Together with UN Special Envoy Bill Clinton and the Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean-Max Bellerive, Norway is to help to implement the Action Plan for Recovery and Development of Haiti. The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), of which Norway is now a member, held its first meeting on 17 June in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.
Norway is also a member of the board of the new Haiti Reconstruction Fund. A large part of Norwegian assistance to reconstruction and development will be channelled through this multi-donor fund. The fund is led by the World Bank. This means that Norway is among Haiti’s most important supporters, together with countries such as the US, Canada and Brazil.
Norway has provided substantial support for emergency relief following the earthquake. Some 200 000 people were killed in the disaster. Over one million were left homeless. Altogether, Norway has pledged NOK 800 million for reconstruction and development efforts in the country over the next few years.
“Thanks to large-scale international assistance, people have received food, water and medicines. However, we are concerned that efforts to provide the population with proper shelter are taking far too long. We have raised this issue with the Haitian authorities and the UN,” commented Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.
“In addition to meeting the acute needs of the population, the Haitian economy must be set in motion again. Development efforts must reach all areas of the country. People must have a reason to remain in rural areas, otherwise we will simply see even larger slums and greater destitution in the capital city,” Mr Solheim said.
Norway has initially signed an agreement to provide NOK 200 million to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. At the same time, Norway wants much of the funding to go to the southern part of the country, around the town of Les Cayes.
“The southern part of Haiti is extremely vulnerable to hurricanes and floods. We will help improve emergency preparedness and prevention efforts in this area. This is also where one of Haiti’s few remaining forests is found, and we want to help to protect it,” Mr Solheim said.
Norway will be represented in the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission by Halvor Sætre, Norway’s Special Envoy for Haiti.