Special Meeting on Food Security in Haiti (AM)

Urgent Action Needed to Tackle Haiti’s Severe Food Insecurity Crisis, Save Lives, Speakers Stress at Economic and Social Council’s Special Meeting

Amid Haiti’s rapidly deteriorating situation in which nearly half its population is facing severe food insecurity, the international community must take urgent action now, speakers stressed to the Economic and Social Council today during its Special Meeting on that country.

Convened on the proposal of the Chair of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, the Special Meeting — “Saving Lives:  Addressing the urgent food security needs of Haiti” — brought together Member States, United Nations agencies, observers and United Nations partners, civil society, the private sector and institutional financial institutions to mobilize action for emergency assistance and build sustainable food systems.

At the outset, the Council, through a pre-recorded video message, heard from three young Haitians students who described their daily struggles in finding food.  Jose Milltrete Montacy, a 20-year-old student, addressing the meeting, questioned:  “Why is it that in other countries, food is thrown in the garbage every day while we starve in Haiti?”  Echoing that, Ifender Valcenat, a 17-year-old student, added:  “What’s stopping [the international community] from taking action before 100,000 people have died?”  Mervensky Moreau, a 17-year-old student, pointedly asked:  “Are you going to let us perish in this unpleasant situation without giving us the help we need?”

To those appeals for help, Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria), President of the Council, told the meeting that the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti requires $719 million — more than double the amount for 2022.  Almost half of the Haitian population is going hungry and the country’s recent flooding, landslides and earthquakes have all compounded an already deteriorating situation.  “This should be our wake-up call,” she stressed.

Robert Keith Rae (Canada), Chair of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, said that not a single day goes by when someone does not die as a result of violence, disease or malnourishment.  The international community must support on-the-ground efforts, provide immediate assistance and bolster the resilience of households and small farmers.  “This is not only a time to show solidarity with Haiti.  It is a time to show action,” he pleaded.

Warning that the risk of civil war is very real, Ricard Pierre, Minister for Planning and External Cooperation of Haiti, called on the international community to support Haiti’s National Police to tackle the “climate of terror” imposed by powerful armed gangs.  As well, he called for enhanced technical and financial cooperation on agriculture to provide basic food products and create decent jobs.

Building on that, Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Chair of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in a pre-recorded video message, stressed that funding is critically needed, especially since Haitians cannot wait.  Haiti’s crises must be homegrown and nationally led, but the world cannot overlook the transformative role of regional organizations.  “We must be guided by our moral compasses to do more and do better,” he implored.

In that vein, Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, reported the efforts by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to restore Haiti’s political stability.  However, Haiti’s multi-faceted insecurity situation has prevented humanitarian agencies from delivering assistance.  The resulting weakened resilience has provided the conditions for ongoing crime.  Highlighting various measures to address this, he stressed:  “We must break this vicious cycle.”

Sounding the alarm, Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), in a pre-recorded message, warned that WFP will be unable to reach 1 million people without $122 million over the next six months.  Calling on the international community to act now to provide food and cash transfers, she emphasized:  “Together, we can make a difference and help the people of Haiti rebuild their shattered lives.”

Catherine Russell, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), reported that children are being killed on their way to school, along with staggering levels of sexual and gender-based violence.  As well, the national health system cannot respond to the country’s malnutrition crisis and ongoing cholera outbreak.  The international community must move away from treating these crises as separate events and view Haiti’s situation as a longer-term development crisis exacerbated by recurring acute emergency phases, she insisted.

The Council also held a round table moderated by Claver Gatete (Rwanda) on “Building Food Systems Resilience” featuring speakers from the United Nations system and international organizations, who spotlighted their respective efforts.  Underlining the need for more funding and investment as well as coordinated, effective responses, they outlined a number of recommendations. Among those were scaling up partnerships, pushing for a political and security solution, keeping Haiti high on their agendas, transforming agri-food systems, reducing import dependency and linking humanitarian responses with long-term action on food security.

