About the Author: Arturo Valenzuela serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
I had the honor to participate with Secretary Clinton and colleagues from around the world at the March 31 Haiti Donors' Conference "Towards a New Future for Haiti.” The conference was jointly hosted by the United States and the United Nations (UN), in cooperation with the Government of Haiti, at UN headquarters in New York City. More than 120 UN nations and delegations participated in the conference.
Approximately two and half months after the devastating January 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, we came to New York to mobilize international support to meet the development needs of Haiti and lay the foundation for Haiti's long-term recovery. I am proud to report that we not only met but exceeded our goal of raising $3.8 billion. The member states of the United Nations and international partners pledged $5.3 billion dollars for the next two years and $9.9 billion in total for the next three years and beyond. At the conference, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive presented the Haitian government's vision for the country's future and how international support can assist. It was clear to all participants that the Haitian people and their government have a vision for their own future and a plan to make it a reality. It is the Haitian people who will lead the development of Haiti tomorrow.
Late morning on March 31, a historic pledging session began that carried into the late afternoon. Countries, international organizations, and other partners had an opportunity to publicly pledge resources, and committed to working together in a sustained effort to support Haiti.
It was truly a remarkable experience to watch as government officials, private sector representatives, multilateral institution representatives, and non-governmental organization representatives from around the world took the podium one after another to contribute to the global effort to build back Haiti better. All of the attending partners lent their voice and resources to help raise the money required over coming years to implement the vision of the Haitian people.
So how will this money be used? What are the strategic points guiding the plan to build back Haiti better? They are:
* ownership -- of the plan for the future of Haiti by the people and government of Haiti;
* inclusiveness -- of all stakeholders, most importantly the Haitian people, as well as the diaspora community, state and local governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector;
* accountability and transparency -- by the Government of Haiti and by their donor partners to the people of Haiti and the international community;
* coordination -- between and among the Government of Haiti and donors;
* effectiveness -- of investments that improve the lives of the people and support the Government of Haiti's efforts to re-build their country and bring prosperity; and,
* sustainability -- of our commitment to the people and Government of Haiti that grows Haitian capacity to provide for their own future.
The donors' conference in New York gave the opportunity for the Government of Haiti, other nations and people around the world to focus on Haiti's future. This was a critical moment to look forward, even while we collectively continue to address the urgent humanitarian needs Haiti faces today.
Building back Haiti better -- creating a stable and prosperous future -- depends on continuing to provide vital and appropriate assistance to those affected by the earthquake, including shelter, sanitation, food, and security. Immediately following the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, the international community stepped up to provide emergency relief. This unprecedented outpouring of support continues. And now, following the donors' conference in New York, that same tremendous and varied global community is looking to the future, working together to build back Haiti better.
How would you build back Haiti better? Send me your ideas on Twitter.
For more information on the donors' conference:
* See comments from Secretary Clinton here.
* Read the entire Government of Haiti's Action Plan here.
* Find out more about the donors' conference, including pledge statements from countries and organizations, here.
Read more about the earthquake in Haiti and the international response here.