10b dollars raised for Haiti

April 1, 2010 12:00 am

, UNITED NATIONS, Apr 1 – The global community has pledged nearly 10 billion dollars for Haiti over more than three years to put the quake-ravaged nation back on its feet.

The 9.9-billion-dollar pledge from some 50 donors Wednesday includes 5.3 billion dollars for the 2010-2011 period, far in excess of the 3.8 billion that was sought by conference organizers for that period.

That target was meant to fund a 4.0-billion-dollar 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," United Nations chief 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 7.0-magnitude quake on January 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 United States and the 27-member European Union.

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 told the press conference.

The US chief diplomat, co-hosting the conference with Ban, offered 1.15 billion dollars, saying the funds 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 1.6 billion dollars announced Wednesday, brought total EU public and private aid "close to three billion dollars."

Some 138 countries, international bodies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, non-governmental organizations and Haitian expatriates took part in the one-day conference.

Officials have estimated Haiti needs 11.5 billion dollars 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 added. "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 (IHRC) tasked with overseeing the pledges.

The IHRC, which will have an 18-month mandate, is meant to give the Haitian government "influence over how and where aid is spent and will ensure that the reconstruction is well coordinated" and addresses the needs of all Haitians.

The World Bank said it would provide 479 million dollars in aid through June 2011, of which 250 million was new funding.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick called for another meeting in six months\’ time, coinciding with the annual General Assembly session in September to assess the progress.

"This is an opportunity to go from tragedy to trying to do something very differently, and the key to this is to be able to combine capable Haitian ownership with an effective donor partnership," he noted.

"To make this easier for the various donor countries, the Bank will be serving as the fiscal agent for the multidonor trust fund, that we\’ve helped set up with the other international agencies so as to try to assure stronger fiduciary controls,\’ he added.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn described the conference as "a unique occasion to try to rebuild the Haitian economy" and said the proposed Trust Fund was "the right way to move forward."

Among other key donations, Canada, a major provider of aid to Port-au-Prince, said it would also chip in with 400 million Canadian dollars (390 million US) while Brazil pledged 172 million dollars, including 15 million in direct budget support for the Haitian government.

Japan offered 30 million dollars in addition to 70 million already announced.


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