Delegates, voicing their solidarity and support for Haiti in the ensuing interactive dialogue, urged the international community to respond with tangible actions.  Root causes must be understood and addressed, many emphasized, as they highlighted their Government’s assistance to that country and called for greater humanitarian aid and access.  Several, however, pointed out that any external actions must be in line with Haiti’s priorities, especially since a sustainable solution must be Haitian led, owned and focused.  “This is not the time to turn a blind eye to a country already on fire,” Germany’s representative stressed as Brazil’s representative called for “all hands on deck”.

Opening Remarks

LACHEZARA STOEVA (Bulgaria), President of the Economic and Social Council, commended the Special Meeting on “Saving Lives:  Addressing the Urgent Food Security Needs of Haiti” and invited participants to hear the voices of young Haitians through a video message.

In that video message, three Haitian students spotlighted their daily struggle to find food.  Beyond being unable to concentrate in class, being unnourished leads to migraines, dizziness and discomfort, they said, reporting that some young girls have even been forced into prostitution as a result of Haiti’s food insecurity. To tackle hunger, the country must first solve its problem of insecurity — especially since restricted access to the capital is preventing the supply of goods and food. 

As well, Haitians themselves should take charge of agriculture, national production and job creation, they said, emphasizing that farmers and growers can help solve the food crisis.  “Why is it that in other countries, food is thrown in the garbage every day while we starve in Haiti?”, Jose Milltrete Montacy — a 20-year-old student — stressed.  “What’s stopping [the international community] from taking action before 100,000 people have died?  Why have we forgotten Haiti?”, Ifender Valcenat — a 17-year-old student — wondered. “Are you going to let us perish in this unpleasant situation without giving us the help we need?”, Mervensky Moreau — a 17-year-old student — pointedly asked.

Following the video, Ms. STOEVA spotlighted the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, launched in April, and reported that almost half the Haitian population is going hungry.  In addition, the recent flooding, landslides and earthquake have compounded the already deteriorating situation.  This year’s humanitarian response plan for Haiti requires $719 million, making it the largest appeal since the 2010 earthquake and more than double the amount requested in 2022.  “Currently, only 22.6 per cent of this is funded,” she said, noting that the plan targets 3.2 million Haitian people, whereas around 5.2 million Haitian people are in need. “This should be our wake-up call,” she stressed.

Against this backdrop, she said that the meeting would focus on the worsening food insecurity due to economic downturn, natural disasters and a decline in agricultural production.  This has been compounded by surging gang violence.  “While emergency food assistance is the utmost priority, we need to also focus on efforts that can help build sustainable food systems in Haiti,” she said, saying “a whole-of-society approach that engages the Haitian people would be key to building resilient food systems”.

ROBERT KEITH RAE (Canada), Chair of the Economic and Social Council Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, pointed out that not a single day goes by when someone does not die as a result of violence, disease or malnourishment. For the past decade, Haiti has been labelled as a forgotten crisis by various organizations.  Humanitarian needs have doubled last year.  Haiti is now among the countries with the highest levels of food insecurity, with 1.8 million Haitians facing emergency levels of food insecurity and nearly 5 million not having enough to eat.  This represents half of the country’s population, he stressed. As a nation with considerable agricultural potential, there is no need for a food shortage.  However, to deal with food insecurity, the international community must deal with the broader issues of violence and the political crises. Further, Haiti’s food insecurity remains deeply rooted in the structural problems of development deficits, extreme vulnerability to external shocks and natural disasters.  The international community must support on-the-ground efforts, provide immediate assistance and bolster the resilience of households and small farmers, he pleaded, emphasizing:  “This is not only a time to show solidarity with Haiti.  It is a time to show action.”

