Haiti/EU — “A Shared Vision for Haiti – the Next Ten Years”

Speech by EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton on Behalf of the Euro­pean Union, to the Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Haiti Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Haiti

Speech by EU HR/VP Cather­ine Ash­ton on Behalf of the Euro­pean Union, to the Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Haiti, New York, 31 March 2010

“Mr Pres­i­dent, Mr Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al, Madam Sec­re­tary of State, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton, Excel­len­cies, Ladies and Gen­tle­men, Dear Friends

I speak here today for the Euro­pean Union – for all 27 Mem­ber States, our insti­tu­tions, and our citizens.

Mr Pres­i­dent when I vis­it­ed Haiti recent­ly. I saw for myself the extra­or­di­nary resilience and resource­ful­ness of the sur­vivors. I pay trib­ute to their courage.

But I also saw the dev­as­tat­ing loss, the destruc­tion, and the shat­tered lives. Pres­i­dent Preval: please accept my con­do­lences – and those of the Euro­pean Union – for your people.

Our thoughts also go to our lost col­leagues from the Unit­ed Nations and oth­er inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions. We are here today in the same spir­it that moved them: the pur­suit of a bet­ter future for Haiti.

We have before us the Hait­ian Government’s “Plan of Action.” It is based on the best advice that the UN, the World Bank, the EU, the Unit­ed States and oth­er key part­ners have to offer. It has ben­e­fit­ted from inputs from the pri­vate sec­tor, from NGOs, from local gov­ern­ment offi­cials and from the Hait­ian dias­po­ra as well. 

But, it is the plan of the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti, reflect­ing its vision for the future. This is as it should be. It is your coun­try, we look to you to take the lead. Our role is to help. Even as we focus on the here and now – the months ahead – the “Plan of Action” cap­tures the need for a 10-year eco­nom­ic strat­e­gy. A plan that goes beyond recon­struc­tion to include dri­vers for devel­op­ment and growth: de-cen­tral­i­sa­tion, invest­ment in agri­cul­ture and tourism, job cre­ation and edu­ca­tion. A com­pre­hen­sive plan lead­ing to a sus­tain­able economy.

That means phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture must be a pri­or­i­ty, but so must the cre­ation of a legal and con­sti­tu­tion­al frame­work to attract inward invest­ment. For the most vul­ner­a­ble, we need a new social contract.

Dur­ing my trip to Haiti ear­li­er this month, I met many chil­dren in one of the many, crowd­ed camps in Port-au-Prince. Most had lost rel­a­tives. Each had their sto­ry of how their lives had changed. We have to pro­vide them with “the every­day mir­a­cle of a nor­mal life”.

Food and water has now reached peo­ple. But there is a long jour­ney ahead. And this is what bring us togeth­er today: a com­mit­ment to build a bet­ter future for the next gen­er­a­tions. For the Euro­pean Union, I pledge € 1.235 bil­lion for the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti’s Action Plan; the equiv­a­lent of over USD 1.6 bil­lion. This is on top of the € 295 mil­lion that the EU has already con­tributed in human­i­tar­i­an aid.

And it is in addi­tion to the € 650 mil­lion that cit­i­zens from all across Europe have col­lect­ed, out of their own pock­ets, for vic­tims of the earth quake. In total, from Euro­pean Gov­ern­ments and cit­i­zens: a con­tri­bu­tion close to USD 3 bil­lion. Our police, our mil­i­tary, and our civ­il pro­tec­tion per­son­nel remain active­ly engaged as well.

Pres­i­dent Preval, Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al Ban, Sec­re­tary Clin­ton: the EU looks for­ward to con­tin­ue to work with you to build a brighter future for all Haiti’s cit­i­zens. This is just the begin­ning. Thank you.” 

Euro­pean Union 

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