PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI--(Marketwired - Aug. 28, 2013) - In his first international trip since being appointed Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, the Honourable Christian Paradis visited Haiti to see first-hand what progress has been made, what results have been achieved, and what development challenges must be tackled going forward.
"Canadians are an immensely generous people and they remain deeply concerned with the challenges the Haitian people face every day," said Minister Paradis. "Canada has made significant investments to help the people of Haiti, especially in relocating people who have lived in camps since the earthquake. However, we must all be mindful of the challenges that remain. Among other things, we encourage the Government of Haiti to continue to reform government and the public service, and to establish the rule of law."
Canada is strongly calling on Haitian political authorities to make sure they manage ongoing political and institutional issues in a way that does not impede development efforts.
While in Haiti, Minister Paradis announced a contribution of $6.6 million to continue the support Canada has been providing since 2006 to the World Food Programme's Support to Sustainable School Feeding program in Haiti. This project provides a daily meal to schoolchildren to reduce chronic hunger and malnutrition, improve learning, and increase school attendance.
Canada continues to play a leading international role in support of Haiti and its people. Canada is currently reviewing its long-term engagement strategy with Haiti, in order to ensure concrete and sustainable results for the Haitian people and accountability for Canadian taxpayers.
"Canada shares the desire of the people of Haiti to obtain development assistance that will make a real difference in the lives of the most vulnerable, and we share the desire of the Government of Haiti to see the emergence of a strong, independent economy, as well as public institutions that operate in a stable and sustainable manner," said Minister Paradis. "Canadians remain committed to helping the people of Haiti but we must ensure we set a course that holds justified hope for a better and sustainable future for all Haitians."
Minister Paradis is also encouraged by the Government of Haiti's commitment to define a pact of mutual responsibility between development partners and Haitian authorities. The Government believes that this pact should be defined as soon as possible and include specific commitments, tangible and measurable results, and a monitoring mechanism. A pact of mutual responsibility, established under the Government's leadership, would enable all stakeholders to be on the same wavelength about what must be done in Haiti, using target dates determined in advance.
This visit to Haiti was an opportunity for Minister Paradis to assess the current development situation in the country, and to discuss needs and priorities with key stakeholders.
Minister Paradis met with representatives of the Haitian government, including Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, and with representatives of Canadian and international development organizations working in Haiti, as well as other stakeholders from civil society organizations and private sector firms.
The Minister also visited:
- a Canada-funded emergency field hospital in Gonaïves;
- a warehouse operated by the World Food Programme in Gonaïves; and
- a credit union in St-Marc supporting local families in paying for their children's school tuition.
Canada continues to respond to immediate needs in Haiti
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada is renewing its funding for an initiative in Haiti:
- Support to Sustainable School Feeding in Haiti ($6.6 million through the World Food Programme over 2013-2014 fiscal year): This project will provide daily nutritious meals to approximately 230,000 school children over one school year. School meals help reduce chronic hunger and under-nutrition, increase attendance in primary schools, and improve learning outcomes. The project also supports the local economy by purchasing up to 25 percent of the rice used from local farmers.
Canada has long been a strong supporter of the World Food Programme's school feeding programs in Haiti. In 2012, the World Food Programme fed more than 1.1 million school-aged children, with close to 238,000 in 750 schools reached as a result of Canada's contribution.
Other past accomplishments in Haiti
In 2011-2012, Canada:
- increased access to free obstetric care provided by skilled health workers for about 330,000 pregnant women;
- through support to United Nations agencies, helped cure 60 percent of Haiti's 33,000 tuberculosis patients and helped detect 5,200 new cases;
- provided essential primary health care services to as many as 80,000 women, men and children living in the Lower Delmas area of Port-au-Prince;
- through support to the United Nations Population Fund, helped make 40 camps for earthquake survivors safer for women by installing new solar-powered lights near showers, latrines and water distribution centres;
- improved financial services for more than 417,000 members of a savings and credit cooperative network, enabling them to better manage their finances and take advantage of economic opportunities;
- helped register some 200,000 citizens in the civil registry, providing them with legal status which enables them to access basic services, apply for credit, obtain property titles or vote (this project has now reached more than five million people since 2008, or 90 percent of the adult population);
- helped as many as 35,000 children (half of them girls) attend school;
- provided another 35,000 children from poor families with school kits containing backpacks, uniforms, books and pencils;
- helped farmers in three areas increase agricultural production by about 25 percent, ensuring they had more food to feed their families;
- provided training, tools, seeds and livestock to as many as 13,800 families (about 69,000 persons) to help them produce their own food and improve their nutrition; and
- through support to the International Organization for Migration, helped relocate close to 3,200 families to camps with better conditions, helped close to 5,600 families move out of the camps and into better housing, and prevented about 20,000 individuals in camps from being evicted.
As of March 2012, Canada had fulfilled its $400-million commitment to reconstruction and recovery, and continues to help Haiti in its long-term development efforts.