RICARD PIERRE, Minister for Planning and External Cooperation of Haiti, welcomed the discussions on helping his crisis-struck country tackle its urgent food security needs.  In this regard, he spotlighted an investment plan submitted to the Council by his Government.  Recalling his experience as an agronomist and a former senator in the south-east of Haiti, he underlined the importance of security stockpiles and inter-zone exchanges to tackle the problem of uneven food access, among other things.  Persistent hunger can lead to conflict, he observed, pointing out that access to markets and roads is impeded by powerful armed gangs who now wield AK-47s where they once had knives.  This imposes a “climate of terror” on the territories they control.  He called for support for the Haitian National Police, noting that the risk of civil war is very real.  Economic insecurity and non-existent social services spurred young people to join gangs. The situation is exacerbated by disasters, including flooding and earthquakes.  The toll of the most recent earthquake last week would have been greater if municipalities had not been trained in risk reduction, he noted, drawing attention to a programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  He also called for enhanced technical and financial cooperation in agriculture to help Haiti provide basic food products and create decent jobs. 

RALPH E. GONSALVES, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Chair of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), spoke via a pre-recorded video message, stressing that there must be greater support for the Humanitarian Response Plan to ensure its full operationalization.  For that to happen, existing donors must increase their financial contributions and non-traditional donors must consider supporting collective efforts.  To that end, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute has expressed its willingness to execute initiatives in support of that country’s agricultural development.  Yet the Institute is unable to undertake this critical assistance due to a lack of funding, he pointed out, emphasizing that Haiti cannot wait for this support.  Human security and food security must also be tackled in tandem.  While the efforts to tackle Haiti’s crises must be homegrown and nationally led, the world cannot overlook the transformation role of regional organizations.  “It is not enough for us just to ventilate our solidarity with the Haitian people.  We must be guided by our moral compasses to do more and do better,” he stressed.

ANDREW HOLNESS, Prime Minister of Jamaica, recalling the Kingston Talks on Haiti, held earlier in the week, reported that he, along with the Prime Minister of the Bahamas and Chairman of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), opened the first Haitian stakeholder consultations which was attended by Ariel Henry, Haiti’s Prime Minister.  During the event, CARICOM’s Eminent Persons Group explored how to restore political stability and improve governance in the country.  Noting that Jamaica and CARICOM have agreed to support Haiti in re-establishing political stability, he pointed out that due to the multi-faceted insecurity situation, humanitarian agencies have been prevented from clearing shipments and delivering assistance.  The resulting vulnerability and weakened resilience have contributed to conditions for ongoing crime.  “We must break this vicious cycle,” he stressed.  Needed are innovative approaches, including a humanitarian corridor supported by international partners, as well as support for the overwhelmed Haitian National Police so they can assist with the movement of goods into and through the ports to communities.  Other measures to tackle the crises include support for developing sustainable solutions for home-grown food production and agro-processing; capacity-building initiatives to strengthen local institutions; and school-feeding programmes to stimulate the local economy and provide alternative avenues for growth, thereby serving as a disincentive to those for whom gang violence is attractive.

CINDY MCCAIN, Executive Director, World Food Programme, spoke via a pre-recorded video message, noting her upcoming visit to Haiti next week.  Violence, insecurity and economic turmoil are driving a humanitarian emergency in that country not seen since the 2010 earthquake, she pointed out.  Hunger has reached record levels, with 4.9 million people acutely food insecure, of which 1.8 million people are at serious risk of starvation.  Calling for a coordinated and well-funded humanitarian response, she said that despite the challenging circumstances, the World Food Programme is determined to “stay and deliver”.  The Programme aims to reach 2.3 million people this year and has already provided 1.4 million people with life-saving food and livelihood support so far.  However, she also pointed out that the Fund’s operation in Haiti requires $122 million over the next six months or “we will be unable to reach 1 million people, including school children and people with humanitarian urgent needs”.  Calling on the international community to act now and work together to get food and cash transfers to the millions of people who are relying on its assistance, she added:  “Together, we can make a difference — and help the people of Haiti rebuild their shattered lives.”

