Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

U.S.-sponsored conference pledged billions to rebuild Haiti, but little paid out

By Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post Staff Writer Three months after donors at a U.S.-sponsored conference pledged more than $5.3 billion to rebuild Haiti, only a fraction of the money has been disbursed, and a special reconstruction commission has barely started to function, according to U.N. and aid officials. U.S. lawmakers and international aid officials have expressed mounting concern about the slow recovery of the hemisphere’s poorest country, where about 230,000 people died and about 2 million were displaced in January’s earthquake. Despite ambitious plans to “build back better,” as U.N. and U.S. officials promised, the reconstruction has been hobbled by a lack of coordination and cash and by a virtually incapacitated Haitian government, officials and experts say. The United States has not disbursed the roughly $900 million it pledged for reconstruction this year, according to the U.N. Web site […]

Most countries fail to deliver on Haiti aid pledges

By Joe Johns and MaryAnne Fox, CNN Six months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, most governments that promised money to a special fund to help rebuild the country have not delivered the cash, a CNN investigation has found. Donors promised $5.3 billion at an aid conference in March, about two months after the earthquake — but less than 2 percent of that money has been handed over so far to the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. Only four countries have paid anything at all to the commission: Brazil, Norway, Estonia and Australia. The United States pledged $1.15 billion to the commission. It has paid nothing, with the money tied up in the congressional appropriations process. Venezuela promised even more — $1.32 billion. It has also paid nothing, although it has written off some of Haiti’s debt. Former President Bill Clinton, […]

Where’s Haiti’s bailout?

By Isabel Macdonald After the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, Western leaders announced bold blueprints for building a “New Haiti.” This reconstruction, they emphasized, would be “Haitian-led,” based firmly on theprinciple of respect for “Haitian sovereignty” and carried out through “full and continued participation” by Haitians, “consistent with the vision of the Haitian people and government.” At the March 31 International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti at the UN headquarters in NYC, nearly 10 billion dollars were pledged for Haiti’s recovery. Nicholas Sarkozy–the first French president to visit Haiti since the latter won its independence from French colonial rule–proclaimed during his historic February 2010 trip to Port-au-Prince, “International aid must be massive and be there for the long term.” “Now is the time to step up our investment in Haiti,” Clinton reiterated in April at an Inter-American Development Bank meeting […]

Let Haitians implement recovery plans

By DAVID BECKMANN, Miami Herald “From Our Inbox” While the focus of attention over the past three months has been on earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, long-term reconstruction and development in the devastated island nation will be a test case for reforming an outdated U.S. foreign-assistance system. Simply stated, success in Haiti requires a completely new foreign assistance framework. We need to make sure aid is reaching the Haitian people and is delivered with greater efficiency. There is no better time than now. The United States has led coordination of the international relief effort and will likely be the biggest donor to the recovery effort. On March 31, the United States and United Nations co-hosted a high-level donors’ conference of more than 100 countries and international development organizations. The conference aimed to secure an initial $3.8 billion in international pledges […]

International Donors Conference at the UN: For $10 Billion of Promises, Haiti Surrenders its Sovereignty

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte It was fitting that the Mar. 31 “International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti” was held in the Trusteeship Council at the United Nations headquarters in New York. At the event, Haitian President René Préval in effect turned over the keys to Haiti to a consortium of foreign banks and governments, which will decide how (to use the conference’s principal slogan) to “build back better” the country devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake. This “better” Haiti envisions some 25,000 farmers providing Coca-Cola with mangos for a new Odwalla brand drink, 100,000 workers assembling clothing and electronics for the U.S. market in sweatshops under HOPE II legislation, and thousands more finding jobs as guides, waiters, cleaners and drivers when Haiti becomes a new tourist destination. “Haiti could be the first all-wireless nation in the […]

Funding Haiti’s Reconstruction

Voice of America On behalf of the United States, Secretary of State Clinton pledged $1.15 billion for Haiti’s long-term recovery and reconstruction. Photo: Associated Press Hillary Clinton and Ban Ki-Moon listen as Haitian President delivers address to the opening session of the International Donor’s Conference towards a “New Future of Haiti” With broad-based support including from its neighbors, the United States and the United Nations, Haiti was experiencing a time of stability that was ripe for economic growth when it was hit by the devastating earthquake of January 12th.  It is estimated that 300,000 people died, and more than a million lost their homes.  In just 35 seconds, the foundation for a prosperous future was dashed. The global community was generous with emergency assistance for the people and Government of Haiti.  More than 140 nations mobilized to help those who […]

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