International Efforts Turn To Re-Building Haiti

Posted by Cari Enav
March 26, 2010
Two Men Rebuild Home in Port-au-Prince

About the Author: Cari Enav serves as the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Office in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO).

The devastating impact of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti brought an immediate outpouring of generosity from countries around the world. These resources helped provide vital assistance to meet Haitians' needs for food, water, and emergency shelter. That assistance is still urgently needed, but Haitian leaders and the international community have also turned their attention to the need to rebuild. The project will be vast, and take years, but one principle must be followed -- when we rebuild, we must rebuild for resilience. Future generations in Haiti must not face this level of destruction when the next disaster strikes.

To address the objective to build back Haiti better, over 100 scientists, engineers, academics and policymakers from around the world attended a March 22 -23 workshop entitled "Rebuilding for Resilience: How Science and Engineering Can Inform Reconstruction in Haiti." The goal: to produce a clear set of recommendations to guide the reconstruction of Haitian communities so that they are more resilient not just to earthquakes, but also to floods, landslides, and hurricanes.

The White House Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction convened the workshop, hosted by the University of Miami; sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR); and organized by organized by the IRIS Consortium, with support from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Haitian Minister for Environment Jean-Marie Claude Germain encouraged the international community's efforts during his keynote speech. UN/ISDR Assistant Secretary-General Margareta Wahlstrom spoke on behalf of that community along with high-level representatives not only from the United States but also from Italy, Japan, and Mexico.

The workshop featured panels on assessing Haiti's hazard and risk; lessons learned from other nations' rebuilding efforts; strategies for achieving disaster risk reduction; and of course plans for rebuilding Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas. The resulting set of recommendations is currently being analyzed by international experts and will contribute to the conversation at the March 31 Haiti Donors' Conference in New York -- where the United States, the United Nations and the international community will encourage continued support to Haiti, where resources are still desperately needed. Initial recommendations can be found at www.state.gov/p/io.

Comments

Comments

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
March 28, 2010

Joe in Tennessee writes:

The goal: to produce a clear set of recommendations to guide the reconstruction of Haitian communities so that they are more resilient not just to earthquakes, but also to floods, landslides, and hurricanes

How about a realistic set of organizational directives that lift the people up and represent them, rather then continued external dependency? How many of the two million people who can be put to use in rebuilding are actually rebuilding or part of the developemnt? That is four million hands, more than built the Prymids of Gaza.

Haiti has a chance to show what can be done, not repeated. It is the people who are important and need self dependency.

Only Americans would keep builing on sand because they can afford to, as in Caifornia.

Alina M.
|
California, USA
March 28, 2010

Alina L. in California writes:

I would recommend that you enlist the government of Jordan to provide some guidance. That government absorbed the Palestinian refugees from Israel since 1948 through 1955 and has built housing which I would imagine would withstand earthquakes.

OysterCracker
|
United States
March 28, 2010

Oyster C. in U.S.A. writes:

I was thinking that a medical supplies industry in Haiti could really help both Haiti and the USA. If wheelchairs,hospital beds, diapers etc. could be manufactured cheaply the prices for much needed equipment and supplies would drastically drop thereby saving the USA and the world a lot of money over time. If America were able to provide factory facilities and raw material in a joint Haiti -USA venture, a solid industry could be quickly up and running. The money earned could be funneled back into Haitian schools, higher education and university scholarships for Haitian doctors and engineers to study in the USA. An industry based on a sustained feed back loop would eventually be self sustaining and would crank out a highly skilled work force year after year. Establishing a medical and buillding supply industry would quickly offer employment and stability to Haiti.

Haitian-American C.
|
Florida, USA
March 28, 2010

HACC in Florida writes:

“The Promise of Haiti” is a vision of the former French jewel of 200 of years ago, once the world’s wealthiest colony. Wealth built on slave labor which turned out generous bounties of sugar, rum, rice, coffee/cacao, etc... -And the subsequent fight for independence gained through a slave revolt in 1804.

The “Promise of Haiti” is Haiti’s unfinished plight towards economic independence and self-sufficiency.

The need for dialogue, inclusive engagement and the importance of partnership between the US Government and Haitian-Americans.
Haitian-Americans hope the US Government is finally listening

The glass is not half-empty, it is still half-full.

The fact that Haiti now imports 80 % of its food, even though 70% of its labor force works directly in the agricultural sector, that 50% of Haiti’s annual trade deficit stemmed from imports of sugar, rice and poultry/egg and yet represent foods that Haiti can grow itself. These industries have lost 891,000 jobs from Trade Programs implemented 20 years, have existing, operational mills/companies in need of investments for capacity expansion and optimization.
These companies can contribute towards food security, job creation and introduce affordable and accessible green energy/electricity. Haiti can feed itself.

“The Promise of Haiti” is about Private Sector Development, Investments and Initiative

Haiti does not have to be, nor remain a welfare state. That Haiti, - with aid and remittances, - and the right political will, financial and technical assistance could successfully become a viable and self-sustaining economy again.

Haitian-Americans seek to present an alternative option other than the one implemented for the past 20 years by Haiti’s international actors, for which Haiti can show nothing.

“The Haiti Private Sector Program

The “Promise of Haiti” reiterates long-term Haitian economic success tied to the creation of partnerships between viable financing partners and responsible investors.

