Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Haiti: Interim Haiti Recovery Commission announces over $1. 6 billion in new projects

Source: Interim Haiti Recovery Commission

Second Commission Board meeting demonstrates significant progress towards meeting critical needs for Haiti's recovery and development

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Aug. 17 -- The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), co-chaired by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and President Bill Clinton, today reaffirmed its goals and priorities and announced a set of projects at its second Board meeting in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

To date, the Commission has received more than $1.6 billion in new project proposals that span across all aspects of Haiti's recovery and development, from agriculture and education, to water and disaster preparedness. Of this, nearly $1 billion in funding has already been committed and the IHRC expects the additional funds to come from the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF) and a combination of existing and future commitments from the international community. The Commission is actively working with donors to quickly disburse committed funds. In total, 29 proposals were presented to the Board.

Some of the specific new projects include:

* A $94.2 million back-to-school program, partly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and implemented by the Ministry of Education
* A $17 million proposal from a consortium of UN agencies that will remove 234,000 m3 of debris in at least six districts in Port-au-Prince and establish a debris recycling system
* A $15 million project from Partners in Health to build a new medical facility and teaching hospital that will train the next generation of Haitian doctors and health care professionals
* A fully funded, $200 million agricultural development program that will increase overall farm income in targeted areas and create more than 50,000 sustainable jobs

The Haitian Government also set specific goals to be reached by November in six priority areas: housing, education, debris removal, disaster preparedness, health and agriculture. The goals were announced by the Commission at the Board meeting and include the clearing of one million cubic meters of rubble in Port-au-Prince, and the construction of short-term cyclone shelters that will cover 400-500,000 people. Additionally, nearly 60 project concepts were submitted to the IHRC by the Haitian Government. These are being reviewed by the Commission for viability and overlap and some will be developed into detailed project proposals for Board approval in the coming months.

"We are pleased with the support and commitment that we continue to receive from the international community for the reconstruction of Haiti. This effort is a long and costly process which requires the full collaboration of all involved," said Haitian Prime Minister Bellerive, co-chair of the IHRC. "The government of Haiti will not rest until we have settled the people displaced by the earthquake and rebuilt the infrastructure necessary to create jobs, provide adequate education and begin building a new future for all Haitians. The projects presented to the IHRC during this Board meeting are a very important step forward in meeting these goals."

"The number and scope of projects proposed to the Commission give me great hope for the future of Haiti, and I am glad we can move forward on several of them at our second Board meeting," said President Clinton, co-chair of the IHRC. "This coordination will not only be critical to promoting transparency, reducing duplication, and ensuring projects are aligned with the priorities of the Haitian government, but it will also enable tangible results that will improve the lives of the Haitian people."

In addition, the Commission addressed key matters at the Board meeting that will be critical to its operations over the coming months. Most notably, it announced that after an exhaustive search, Gabriel Verret has been appointed to serve as the Commission's Executive Director. Verret most recently served as Senior Economic Counselor to President Preval. Prior to joining the Preval campaign as Economic Policy Coordinator in 2005, Verret was the Principal Economic Policy Advisor to Haiti's transition government. He played a leading role within the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF) between the international donor community and the transition government, first in the ICF's development and later as its Economic Governance Coordinator.

"I am deeply honored to be selected to lead the operations of the Commission," stated Mr. Verret. "I am committed to ensuring the IHRC fulfills its critical mission of aligning recovery priorities and resources, and that the Haitian people and international donor community see the IHRC as their shared platform for dialogue, planning, and most importantly, action."

Initial staff for the IHRC has been provided by the Clinton Foundation, IDB, Canada and the United States. Hiring is now underway for six Director positions and more than two dozen additional positions.

About the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission

The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) was created by presidential decree on April 21, 2010, in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. The mission of the IHRC is to undertake the expeditious planning, coordination, and implementation of development projects and priorities, including reviewing and approving projects and programs funded by bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs and the private sector. The IHRC is co-chaired by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and President Bill Clinton and is guided by a Board, which includes Haitian and non-Haitian stakeholders in reconstruction efforts.