Haiti: From recovery to sustainable development

faces of two haitian women
Entrepreneurs in Haiti Photo: UNDP in Haiti

On 12th January 2010 a devastating earthquake hit Haiti. More than 200,000 people were killed, 1.5 million were displaced, and over 300,000 buildings were destroyed in the 7.0 magnitude quake.

Since then, Haiti has successfully pulled through the humanitarian recovery phase and seen significant socio-economic gains. The country has steadily boosted the net enrollment rate in primary education and achieved equal participation of boys and girls. The number of underweight children under five years old has been halved, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS has stabilized, and nearly 70 percent of households now have access to an improved source of water. Achievements like these seemed impossible in early 2010.

Yet as Haiti moves toward long-term, sustainable development, the country faces significant challenges. 60 percent of Haitians live on less than $2.50 a day.  The political system remains fragile, sustainable jobs are scarce, and the environment is still as vulnerable now as it was then.


  • More than 90% percent of the 10 million cubic debris removed from the streets and 20 percent recycled.
  • Six of the largest internally displaced persons camps have closed and 11,000 displaced families are back in their homes.
  • 5.5 million seedlings have been planted on 5,000 hectares of land to help guard against erosion and flooding.

UNDP support

UNDP is focusing on long-term support,  to help build a structurally sound, resilient and sustainable Haiti. Governance, disaster risk reduction, and environmental protection are at the heart of our work, in concert with the Haitian people, elected officials, the private sector and the international community. Through 39 projects, 335 people and an annual budget of over USD $35 million, UNDP is creating thousands of jobs and increasing its reconstruction efforts and support to community planning.

Governance and Rule of Law

Thirty percent of Haitian civil servants were lost in the earthquake, so increasing capacity and human resources for public administration is a priority. UNDP aims to boost efficiency, with a particular focus on justice, elections and regional and urban planning. In 2014, nearly 200 judges and clerks received training on gender-based violence and investigative and court registry techniques.  More than 100 electoral officials attended a workshop that explored issues of electoral administration, gender equity and access for people with disabilities in the political and electoral processes, and sustainable solutions for free, fair and transparent elections.

Additionally, over 100 women from civil society and different political factions attended a forum on Haitian women in politics, organized by UNDP and IFES, and discussed strategies to ensure women's political representation and greater flexibility in decision making

Recovery and poverty reduction

According to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) report published in June 2014 by the Haitian government and the UNDP, 44.9% of Haitian workers live on less than $1.25 a day. To reverse the trend, UNDP is working to provide technical and operational support in the area of job creation.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, UNDP launched the Laboratory for Innovation and Economic Development (IDE) Project for the training of young entrepreneurs in late 2014. Young people whose projects are selected will receive professional training in the field of business management and will be supervised by a microfinance institution in setting up their businesses.

Encouraging earthquake-affected Haitians to return safely to their home neighborhoods and resume everyday life is important to UNDP’s approach to reconstruction. Over 400,000 temporary jobs were created to give people support as they found their feet.  UNDP also supported vocational training in debris management, recycling, earthquake resistant construction and riverbank protection.

Disaster risk reduction

Haiti remains very vulnerable to disasters. Boosting resilience is a priority, and UNDP is supporting the country’s Directorate of Civil Protection to better prepare for emergencies, implement a national disaster risk management system, improve risk management and develop longer term projects that support recovery and sustainable development. In 2014, over 250 individuals from the National System for the Management of Risks and Disasters participated in the annual Joint Natural Disaster National Simulation Exercise.  UNDP has helped organize more than 20 disaster response simulation exercises across the country since 2010.


Lack of forests and the degradation of ecosystems increases Haiti’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Taking into account the significant environmental differences in regions of the country, UNDP supports Haiti in ecosystem management, focusing on drainage basins, adaptation to climate change, and adopting alternative energy sources. Under the coordination of the Departmental Directorate of the South, UNDP, with funding by Norway, supported the planting of 5.5 million seedlings on 5,000 hectares of land between 2010 and 2014.

The Climate Change Adaptation Project provided climatic hazards sensitisation sessions to over 50,000 people, and 1,000 schoolchildren were taught the concept of eco-citizenship.

Fighting AIDS and Tuberculosis

Five years after the earthquake, 192,000 people living with HIV have received antiviral therapy and almost 1 million people have been counseled and tested for HIV, helping to stabilize the infection rate.  More than 25,000 sex workers enrolled in a prevention and education program on HIV and 28 million condoms were distributed.

Since 2010, 75% of people with tuberculosis were cured and approximately 93 percent of patients with TB and HIV received treatment for co-infection.

Haiti, 2030 On the Horizon

UNDP has been working for the past five years with relevant ministries to support the transition from emergency to development.

Haiti 2010-2030: Dare the Future

A look at Haiti's future through testimonies of beneficiaries.

Haiti strides forward -Women speak

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