CATHERINE RUSSELL, Executive Director, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), reported that 2 million people, including 1.6 million children and women, live in areas controlled by armed groups.  “Children are being killed on their way to school,” she said, also noting the staggering levels of gender-based and sexual violence.  Insecurity is also compromising the operations of humanitarian actors to meet the growing gap in the delivery of essential services.  This life-threatening mix of conditions has caused an intensifying food security and nutrition crisis, especially for children.  Pointing to the combined effect of the malnutrition crisis and the ongoing cholera outbreak, she said the national health system is on the verge of collapse and does not have the capacity to adequately respond to this.  UNICEF has screened more than 243,000 children under five for wasting, helped nearly 70,000 women and children access health care and provided more than 417,000 people with safe water.  Stressing the importance of timely, flexible funding to support the Humanitarian Response Plan, she said the international community must move away from treating Haiti’s crises as separate events and view the situation as a longer-term development crisis exacerbated by recurring acute emergency phases. 

Round Table:  Building Food Systems Resilience

Moderated by Claver Gatete (Rwanda), the Economic and Social Council then held a round table on “Building Food Systems Resilience”, which featured as panellists:  Ulrika Richardson, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti; José Julio Gómez, Vice-Minister for Bilateral Affairs of the Dominican Republic; Edem Wosornu, Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Guangzhou Qu, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Liaison Office with the United Nations; Patrizia Tumbarello, Mission Chief for Haiti of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and Laurent Msellati, Country Manager for Haiti for the World Bank Group (WBG).

It also featured William O’Neill, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti designated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as a respondent.  As well, the Council heard from Garry Conille, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for UNICEF and from Mario Nicoleau, Chief Executive Officer of Food for the Poor, in Haiti.

Ms. RICHARDSON, speaking via videoconference, stressed that humanitarian assistance — while an imperative and primordial — is not enough, especially since it is never the solution.  Gangs control the main roads in and out of Port-au-Prince, diminishing the movement of goods and people in the country and resulting in drastically increased food prices.  A loaf of bread is three times more expensive than it was last year, she reported. There has been a historic process of dismantling incentives and a lack of investment in local production which has turned Haiti into a country dependent on imports.  The degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity has further impacted livelihoods and vulnerable populations.  What is needed — and what the United Nations system is working on — is renewed sustainable investments, not only in humanitarian assistance but also in terms of long-term resilience, strengthened public institutions and State capacities to institutionalize social protection.  As partnerships must be scaled up, including with financial institutions, she pledged to continue working with the Council, its Ad Hoc Advisory Group and other Member States

Mr. JULIO, noting that food security poses a challenge for the entire hemisphere, outlined solidarity initiatives undertaken by his country to assist Haiti, one of which is a foreign policy geared towards helping the country resolve its structural problems.  He underscored the need to prioritize a “pacification process”, as the criminal gangs are causing a crisis of socio-political instability that is translating into a general shortage of supply.  The spread of such gangs has also led to a weakening of agricultural production and development in Haiti, he added, calling for a bolstering of the operational capacity of multilateral organizations lending humanitarian assistance to Haiti. Further, financing should be stepped up to multilateral institutions to address self-sufficiency in agricultural production, he said, noting that 50 per cent of the products consumed in the country are imported, including up to 83 per cent of rice.  In that regard, he called for support to be lent to guilds and agricultural organizations to help defend local production. 

Ms. WOSORNU reported that the 2023 humanitarian appeal for Haiti — which seeks $720 million to help more than 3 million people — is just over 20 per cent funded.  “Behind each of these numbers is a face, is a name,” she pointed out. Operating costs have notably gone up due to insecurity, a challenging operating environment, difficulties reaching people, inflation, increased logistics costs and requirements related to the duty of care for staff.  With the support of the humanitarian community, the Office has launched a campaign to promote respect for humanitarian norms so that people in need can safely access assistance and basic services.  “We know that we cannot wait for a political solution or better security conditions,” she noted, reporting that the humanitarian community has activated its system-wide scale-up to deploy urgent resources.  She then appealed to Member States to push for a political and security solution, keep Haiti high on their agendas and fund the humanitarian appeal generously.

