New U.S.-Haiti pact supports Haitian stability, economic growth
By Eric Green
Washington — The United States will participate in another international donors� conference for Haiti, scheduled for November 29 in Madrid, Spain.
A State Department official told the Washington File October 12 that the Madrid conference will discuss technical and coordination issues related to the financial aid being provided by the United States and other donor nations and multilateral groups to Haiti.� The conference will focus on �stocktaking� of progress being made to bring stability and security to Haiti, said the official from the department�s Office of Caribbean Affairs.
At a previous donors� conference for Haiti, held July 25 in that nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince, the United States pledged almost $210 million over the next year to help in Haiti’s economic recovery.
Thomas Shannon, State Department assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said at the July conference that the United States has disbursed more than $390 million to Haiti in the two years since a donors� conference for Haiti was held in Washington in July 2004.� At the 2004 conference, the United States pledged $230 million but since has gone far beyond that commitment.� (See related article.)
A new three-year agreement signed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with Haiti continues efforts by the United States to support the Caribbean nation�s progress toward stability and growth.
In an October 11 statement announcing the agreement, USAID said the pact commits $53 million of fiscal year (FY) 2006 funds in agency assistance programs to Haiti.� USAID said these funds are part of an overall agreement with Haiti covering the next three years from FY 2007-FY 2009 that are estimated to amount to up to $492 million.
The agreement was signed September 15 in Port-au-Prince.� Signing for the United States was U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson and USAID Mission Director to Haiti Paul Tuebner.
The agreement calls for USAID to partner with Haiti’s government to help meet the basic needs of the Haitian population.� The agreement will help expand employment and improve �sustainable� livelihoods, increase access to social services and reinforce the rule of law and good governance in Haiti.
USAID said the United States is the world’s largest single-country donor to Haiti and also the Caribbean nation’s biggest trade partner.� The United States “is committed to work with Haitian citizens and their government over the long term to address the country’s many challenges and provide hope and opportunity to all Haitians,” said USAID.
USAID official Adolfo Franco said in September 28 testimony before the U.S. Congress that generating jobs in Haiti is key to the country’s long-term success.
Franco, USAID’s assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, said the U.S. strategy to help reduce political tensions and violence in the most volatile and desperate areas of Haiti is to undertake quick, visible projects that “constructively” engage local residents, especially youth.
The U.S. focus is to help peaceful civic groups in Haiti work with local authorities and play a “lead role in moving” downtrodden communities “beyond conflict,” Franco told the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.