Press Conference by Secretary-General, Participants of Haiti Donors’ Conference

31 March 2010
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference by Secretary-General, Participants of Haiti Donors’ Conference

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a Headquarters press conference today at the conclusion of the one-day International Donors’ Conference for Haiti aimed at securing financial resources for the earthquake-stricken country’s recovery that the friends of Haiti had acted far beyond expectations.  (For details of the Conference, see Press Release GA/10932.)

Declaring that the plight of the Haitian people called for immediate action, Mr. Ban said that the international community had come together, dramatically, in solidarity with Haiti and its people and that President Préval’s “rendezvous with history” had come to pass.  Reporting what he termed “very good news”, the Secretary-General told the press conference that Member States of the United Nations and international partners had pledged $5.3 billion for the next two years, and $9.9 billion in total for the next three years and beyond.

“Today, the United Nations are united for Haiti.  The international community has acted unanimously and for the long term,” Mr. Ban declared.

He added that today’s action by the international community was “the down payment” Haiti needed for wholesale national renewal, and was the way to “building back better”.

Now it came down to implementation and delivery on the promises made, for which transparency and accountability would be vital, he said, adding that it was important to ensure that Haiti got the money it needed when it needed it.  “And we must guarantee that it is well coordinated and well spent.”

Thanking the international community for their “extraordinary generosity”, he said that this was international solidarity in action.

Participants in the press conference had included Mr. Ban; co-host United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, René Préval, President of Haiti, and the five co-chairs ‑‑ Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain, Haiti’s leading donors.  Mr. Ban thanked all for the successful outcome.  He paid special tribute to his Special Envoy, former United States President Bill Clinton, whom he said would be working with United Nations agencies and the Haitian Government in tracking those resources and following through.

The Secretary-General said he would very soon dispatch United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro to Haiti to survey the situation in the camps and assess the steps that had been taken and explore areas for further action.  “Today, we have mobilized to give Haiti and its people what they need most:  hope for a new future.  We have made a good start, we need now to deliver,” he said.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim said it was a historic day, not only for the world and the United Nations, but also for Haiti.  The tragic events of the earthquake should be a reminder of the work to be done in the next two years.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Lawrence Cannon, said the seeds planted in the Montréal principles were coming to fruition and it was now time to expect results.  Haitians, for their part, had said they would do what was necessary to rebuild their country.

What was needed to move forward was not only political stability, but also strong commitments, he said, adding that today, the international community had reached a major stage on a long path, and it was now time to achieve results.

Paying tribute to European Union members and institutions that had supported today’s effort, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said she believed this was only the beginning, and that everyone was committed to delivering on their commitments.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he often wondered why tragedies tended to rally the world together to respond in unison.  He also thanked all participants for their collective endeavour to come to the assistance of the Haitian people in their time of need.

Vice-President of Spain, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, agreed that it was an important day for both the people of Haiti and the world at large.  The international cooperation shown today had been tremendous and all peoples from all corners of the world had come together and signed a pledge in support of the people of Haiti.

Asked by a correspondent how the international community could be assured that the money pledged today would get into the right hands and not be invested in the “wrong things”, the Secretary-General said the Government of Haiti and its donor partners were accountable to the Haitian people ‑‑ to be transparent and effective, and accountable.  The Haitian Government was also accountable to the international community, and the international community was accountable to the Haitian Government and people.

In addition, he explained, participants had agreed to a robust Internet-based tracking system to report on the delivery of the assistance, with an emphasis on measuring performance and results.  The pledges would be published and assistance flows tracked through a web-based system being established by the United Nations, together with the Haitian Government.  That information would be available to the public.  The system was aimed at improving on past practice and ensuring accountability and transparency.

Secretary of State Clinton reaffirmed that the United States Government was working closely with the Haitian Government.  Her Administration’s commitment was to work as quickly as it could to expedite the resources.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.