Mr. QU emphasized the need for a robust humanitarian-development-peace nexus approach to the country.  Evidence shows that emergency agricultural interventions and livelihood assistance are more cost-effective and impactful, but under-estimated and underfunded.  International support must be scaled up to help restore peace and security and deliver immediate humanitarian assistance, particularly emergency livelihoods assistance.  As part of the Humanitarian Response Plan, FAO requires $62 million to assist 700,000 people, with staple food and vegetable production support and protection of livestock assets and production restoration.  To date, though, it has only so far mobilized 5 per cent of what is needed.  Transforming agri-food systems is the key to achieving food security, he said, spotlighting FAO’s Hand in Hand Initiative, to accelerate the transformation process and build resilience.  Underscoring the need to boost rural development and poverty alleviation, he pointed out that linking humanitarian response with long-term action on food security requires effective collaboration between humanitarian actors and development agencies.  However, peace is a precondition of food security, he stressed, underlining the need to end the violence in Haiti.

Ms. TUMBARELLO said that, in January, the Fund approved $110 million under “Food Shock Window” and put together the new strategy on fragile and conflict-affected States, adding that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis has been hit hard by the war in Ukraine.  Nevertheless, because the country’s financing needs remain very large, import compression will have to take place unless additional external financing from development partners materializes.  What should be done collectively is leverage the Fund’s Comparative Advantage which works with the Government to maintain market economic stability.  The Fund also provides technical assistance, particularly on raising taxes, in order for the Government to be able finance development assistance, among other things.  “Haiti can’t wait,” she stressed, noting that there are a lot of things that could be done before all the uncertainties regarding security and other challenges are resolved.  “The IMF has been a trusted partner of Haiti in this journey,” she said, adding that it will continue to support the country in the future and will collaborate with the Council and other development partners towards that end.

Mr. MSELLATI, speaking via videoconference, pointed out that private sector investment remains low due to the lack of financing options, port blockages, food transportation difficulties and destroyed production and supply chains.  For its part, WBG is financing a range of projects through international development assistance that sit at the nexus of humanitarian assistance, short-term emergency intervention and longer-term development.  As an example, the Bank has supported access to nutritious food and increased climate-smart agriculture.  In collaboration with WFP, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and FAO, this project plans to support over 40,000 farmers on adopting improved agricultural technology.  It also plans to provide school meals to over 100,000 students.  On social protection, the Bank has also supported Haiti on a cash transfer programme for its most vulnerable.  Reponses must be needs-based, coordinated and effective, he underscored, calling on all to rebuild trust with the private sector and increase investments in Haiti.

Mr. O’NEILL echoed Haitians’ overwhelming concerns about the ongoing violence, emphasizing that reinforcing schools canteens, which already serve hot meals, should be prioritized.  As well, a reinforcement of access to food is needed.  He also pointed out that Haiti went from self-sufficient to depending on imports following Bill Clinton’s capitulation to lobbying by rice growers in the United States.  Therefore, he called for systemic changes in order to make the country’s food production viable, thereby reducing dependency on imports.  More so, rice consumption is a recent habit, with traditional diets being composed of naturally growing crops such as cassava, manioc and breadfruit, which are less resource intensive.  Underscoring that food is a right, enshrined in Haiti’s Constitution, he called on steps to be taken that ensure food access and reduce inequalities between cities and provinces. 

Mr. CONILLE stressed that the international community cannot ignore its decades of lessons learned from Haiti’s various crises.  Chief among them is the realization that those different crises are not transitory problems but rather one long-term chronic emergency with recurrent, acute phases.  This, in turn, has direct implications for how the international community must work in Haiti.  In that regard, humanitarian responses should not be based on artificial distinctions between chronic and acute, especially since Haiti deserves long-term commitment and engagement from all.  Effective coordination among humanitarian actors, Government entities and all stakeholders is vital as are collaborative platforms, he added.  Moreover, accountability and transparency will only enhance trust and ensure the effective use of resources.  “Making sure that we can rebuild that trust and that conversation [with the Haitian people], re-establish that relationship so that they are very much involved in the response, I think, is going to be critical,” he said.

