Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very sorry not be present with you all today, on the occasion of this meeting
organised in solidarity with my country, the Republic of Haiti, which was so severely
impacted by a violent earthquake on 12 January.
The opening of this session on 18 May has special significance for us Haitians as it
coincides with our National Flag Day celebration.
I would like to thank the organisers for having planned this event, in a European context
marked by rather sombre economic prospects.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 48 seconds, life was extinguished in Haiti. The afternoon of 12 January 2010 took with
it nearly 300,000 lives, left one million homeless and destroyed nearly all of the buildings
in the capital, Port-au-Prince, including the Presidential Palace, the Parliament and the
Courts of Justice. Other cities, including Léogane, Jacmel and Petit-Goâve, were also
severely affected. The total losses have been estimated at around 8 billion dollars, which
represents, according to experts, 120% of the GNP of Haiti in 2009.
The earthquake of 12 January had incalculable consequences, damaging the efforts and
progress made in previous years by Haitian authorities to put Haiti definitively on the
path towards development. Before 12 January, the application of the National
Development Plan had encouraging results: the establishment of a stable political
climate, the reestablishment of security, and macroeconomic stabilization. There was a
massive influx of foreign investors exploring investment opportunities in Haiti during
2009. The British authorities had also lifted the travel ban on English tourism to Haiti.
The principal challenges faced by the Government were – and still are – bringing
together elements needed to reconstruct and establish a functioning State. With the
meagre human, financial and material means at our disposal, and thanks to the large
international mobilization, notably from France, the Government has been able to
manage the situation.
The conference in New York on 31 March marked a real watershed for the new Haiti, not
only through the quality of the Haiti Recovery and Development Plan presented by the
Government, but also through the large generosity shown by our friends and donors.
“More than 5 billion dollars in the short term (until end 2011) and 9.9 billion dollars in
the medium term” were promised.
The vision of the Government can be summarized in 4 strategic areas:
Institutional reconstruction, which requires identification, planning and management of
new development hubs; stimulation of local development; reconstruction of affected
areas; putting in place the infrastructure needed for growth; and, financial management
which will protect property and facilitate advancement of major projects.
Economic reconstruction to support key sectors of the Haitian economy and target
modernisation of the agricultural sector, particularly areas amenable to exports, such as
tuberous fruits, animal husbandry and fishing, with the objective of attaining food
security; development of a professional construction sector with earthquake and
hurricane preparedness laws and regulations and functioning control and inspection
structures in place; pursuit of activity in the manufacturing sector; and, development of
the tourism sector.
Social reconstruction to ensure access to school for all children; to offer adequate
professional and university education, in line with the required modernization of the
country’s economy, a health system that will ensure wide coverage across the entire
territory, and social protection for workers and the most vulnerable.
Institutional reconstruction, which will reactivate state institutions; redefine the legal
framework; put in place a structure to manage Reconstruction and establish a culture of
accountability and transparency – an important element in the struggle against
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the Government’s strategic framework, the whole of Haitian society must converge to
achieve these shared goals. On our own, it will be difficult for us to achieve them. To
succeed, we count on the active solidarity of the international community, notably our
European friends, including Great Britain, and their civil society.
I thank you and wish you much success for the two days of this meeting.
EMBASSY OF HAITI IN FRANCE