The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) Co-Chairs and Board held a productive meeting in the Haitian capital on Monday, approving a slate of new reconstruction projects valued at US $255 million.
The IHRC Co-Chairs (Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and President Bill Clinton) urged donors to redouble their efforts to address priority reconstruction needs, with the governments of Spain and Japan promptly answering that call by making substantial financial pledges at the meeting in support of key recovery projects.
"We applaud the governments of Japan and Spain for the generosity and continued commitment to Haiti," said Prime Minister Bellerive. "We are making progress in many essential areas, from debris removal and hospital construction to job creation, but Haitians still need to see more tangible improvements in their everyday lives."
IHRC sector leads in the crucial fields of housing, water & sanitation, energy and debris removal provided the Board with status updates on previously-approved projects. In all, there are 19 projects in key IHRC priority areas that remain unfunded or partially funded, which in total require $783 million in funding.
On a positive note, progress is being made in key sectors outlined in the strategic plan, including debris removal which is critical to allowing most other reconstruction sectors to move forward. The Commission's goal of removing 4 million cubic meters of debris this year is already half funded, and can be reached with further backing from the donor community. The outlook in the water and sanitation sector is also promising. An additional $100 million in funding – combined with the $217 million that has already been allocated for two already-approved projects – will increase the access rate to controlled potable water from 2% to 50%. This goal stands a good chance of being met by October 2011 with an attainable funding goal.
New Priority Reconstruction Projects Approved
The IHRC Board approved 13 new projects at the meeting, which will positively impact 1.8 million Haitians both in the short term and over the next several years. In terms of funding, $183 million of the $255 million required to execute the projects approved on Monday is already accounted for. The Haiti Reconstruction Fund, a partnership between the international community and the Government of Haiti that helps finance post-earthquake reconstruction, will provide an additional $62 million of existing funds, meaning that these projects will be nearly 100% funded.
"Today's meeting underscores the importance of advancing the strategic plan the Haitians have already identified," said President Clinton. "As the IHRC continues to approve a slate of projects that move us closer to our goal, we need the support of the international community and its donors in order to operationalize projects end ensure tangible and lasting change in the lives of the Haitian people."
In the healthcare sector, a $70 million, 212-bed medical and surgical emergency hospital fully funded by MSF France was approved. In addition, the Board approved a temporary modular hospital valued at $35 million, also fully funded by MSF France that will provide medical and surgical care in Port-au-Prince while the permanent hospital is under construction. Additionally, the Board voted in support of a joint healthcare effort between the governments of Canada and Haiti to improve maternity and neonatal care at clinics in upper Artibonite.
In the housing sector, the Board approved a $30 million housing and neighborhood reconstruction support program, which alone will impact 1.5 million Haitians over the coming years. The Board also approved a $47 million housing finance program funded by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund that will ultimately provide Haitian banks, micro-finance institutions and lenders with liquidity to make home loans, home repair loans, and micro-mortgage loans to Haitians. This program is pending final confirmation as Partner Entity for the IFC's Housing Finance Facility.
"We must leverage the positive momentum which has developed recently and work harder than ever to fulfill the mission of this Commission, assisting the Haitian people recover and rebuild. The projects approved today are an excellent start, but more funding is needed," added Prime Minister Bellerive.
Donors Pledge Support
Representatives from the Government of Japan and the Government of Spain were quick to heed the Co-Chairs' call to action and set the tone for their peers in the donor community. Both countries signed separate $30 million pledges to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund at the conclusion of the meeting, signaling their confidence in the recovery process and desire to address pressing needs. Spain's pledge follows its donation of $7.27 million made earlier this month to fund reconstruction of the education sector.
Article by HL/ HaitiLibre