The International Donors’ Conference for Haiti held in New York on March 31 was first of all a financial success: With more than $5 billion pledged in the short term (until the end of 2011) and $9.9 billion in the medium term, the amounts announced by the international community surpassed the needs expressed by the Haitian authorities ($3.9 billion in the medium term).
The conference was also a political success, both with respect to the high level of coordination among donors, and in its organization-in accordance with the methodology proposed by France-of five preparatory meetings with key players representing NGOs, Haitian diaspora communities, the Haitian population, the private sector and local governments. The latter were called upon to offer their vision of a more balanced type of geographic and economic development in Haiti during the conference held on March 23 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, specifically organized by France. The Haitian government presented the final version of its national action plan for the country’s recovery. In addition to the areas already identified (infrastructure, healthcare services, agriculture, etc.), the New York conference stood out as a result of the Haitian authorities’ stress on education, now presented as an absolute priority in the reconstruction process. The Haitian authorities committed themselves to launching a genuine process of political, institutional and economic decentralization.
Bernard Kouchner, the minister of foreign and European affairs, recalled the amount of France’s contribution for Haiti: about €180 million for 2010-1011, plus €40 million in transferred assets and the cancellation of the €56 million bilateral debt. A proposal providing incentives for the development of a health insurance system in Haiti was also put forth at France’s behest. This new idea, incorporated into the Conference’s final communiqué, very concretely boosts the value of French aid, which was already characterized by its support for the Haitian State’s institutional and administrative capacities (notably through assistance in developing a land registry), as well as education and culture. More generally, France played an active role during the conference, not just in its capacity as co-chair, but also through the chairmanship of the financial commitment session.
The challenge now lies in ensuring that the announced aid packages are indeed effective, through a regular audit of the amounts allocated and of the status of the many different projects and reforms that were announced. France will be particularly vigilant in this regard. As we proposed, the capitals will carry out a review every six months.
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