“I commend the Co-Chairs of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission – Prime-Minister Bellerive and President Clinton – for convening this extraordinary meeting. It is very important to keep the high level of attention. I could not think of a better way to start this week of intense contacts in New York.
Six months ago, in the International Donor’s Conference held at the UN headquarters, our proclamations of goodwill were matched by concrete pledges, with a renewed emphasis on reconstruction and long-term development.
As a response to the 12 January earthquake, Brazil has pledged more than US$ 340 million in humanitarian assistance and the reconstruction process. This figure does not include almost US$ 280 million in contributions to MINUSTAH since 2004. Brazil was the first and is still to date the major contributor to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. Of course, we would be very glad to be surpassed soon. In this light, we are ready to play a stronger role in the Commission’s Secretariat.
This Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission has made an important contribution to provide support and coherence to our collective efforts. It must never be forgotten that, for this Commission to succeed, the Haitian Government must play the leading role. Haiti is a sovereign country, not a collection of projects.
President Clinton mentioned today the importance of energy issues. As a response to a request of President Préval to President Lula, Brazil has financed the technical study on the construction of the Artibonite hydroelectric dam. This project – already approved by the Interim Commission – will supply energy to 1 million Haitian citizens, bring irrigation to local producers and employment opportunities. Brazil is looking forward to partnerships to build Artibonite dam. Brazil’s US$ 40 million paid to the Reconstruction Fund could serve as the downpayment to this end.
Besides our contribution to the emergency aid and reconstruction, Brazil currently develops more than 30 projects either bilaterally or in partnership with third countries or international institutions in areas such as agriculture, food security, health, education and institutional strengthening. I would like to highlight our trilateral health program with Cuba and also the fact that Brazil will soon receive 500 Haitian students in our universities.
Even before the earthquake, the situation in Haiti had mobilized efforts of many developing countries, such as the India-Brazil-South Africa Forum cash for work project in Carrefour-Feuilles (which received a prize yesterday) and the decision by the Union of South American Nations – UNASUL – to cooperate with the Haitian government.
The reconstruction process will only progress at the necessary pace in a context of political stability and institutional consolidation. We praise President Préval and the Haitian Government for their efforts to ensure that the November elections take place in accordance with the Haitian Constitution. Brazil has always praised the role played by CARICOM in lending regional legitimacy throughout this process.
MINUSTAH has to keep playing a supportive role. It is a matter of conventional wisdom that only after the second successive election democracy may be considered consolidated. In our view, MINUSTAH’s level of engagement should remain unaltered way well into the next President’s term.
One word about the private sector. Several Brazilian companies are interested – or are already operating – in Haiti (in sectors such as construction and bioenergy). I wish to highlight the disposition of the Brazilian textile industry to invest in Haiti, benefitting from the US legislation HOPE II. On a very pioneering gesture for a developing country, and with the approval of our MERCOSUL partner, we have offered reciprocity for US firms wishing to export to Brazil”.