Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

First visit of Commissioner Piebalgs to Haiti: launch of the first EU-funded projects for reconstruction

Ethiopian Review

Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, will travel to Haiti on 23-24 April 2010, to launch the first projects for reconstruction that will be funded by the EU. This will be the first high-level EU visit to Haiti since the International Donors’ Conference “Towards a New Future for Haiti” held on 31 March in New York, during which the EU collectively pledged more than 1.2 billion euros for Haiti’s reconstruction. Commissioner Piebalgs will sign five financing agreements for projects funded by the European Commission, which will provide €460 million to the reconstruction and development of the country. These projects will focus on rebuilding of the State, infrastructures such as schools and roads, and the social sectors. Before going to Haiti, Commissioner Piebalgs will visit the Dominic Republic where he will meet with authorities of the country to discuss the situation in Haiti. In Haiti, he will meet with Haitian President Préval and Prime Minister Bellerive, as well as with representatives of the private sector and NGOs, who are key actors for thereconstruction . The Commissioner also intends to visit two refugee camps whilst in Haiti,, and to discuss with Member States and main international donors on how best to coordinate programming of international aid.

On the eve of his visit, Commissioner Piebalgs stated: The EU is the first donor for Haiti’s reconstruction on the global scene. I am now travelling to Haiti to ensure the Haitian people that the EU will deliver on its promises. The future of Haiti lies in government and people’s hands. And I want them to know that Europe will be a determined partner for the coming years. I’m really satisfied by the coordination of Member States and the Commission until now. We have been able to establish a joint action plan for thereconstruction and development of Haiti. I will ensure that such coordination will be maintained at EU, and hopefully at international level. This is the only way to make aid effective and swift. ”

Commissioner Piebalgs’ mission to Haiti underlines once again Europe’s solidarity and marks a transition from humanitarian aid to longer termreconstruction. Commissioner Piebalgs will also underline the need for a long term strategy over the next 10 years to ensure a sustainable development of Haiti. In this context, he will sign 5 financing agreements for a total amount of more than 200 million euros, which will focus support on infrastructure, the social sectors and governance.

During his visit, Commissioner Piebalgs will:

inaugurate the construction site of the “administrative city” which will replace the old buildings housing the Haitian State institutions which were destroyed in the earthquake.

open the first part of the reconstruction of national road no 3 providing a crucial link between Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien, second biggest city of Haiti.

lay the first stone of the reconstruction of a school in Mirebalais.

visit two refugee camps

Following the 22 March Council conclusions, the EU Member States and the European Commission will support a joint EU approach in Haiti linking relief to rehabilitation and development. This approach is underpinned by a commitment to joint programming to enhance aid effectiveness and promote an effective division of labour. The process will include the adoption of a new Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme for Haiti.

The background:

On 12 January 2010, a huge earthquake (magnitude 7) hit Haiti, killing an estimated 230,000 people, injuring some 300,000 and leaving over a million homeless.

The International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti was held on 31 March at UN HQ in New York, with over 150 representatives and co-hosted by the US and UN.

The Government of Haiti presented its “Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti” which set the needs for the next 18 months at US$3.9 billion.

Donors pledged US$5.3 billion in support of the plan for the next 18 months, and a total of US$9.8 billion over the long-term.

The overall EU pledge, presented by the High Representative Catherine Ashton, was €1.235 billion. This single EU pledge comprised of contributions from 18 Member States, theEuropean Commission and the European Investment Bank. The European Commission’s share of this pledge was € 460 million.

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