Martelly: Aid to Haiti Should Focus on Long-Term Development

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Above: Haiti President Michel Martelly in Brooklyn this week (Photo: OP Haiti)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Aid to Haiti should primarily be focused on a goal of long-term development, Haiti President Michel Martelly said this week.

The comment came following a series of high-level talks with Haiti’s international donor partners in New York City, including UN Special Envoy to Haiti and former US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, the current United States Secretary of State.

Mariano Fernandez, the special representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in Haiti, was also on hand for the talks, in which Haiti presented what it called a new “structure” to coordinate aid to the country, although the government was not heavy on specifics.

“We must act, but also [ensure] that aid is managed professionally,” said Martelly, who emphasized that Haiti’s relationships with its international partners would be “essential” to cooperation.

Part of the new structure is a desire on the part of Haiti’s government to have better control over aid funding, he said.

The talks this week resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on foreign cooperation assistance in Haiti, which seeks to establish what Martelly called a “new dynamic” for aid.

Haiti’s leaders’ New York trip, which coincided with the UN General Assembly session, also saw a meeting between Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Helen Clark, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

The UNDP has reportedly nearly doubled the size of its joint efforts with Haiti’s government, while intensifying its efforts in debris management and other projects.

The UNDP is focusing on several key areas in Haiti, including poverty reduction, improved governance, environmental protection, capacity building, crisis prevention and the fight against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Earlier in the week, Lamothe headlined a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, where the Prime Minister spoke about Haiti’s infrastructure work, particularly the renovation of the Cap Haitien airport, and education initiatives.

Martelly’s trip, which featured a speech at Brooklyn College, additionally included a visit with Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, which has been active in relief efforts in Haiti since the earthquake, particularly in the city of Gressier.