Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Almost US$10bn pledged to help Haiti reconstruct

AFP , UNITED NATIONS

The global community has pledged nearly US$10 billion for Haiti over more than three years to put the quake-ravaged nation back on its feet.

The US$9.9 billion pledge from about 50 donors on Wednesday includes US$5.3 billion for the this year and next year, far in excess of the US$3.8 billion that was sought by conference organizers for that period.

That target was meant to fund a US$4 billion action plan put forward by the Haitian government for reconstruction projects over the next two years in the poorest country in the Americas.

“Friends of Haiti have acted far beyond expectations,” UN ­Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a press conference wrapping up the meeting.

The aim of the meeting was to help the battered Caribbean country “build back better” after the magnitude 7 quake on Jan. 12 leveled parts of its capital Port-au-Prince, killing at least 220,000 people and leaving 1.3 million homeless. Wednesday’s biggest contributions came from the US and the EU.

Several dignitaries emphasized the need to follow through on the pledges, which Ban said “will be published and tracked by a Web-based system” established by the UN and Haiti.

“Reconstruction will be ­Haitian-led, inclusive, accountable, transparent, coordinated and results-oriented,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Clinton, co-hosting the conference with Ban, said the US’ offer of US$1.15 billion would go toward supporting Haiti’s plan “to strengthen agriculture, energy, health and security and governance.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told the meeting that EU contributions, including an additional US$1.6 billion announced on Wednesday, brought total EU public and private aid “close to US$3 billion.”

A total of 138 countries, international bodies such as the World Bank and the IMF, non-­governmental organizations and Haitian expatriates took part in the one-day conference.

Officials have estimated Haiti needs US$11.5 billion in aid for reconstruction over the next 10 years.

Stressing the need not to repeat past errors in helping impoverished Haiti, Clinton appealed to the world to “do things differently” this time.

“We cannot retreat to failed strategies,” she said. “We need Haiti to succeed.”

Her husband, US special envoy to Haiti and former US president Bill Clinton, said that he and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive would lead an Interim Haiti Recovery Commission tasked with overseeing the pledges.

Also See: UN cruise ship hotel is the worst-kept secret in Haiti

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