Penn, Hollande meet on initiative
By Dana Niland
A major new climate initiative is coming to Haiti, led by Sean Penn and French officials.
Representatives of the French and Haitian Governments including French President François Hollande met this week to sign a Letter of Intent regarding a partnership for a major new climate change initiative, “Haiti Takes Root.”
The initiative aims to unite local farmers, agriculture experts, and national and local authorities in order to respond to climate change issues, bolster national resilience, leverage information technology, and promote education on climate issues.
Signatories included J/P Haitian Relief Organization Founder and CEO Penn, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur Sean Parker French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal, French Minister for Development Annick Girardin, Haitian Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs Lener Renaud, and Haitian Minister of the Environment Dominique Pierre.
“This has been an extraordinary confluence of circumstances that led us to this powerful partnership,” Penn said. “We are very proud to be here.”
“Haiti Takes Root,” seeks to achieve the most effective and sustainable ways to restore and reforest degraded areas in Haiti.
The island was at one point comprised of 80 percent forest, but today less than 30 percent is covered in trees.
The initiative will work to improve the quality of soil and vegetation, increase forestry cover, and promote the use of socially responsible agro-forestry and renewable energy.
“So that our children and the generations to follow live well on this planet, we have to do everything possible to preserve the assets that we have through reforestation,” said Haitian Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs, Lener Renaud.
A team of experts will officially finalize the framework of “Haiti Takes Root” for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP21), which is set to take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11.