Mr. NICOLEAU, speaking via a pre-recorded video message, detailed Food for the Poor’s work in addressing Haiti’s food insecurity, including providing food to 3 million people each year through its strong national network of grassroots organizations.  The most urgent need it has now is to provide immediate food assistance while working on a more sustainable food security plan in order to keep the population alive, especially children and the most vulnerable.  Addressing gang activity in particular will allow the free circulation of goods and facilitate good production.  There is also a major need to investment in Haiti’s agricultural sector in terms of financial access, seed, fertilize, agricultural expertise and technology transfers.  However, such work must be done jointly with all involved sectors, he said, showcasing his organization’s work to that end.

The representative of Cuba emphasized that the world owes Haiti a debt for being the world’s first revolution led by Black slaves and the first republic on the continent to abolish slavery.  He also detailed Cuba’s support to Haiti over the past 25 years, including post-disaster aid, medical cooperation, various vaccines and literacy assistance that has aided 448,000 Haitians. 

The representative of Ecuador highlighted the Security Council’s role in helping Haiti overcome the threats posed by gangs, citing the upcoming renewal of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). As well, support must be lent to the Haitian National Police, he said, before asking about elements in the youth-peace-security agenda that might help the country overcome the crises it faces. 

The representative of Guatemala urged the international community to respond with tangible actions.  Cultivating a safe and stable environment is crucial; there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.  Any external actions must be in line with Haiti’s priorities.  Further, bolstering institutions and strengthening the rule of law, among other actions, are also of great importance. 

The representative of Malta spotlighted the need to strengthen humanitarian programming through greater anticipatory actions.  In addition, humanitarian actors must have safe, unimpeded access and armed gangs must ensure basic standards for Haitians.  As an elected member of the Security Council, Malta will continue to seek security for Haitians and ensure a robust, principled humanitarian response, she pledged.

The representative of Portugal described his country’s support to Haiti, including through unearmarked funds to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and pooled funds for FAO.  However, more needs to be done to tackle the country’s diverse issues, as raised in the Security Council in April. 

The representative of Liechtenstein highlighted her country’s contribution to the cholera response.  Citing a World Bank finding that Haiti is among the ten countries worst affected by food price inflation, she pointed out that such conditions lead to an uptick in human trafficking and modern slavery.  In this regard, her country recently convened a meeting of experts on this matter. 

The representative of Brazil, calling for “all hands on deck”, stressed that Haiti’s situation needs to be addressed through political solutions and the implementation of Security Council resolution 2417 (2018). To address food security needs, context-specific components must be underscored.  Long-lasting change, however, cannot happen without the development of resilient agriculture and food systems, he said, spotlighting his Government’s bilateral assistance in that regard.

The representative of Italy pointed out that Haiti’s situation is another example of the vicious nexus between conflicts, insecurity and hunger.  The humanitarian cost of inaction is unjust and unacceptable, he asserted.  As such, his Government has provided relief by becoming a donor of the basket fund for Haiti and will double its financial contribution in the near future.

The representative of Peru stressed that Haiti’s dependence on imports must be reduced through assistance from the international financial sector.  Further, Haitian women must be empowered, particularly in rural areas, through policies providing them resources and training.  She also highlighted Peru’s initiatives to enhance Haiti’s internal security capacity. 

The representative of Chile voiced concern over the mere 15 per cent financing for the humanitarian response plan, calling on countries with capacity and historical ties to the country to act. She also outlined her country’s contributions to Haiti, including through various projects such as a maternal health centre and a milk fund. 

The representative of Barbados, speaking for CARICOM, said today’s meeting represents a window of hope to transform words into action. Appealing to the international community to contribute to the full operationalization of the Humanitarian Response Plan, he stressed: “This crisis concerns us all.”  A sustainable solution must be Haitian led, owned and focused, but it cannot be attained without unwavering support.  To that end, CARICOM will facilitate dialogue among Haitian stakeholders, including civil society and the Haitian diaspora, to find a way forward.

