Norway pledges USD 100 million in assistance to Haiti
Norway will provide assistance totalling NOK 800 million (USD 100 million) to Haiti over the next four years. The announcement was made by State Secretary Ingrid Fiskaa at the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future For Haiti which was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York today.
Following the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January, Norway has provided NOK 200 million (USD 35 million) in emergency relief. Norway will step up its long-term assistance to Haiti by providing an additional NOK 600 million (USD 75 million).
“The earthquake has caused great suffering among the Haitian population. More than a million people have been left homeless. But helping Haiti requires more than building houses. We must help the Haitians to build an entirely new society. The average citizen must have political influence and economic opportunities,” said Ms Fiskaa.
The Norwegian assistance was announced in a statement at the International donors’ conference towards a new future for Haiti today.
An important aim for Norway will be to promote political dialogue. In addition, Norway will help to make the country less vulnerable to natural disasters. Reforestation, agriculture and alternative sources of energy are relevant fields of cooperation with Haiti. Protecting women and children will be a cross-cutting element in Norway’s efforts.
The assistance needed in Haiti over the next 18 monts has been estimated at about USD 3,9 billion. In Norway’s view, the Action plan for national recovery and development of Haiti, is promising. But Fiskaa underlined the need to learn from the mistakes of the past.
“Decades of assistance to Haiti have not delivered the desired results. As a result of poor economic advice and excessive centralisation of power, rural areas have become poorer year by year. The Haitian government must be in the lead in the development of the country. But regional and local authorities must be given more resources and more power. There is also a need for transparency and control of the use of funds,” said Ms Fiskaa.
The Norwegian assistance will be channeled through multinational organisations, non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations.
Minster of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim will visit Haiti in April. During his visit he will have meetings with the authorities, the opposition, UN representatives and other actors to discuss the way ahead for Haiti.
As a consequence of the increase in Norway’s assistance to Haiti, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed a Special Envoy to Haiti and set up a broad-based team to follow up the assistance.