The implementation of a Haiti Private Sector Initiative to include Small and Medium Business Enterprise (SME) Program is a direct response to nearly non-existent financing/credit, lack of investment funds, and limited small/medium business entrepreneurial development, the traditional backbone of a viable economy.

A Haiti Private Sector Program will encourage INNOVATION and OPEN COMPETITION to benefit the overall Haitian economy. The Program should also recognize that genuine Haitian Economic Recovery includes a focus on:

â–  Public-Private Partnerships (or PPP's)
â–  Agricultural Development
â–  Renewable Energy Development (to include agricultural/energy nexus)
â–  Rebuilding/Reconstruction post-earthquake
â–  Security and Health (not addressed in this paper)

Solutions: The Haiti Private Sector Program to JUMP-Start the Haitian Economy

1. Fast-tract Project Financing/capitalization of foreign investments in Haitian and of viable local companies
2. Facilitation of U.S. and foreign business [investment] establishment in Haiti
3. Provision of adequate and affordable credit towards capacity expansion for local companies
4. To streamline International (IDB, OPIC, IFC, EXIM, etc…) loan application to funds disbursement process from the current 8 months to 30 - 60 days in partnership with local Haitian Banks.
5. To adopt/adapt/implement the example of the Export/Import Bank’s successful partnership with HSBC Wells Fargo outsourcing strategy to Haiti.
6. To work with US and Haiti firms towards Reconstruction/Rebuilding Haiti in partnership.
7. To assist the GOH to address, streamline and fix the bureaucratic challenges detrimental and discouraging to foreign investments in Haiti

The Haiti Private Sector Program should consider specific solutions, interests and/or projects for Fast-Track Implementation to meet Haiti’s immediate needs.

To jump-start the Haitian economy, the Program should prioritize enterprises with existing assets and sustainable economic activities.

The Haiti Private Sector Program should be implemented immediately. Priorities should be afforded to Agricultural/Reforestation/Conservation, Rebuilding/Reconstruction to include infrastructure and Renewable Energy sectors to create the foundation towards the building of a healthy economy, with optimum opportunities to create jobs, contribute to food and energy security, to redress the dismal state of the environment,to raise the standard of living and encourage foreign investments.

The Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of NY and Florida

Regine B.
|
United States
April 8, 2010

Regine in U.S.A. writes:

Requested Amendments to Haitian Private Sector Encouragement Act of 2010:

The "Haitian-American Enterprise Fund', should be a financial vehicle directed specifically towards the Haitian-American Diaspora and U.S/Haiti Business partnerships for the primary purpose of stimulating investments in Haiti. U.S Diaspora and U.S/Haiti Business enterprises should be prioritized as the main beneficiaries of this financial stimulus due to the US, to include US Diaspora participation in financially furbishing the proposed fund as U.S citizens with tax obligations

Consideration should be given to a funds management partnership to include the Bush/Clinton Fund, USAID in conjunction and/or partnership with organizations like OPIC, as well as reputable and experienced local financial institutions.

There is also the potential to increase the fund itself, - and/or use the original fund amount as seed money; - Which can then be increased to 3x the original amount.

Program description: The Capitalization of Private Sector to include program designed to meet a business's key financing needs, -such as:

- debt financing (loans)
- equity financing (investment/seed money)
- surety bonds
- insurance Coverage
- provision of low-cost interest loans and affordable insurances, - - to include mortgages, insurances, etc… for
rebuilding/construction

NGOs with definite 5 year plans to contribute towards economic self-sufficiency should be included; Further, the following should be considered:
-1. exact definition of an SME, - which may not mean the same in the US as it does in Haiti.

-2. Large scale businesses should be explicitly included in the bill, - as they represent the fastest means of job creation through capacity expansion, - with existing businesses afforded the experience necessary to grow expeditiously.
For example: the garment sector, where an individual company commonly can employ 300 to 1000 or more people,- should be able to be capitalized to potentially employ 10,000 people or more.

The same example can be said with agri-businesses, tourism, energy/renewable energy, construction, etc.... Since large companies can contribute significantly to the real development of Haiti. Therefore, the bill should include a definite set-aside for the capitalization of large-scale businesses, - with the balance capitalizing Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs)

-3. The Section 2 portion of the bill should have more specific inclusionary language:

Specify the definite inclusion of the Haitian-American Diaspora and Haitian/US Business partnerships to:

(a) encourage US investments,
(b) capacity expansion,
(c) Assist and support local enterprises, to include US Investments with necessary financial, technical expertise and experience in entrepreneurial activities, enterprise building and development to Haiti.

(d) value-added programs

Focus Industries:

• Agriculture
• Energy/renewable energy
• Public private partnerships (PPP)
• Apparel/garment industry
• Tourism industry
• Rebuilding/reconstruction Efforts

The Haiti Private Sector Recovery Act 2010 should also include the following:

1. Fast-tract Project Financing of US investments in Haitian and of viable local companies

2. Facilitation of U.S. and Haitian business [investment] establishment in Haiti

3. Provision of adequate and affordable credit towards capacity expansion for local companies

4. To streamline loan application to funds disbursement process from the current average of 8 months to 30 - 60 days in partnership with local Haitian Banks.

5. To work with on-the-Ground US and Haiti firms towards Reconstruction/Rebuilding Haiti in partnership with the Government of Haiti (GOH).

6. To assist the GOH to address, streamline and fix the bureaucratic challenges detrimental and discouraging to foreign investments in Haiti

.

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