Thursday, February 18, 2010

Haiti: EU, US and UN plan relocation of one million Haitians

Source: European Union (EU) - The EU, the USA and the UN are going to divide up the workload in order to provide shelter for more than one million Haitians before the rains, which have already started in the Caribbean country, get any worse.

Soraya Rodríguez, Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, who is chairing the informal meeting of development ministers in La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia) in the name of the Spanish Presidency of the EU, warned that "immediate action must be taken (...) to relocate these people as soon as possible".

In order to achieve this objective, Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, Edmond Mulet, UN Special Representative in Haiti and the organisation's s Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, together with the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, attended the meeting.

The ministers, secretaries of state and heads of humanitarian aid meeting in La Granja are also keen to accelerate the clear-up work to demolish buildings on the island to prevent any more structures collapsing during the current weather conditions.

Soraya Rodríguez told journalists that Spain will continue to head reconstruction projects, both through it being the current holder of the EU Presidency and as the third largest donor of humanitarian aid to Haiti before the earthquake (behind the US and Canada, and ahead of France and Japan).

Spain is also making the provisional headquarters of the Spanish Cooperation technical office available to EU members.


Also on the agenda of the La Granja meeting is the preliminary work on the position to be taken by the EU at the UN summit meeting in September on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

In 2000, the UN set a number of goals to be reached before 2015, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, progress towards universal primary education, gender equality and reduction of child mortality.

Soraya Rodríguez said: "There are five years left before the deadline, and we must strengthen efforts to meet these targets and evaluate the large vacuums around some of the goals", calling for the need to go "from words to actions".

The Secretary of State said the economic crisis "is no excuse" for failing to comply with humanitarian aid targets: 0.7% of gross domestic product of the EU by 2015

However, given the particularly difficult economic situation, one of the strategies that European ministers will analyse is combating the outflow of capital from developing countries.

According to various studies carried out by the European Parliament and the Government of Norway, who also sent representatives to the meeting, for each dollar of aid that reaches a developing country, between eight and ten dollars flow out of it by illegal means.

Published by i On Global Trends - Mike Hitchen Online - news, opinion, analysis
See also Sydney Irresistible and for personal comment, Mike Hitchen Unleashed
Putting principles before profits