN agencies will support strengthening of Haitian institutions, at national and sub-national levels, and support good governance.  

We will also support full engagement in the recovery of civil society and the private sector, including the Haitian diaspora. The inclusion of women at decision-making tables will be vital for lasting progress.

The UN will support short term job creation; the development of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises; and the creation of the enabling environment needed for investors to help generate sustainable employment over the long term.

Second, we will support the spread of development across the country, so that all Haitians have a chance to benefit from this recovery.  Our support will cover the provision of educational and training facilities; cash-and food-for-work programmes; and assistance for agricultural rehabilitation and production.

As part of that work, the UN will actively support the Government’s commitment to decentralize more authority to local levels.

Third, restoration of ecosystems and implementing disaster risk reduction measures must be at the core of the reconstruction. UN agencies will help to do that, including through the development of early warning systems and better watershed management.
Fourth, the UN will uphold human rights standards; the protection and empowerment of women and girls, children and young people, and other vulnerable groups. We believe that addressing persistent inequalities is vital.

With the necessary resources, we can assist the Government to develop effective social protection to combat extreme poverty; we can help improve access to education, health services, and clean water and sanitation; and we can help promote food security and nutrition.

We can also help the Government to deliver justice and security services.

Fifth, and last, co-ordination, mutual accountability and transparency are imperatives for us all. All partners in Haiti’s recovery must fulfill their commitments.

The UN has helped establish a publicly-accessible aid information management system to track aid disbursements and results in Haiti. This will strengthen national aid co-ordination efforts.

The UN is working closely with the World Bank and IADB to support the establishment of a Haiti Reconstruction Fund. We have finalized the UN component of the Fund and stand ready to help implement priority activities immediately.

Let today’s pledging conference pave the way for building back better in Haiti. With sufficient resources, the vision presented today by the Government of Haiti on behalf of Haitian people can become reality.


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