News / Americas

International Community Meets for Haiti Pledging Conference

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush speak at donor's conference for Haiti reconstruction aid
Former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush speak at donor's conference for Haiti reconstruction aid

Multimedia

Margaret Besheer

The international community meets at the United Nations this week to make financial commitments to earthquake-ravaged Haiti's reconstruction. Haitian President Rene Préval is expected to ask for some $11.5 billion to rebuild his country.

Haiti's long-term reconstruction will take years and cost billions of dollars.

The 7.0 magnitude quake that struck in January killed more than 230,000 people and left more than a million others homeless in a nation where most citizens were already living in deep poverty.

On Wednesday, Haitian President Rene Préval will present the international community with his government's needs and its plan for recovery and reconstruction.  He is co-hosting the meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  Mr. Ban has said the focus is now beginning to shift from emergency aid to longer-term reconstruction.

"I hope that this international donors conference on 31 March will be a crucially important momentum where international community express their strong solidarity and support for the Haitian government and people through very generous financial support," said Mr. Ban.

The United States and several other countries have already expressed their intention to help. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $2.8 billion to help Haiti.  Last week, the Inter-American Development Bank forgave nearly a half a billion dollars of Haiti's foreign debt.

The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) is in the lead on the donors' conference from the U.N. side.  Jordan Ryan is UNDP's director of Crisis Prevention and Recovery.  He says the hope is that the pledging conference will raise the funds necessary for the first two to three years of reconstruction.

"We do hope that we will find resources in the range of $3.5 billion, maybe a bit more, that would be able to get the early reconstruction underway," said Ryan.

And there is plenty to do.  A top priority is building transitional shelters for Haiti's more than one million homeless.  Funds are also needed for rebuilding the country's heavy infrastructure, its schools and hospitals.

Haiti's government will have the ultimate responsibility for overseeing those plans.  But it will work closely with international partners, including the United Nations, the United States and international financial institutions.

"The international community is working closely with the Haitians in developing what might be an Interim Development Commission," Ryan added.  "There's talk now, and I think it will be announced at the conference, of engagement of former [U.S.] President [Bill] Clinton as U.N. Special Envoy to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the Haitian president and prime minister in that commission."

Mr. Clinton, along with former President George W. Bush, most recently visited Haiti last week.  Mr. Clinton stressed the importance of involving a wide range of people and organizations in the reconstruction.

"The diaspora, the NGOs, all the people who have been moved by the earthquake and want to continue their involvement, and the private investment community - we have to get them all going in the same direction and we're going to try to do that," said Mr. Clinton.

Those groups will have representatives at the donor's conference who will give their assessment of what is needed for the reconstruction effort.

The money the conference hopes to raise is in addition to the $1.4 billion the United Nations appealed for earlier this year to meet emergency humanitarian needs.  Only about half those funds have been pledged.

You May Like

Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

Venezuela Tells US to Downsize Embassy Staff

President Nicolas Maduro claimed Saturday that Venezuela has detained American spies
More

Fidel Castro Finally Meets 'Cuban Five,' Spies Turned Heroes

Spies returned home as heroes after serving long prison terms in US, 73 days after last of them were freed in prisoner swap
More

Vazquez Sworn in as Uruguay President

Oncologist, 75, previously held presidency from 2005-2010; he takes leadership role from highly popular Jose Mujica, also of Broad Front Coalition
More

Venezuela: Arrested US Pilot Was Spying

Nicolas Maduro says American was caught with 'documentation'; US Embassy offers no comment
More

Video US, Cuba Make Progress in Restoring Diplomatic Ties

Friday's session focuses solely on opening embassies in Washington and Havana as quickly as possible
More

Mexico Arrests Drug Lord 'La Tuta'

Mexican federal police captured Knights Templar drug cartel leader Servando 'La Tuta' Gomez, one of the country's most wanted fugitives
More