Reconstruction projects approved

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: A total of US$220 million worth of United Nations post-earthquake recovery projects in health, education, food security, job creation, rubble removal and reproductive health have been approved by the Interim Haitian Recovery Commission (IHRC).

The approval certifies that the projects are aligned with the Haitian government’s national reconstruction plan and should receive priority for funding. The projects were agreed to at a meeting of the IHRC last week.

“The meeting was remarkably successful,” said UN Under-Secretary General and United Nation’s Development Program (UNDP) Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan, who represented the UN at the meeting. “More than 20 relevant projects supported by the Government of Haiti have been approved, among them five for the UN.”

The Commission gave the nod for more than US$80 million worth of UNDP projects, including its successful cash-for-work initiatives, which provide manpower for both short and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts and give Haitians the means to provide food, shelter and education for their families.

“With this approval, the Commission opens the door for UNDP to make an appeal to the donor community to continue supporting our interventions in Haiti,” said Jessica Faieta, UNDP Senior Country Director in Haiti.

UNDP, in partnership with the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Organization for Migration, received approval for a US$65 million program to rehabilitate infrastructure across the country. The program will build on previous UNDP cash-for-work projects that have employed over 120,000 people since the January 12 earthquake.

The newly-approved program will focus on training people and giving them work in soil conservation and stabilization efforts; the construction of village roads, paths and bridges; agricultural production; public infrastructure maintenance; the rehabilitation or construction of small shops and community centres, and the cleaning and recycling of materials generated by the collapse and demolition of buildings in areas that were severely damaged by the earthquake.

The Commission also approved a US$17 million UNDP community-based debris management project that it will implement in partnership with the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) and the International Labour Organization in six earthquake-affected neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince.

Since the necessary funds have already been secured through the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, UNDP and its partners can begin immediately to support the return of displaced people and contribute to the rehabilitation of urban areas in Port-au-Prince destroyed by the earthquake. The debris removal program aims to accomplish this goal through the creation of thousands of jobs in the recycling, removal and processing of debris.

UNDP is currently implementing a similar project in the city of Léogâne with financial support from the Government of Canada.

Other UN initiatives approved by the Commission include a World Health Organization project on access to health service; a joint WFP, UNICEF and World Bank school-feeding program; an FAO food security project; and a multi-agency program on strengthening reproductive health services for women and girls affected by the earthquake.

The Interim Haitian Recovery Commission was created by Haitian Presidential decree to coordinate and oversee recovery and reconstruction efforts. It is co-chaired by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and former United States President Bill Clinton. The UN takes part in the Commission as a full voting member.

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