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Too Much Focus on Symptoms of Haiti’s ‘Development Deficit’ Rather than Root Causes, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Reconstruction Financing Event

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s closing remarks at the international event for the financing of the reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula of Haiti, in Port-au-Prince today:

I would like to thank Prime Minister Ariel Henry for convening this conference.  I would also like to express my solidarity with all Haitians during this particularly difficult period, especially those still suffering from the impact of the recent earthquake.

I thank all those represented today — Member States from around the world, multilateral and United Nations organizations and international financial institutions.  This is multilateralism at its best.  It is essential that we all support the Government of Haiti as it spearheads the reconstruction and recovery process in the Southern Peninsula.

The Post Disaster Needs Assessment, produced within six weeks of the disaster, is a Government-led process respecting the needs and priorities of national and local authorities.  Our meeting generated pledges close to $600 million for the Post Disaster Needs Assessment and the Southern Peninsula Integrated Recovery Plan.  This new funding will ensure that Haiti can begin the process of recovery.

Today the focus was on reconstruction, but I also want to reiterate what I mentioned this morning regarding the significant unmet humanitarian needs in Haiti, including in the earthquake-affected areas.  The immediate humanitarian needs require your support.  Just over $373 million, as outlined in the Humanitarian Response Plan, will help alleviate the suffering of 2.5 million of the most vulnerable people.  It also will lay firm anchors for long-term development and peace.

The reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula needs to be framed as part of a greater commitment to put Haiti on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  It needs to be focused on people, with full transparency on how funds will be used and its impact on lives, livelihood and communities.  The Government and the United Nations are now defining common priorities for our cooperation with Haiti in the years to come to tackle the underlying causes of Haiti’s development deficits.

Addressing those root causes is the only way for Haiti to stop the spiral and seize a more hopeful future.  There is too much focus on symptoms and not enough on causes.  Haiti’s partners need a new way of working and renewed engagement to keep the promise of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), led by the Government of Haiti.

In closing, let me express my gratitude to all the donors and partners that have shown their solidarity and the importance of a durable partnership with the people of Haiti today.  As you say in creole, “men anpil chay pa lou”, the load is not too heavy when carried by many hands.

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