More than 50 countries and institutions pledged $5.3 billion Wednesday to help Haiti jumpstart its reconstruction from January's earthquake over the next 1 1/2 years. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who co-hosted the donors' conference along with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Haitian President René Préval, said their actions far exceeded expectations.
The conference set out to raise about $4 billion for Haiti's immediate reconstruction needs, but as the U.N. Secretary-General pointed out, they did even better. "We can report very good news. Member states of the United Nations, and international partners, have pledged $5.3 billion for the next two years and $9.9 billion, in total, for the next three years and beyond," he said.
A large part of that came from the United States, which pledged $1.15 billion and the European Union, which promised $1.6 billion.
Mr. Ban said the pledges are the down payment Haiti needs for wholesale national renewal. But he urged donors' to implement their promises. "We must make sure Haiti gets the money it needs when it needs it. And we must guarantee that it is well-coordinated and well-spent," he said.
The money will go to rebuild Haiti's devastated infrastructure, to create new jobs, and to put the country on the path to sustainable development. To finish that massive task, it is expected to take 10 years and more than $11.5 billion.
Conference co-chair, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said donors signaled a new level of global commitment, coordination and cooperation, as did Haiti's government. "We heard from [Haitian] Prime Minister [Jean-Max] Bellerive a road map for building a new Haiti; A Haiti with a vibrant private sector, accountable and effective government institutions, and international partners that would be working with Haiti -- not separate and apart from Haiti," she said.
Haitian President René Préval expressed his thanks and said the Haitian people and government would do their part to make Haiti's reconstruction a success.
To see individual pledges, go to: www.haiticonference.org