Building Haiti's disaster resilience

A man helps raise awareness of disaster preparedness in a community in Haiti. PHoto by: Francois Duboc / European Commission / CC BY-SA

A recent visit by top officials to Haiti produced no new pledges of funds for the ailing country, but the officials promised to support the government as it gears to build the country’s resilience amid a fast-approaching hurricane season.

Members of the so-called “Political Champions for Disaster Resilience,” which include U.N. Development Program Administrator Helen Clark and U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, agreed to help Haiti integrate disaster resilience in its national development plan and update the strategy for disaster risk reduction, some in the form of technical assistance.

The group also promised to get donors to invest in goverment priority sectors such as watershed management, and urge them to include resilience in their humanitarian and development programs.

UNDP will continue to provide the government technical, strategic and coordination support, which includes sharing its expertise with the Haitian ministries of planning and interior, spokesperson Chirine El-Labbane told Devex.

The program will also help assist the administration led by President Michel Martelly in developing a standardized methodology for disaster prevention in urban areas, as well as in creating a disaster risk reduction thematic table.

No direct funding from DfID

Greening meanwhile reiterated her 10 million pound ($15.37 million) commitment made in January to support these processes. She underlined the need for the international community to “disaster-proof” its assistance to the quake-ravaged Caribbean nation.

The U.K. Department for International Development has vowed to integrate disaster resilience in all its country programs by 2015.

DfID however does not have any plans at the moment to work out a bilateral program in Haiti, and thus no direct budget support, Devex learned. British aid to the country is channeled through U.N. agencies and NGOs.

DfID sources stressed that the development agency will continue to support Haiti in its disaster risk reduction efforts through the political champions group. The British government will also have a permanent representative soon in Haiti after the expected re-opening of its  embassy in Port-au-Prince this June.

Foreign Secretary William Hague previously said that the diplomatic mission would help strenthen U.K. support for the country’s recovery and reconstruction efforts.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.