The representative of Equatorial Guinea, underscoring the need to avoid palliative care for Haiti, encouraged the international community to consider more sustainable aid in parallel with urgent humanitarian assistance. Now is the right time to send the aid and assistance that Haiti has been asking for to neutralize its criminal gangs. He also proposed organizing a United Nations conference to examine that country’s situation, provide sustainable support and avoid “one-off pieces of aid”.

A representative for the European Union, in its capacity as an observer, voiced concern that this year’s humanitarian plan for Haiti was only 20 per cent funded.  The bloc has contributed more than €100 million for vulnerable Haitians since 2018, which was stepped up following last year’s cholera outbreak, and assistance provided by the humanitarian country office in Port-au-Prince.  

The representative of Japan outlined his country’s short-term as well as long-term assistance, including $1.84 million in funding for rice, beans and oil, as well as aid to UNICEF for health, water and sanitation, following the spread of cholera last year.  He also highlighted his country’s contributions to the agricultural sector through infrastructure assistance, including tractors and dump trucks. 

The representative of Slovenia, spotlighting her Government’s support to Haiti, underlined the need to address root causes and build long-term resilience, including through investments in sustainable food systems and support for local farmers. 

The representative of Mexico, also spotlighting his country’s assistance to Haiti, emphasized the importance of providing social programmes to Haitians.  Recognizing the work being done by civil society organizations, he pointed out that this cannot replace action from the international community.

The representative of Argentina called on the international community to step up efforts to buttress Haiti’s food systems.  Countries from the Global South can play a role, she said, highlighting her country’s cooperation to a WFP project of vegetable gardens in the south of Haiti.  

The representative of Indonesia also emphasized the need for United Nations support and South-South cooperation through increased investment for sustainable solutions in agriculture and rural food systems. He called for a unified response by non-governmental organizations and humanitarian agencies to help the country tackle the crises it faces. 

The representative of Kazakhstan said that, during the General Assembly’s seventy-eighth session, his Government is planning to table a resolution on how regional organizations can combat food insecurity.  The international community must support WFP on all its technical measures, he stressed, also underlining the importance of disaster risk reduction and timely emergency preparedness, among other things.

The representative of Switzerland, calling for humanitarian access, underscored that aid must reach the most vulnerable and that the rule of law must be fully upheld.  Numerous programmes can be implemented in areas that are less affected by the security situation, she said, advocating for a decentralized and local approach. Her Government’s experience in Haiti has notably shown that it is possible to do so.

The representative of the United States, pointing out his country is the single largest donor to the humanitarian response, urged other Member States to step up their contributions to address the funding gap and save lives.  He also spotlighted the recent announcement by Vice President Kamala Harris of $53 million in funding for a specialized force to help the Haitian National Police tackle spiralling gang violence.   

The representative of Gabon called for a holistic approach to tackle the worrisome crisis, including through restoring security to Haiti and rebuilding its production and storage capacities.  Any action in Haiti must be conducted with the country in a spirit of partnership to help bolster national capacity.

The representative of Germany, pointing out that Haiti’s children and youth need the international community’s support to pave the way for a better future, announced that her Government will provide additional humanitarian support through instruments such as the Central Emergency Response Fund.  “This is not the time to turn a blind eye to a country already on fire,” she emphasized.

The representative of Uruguay voiced his Government’s wiliness to contribute to the reconstruction of Haiti’s administrative and judicial structures.  Perhaps it is time for the General Assembly to see how Member States can get Haiti out of its vicious cycle, he said, highlighting the need to help that country on its economic development, among other areas. 

The representative of Kenya underscored the need to address the root causes of Haiti’s crisis, including through operationalizing the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, enhancing emergency measures, and implementing structural efforts to strengthen institutions.  Turning to the security situation and its impact on the movement of food, fuel, trade and vital supplies, she called on the international community to consider Haiti’s request for international support to help it tackle the scourge of armed gangs. 

Due to no interpretation after 1:10 p.m., services of the Meetings Coverage Section concluded.

For information media. Not an official record.