Preview of the Haiti Ministerial Meeting and the Panel Discussion on Women and Agriculture: Improving Global Food Security

Special Briefing
Senior State Department Officials
New York City
September 18, 2011

MS. NULAND: Good evening, everybody. Thank you for your patience. I apologize that our Pakistani briefing is delayed because our Pakistani meeting is still ongoing. So we’re delighted to have tonight to talk about the Haiti Ministerial tomorrow [Senior State Department Official Number One and Senior State Department Official Number Two.] They will be Senior State Department Official Number One and Number Two, respectively. And after they talk about Haiti, [Senior State Department Official One] will have a word to say about the food security event as well tomorrow.

Take it away.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Well, first of all, thank you all for your interest in Haiti and for the ongoing importance that many of the media has placed on Haiti, which is, I think, an enduring critical priority, given the set of challenges that are still ongoing in the country.

Tomorrow’s meeting of Haiti’s partners provides an opportunity not only for the partners who have been deeply invested in Haiti and providing resources and support to actually demonstrate that support and speak to the sets of issues that they see as key priorities, but also the opportunity for President Martelly to present his vision for the country to the assembled group of key donors, if you will, and key partners in Haiti, but also to speak specifically to governance, which is one of the challenges that Haiti has long had and certainly has a set of unique challenges now, as they have been moving through the process of forming a government.

We are hopeful that President Martelly will not only speak to the need and opportunity for the kind of long-term collaboration and cooperation that will provide governance – effective governance for Haiti, but also to some of the specific reforms that he sees as important for Haiti’s development.

We expect on behalf of the United States to be speaking to our own observations and investments with respect to Haiti, and in particular, what we see as needs in the rule of law, in governance area, particularly focusing on the ports, the police, and the need for civil reform. But we also are going to be speaking to the need for the kind of cooperation and collaboration that we are just starting to see there as they form their government.

They have recently voted on a prime minister, third one. The lower house has voted in support of him, I believe unanimously. I think it was, like, 89-0. And we are now awaiting the senate to actually undertake their vote. They are required to vote, and will do so sometime next week. And once they do, we will ultimately then see in Haiti an established prime minister who will then go about the business of setting up the government. Because as probably you all know well, they have the presidency as separate and apart from the actual government there, where they have a prime minister who ultimately presents the ministers who provide the leadership for the government.

So we’re hoping that this meeting provides an opportunity as well for dialogue around these sets of issues and how the donors can be better partners, better coordinated, and more effective in helping to step through some of the priorities that President Martelly has already announced in education, in transitioning folks from camps to housing, which he has made substantial progress on through a program that he established, and then with respect to a lot of the structures of governance.

So I would say that would be the top line overview. And I don’t know, [Senior State Department Official Two], if there are things that you might add.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: No, I think you’ve covered the main points. Again, this is – the emphasis will be on governance here. And that’s – I think over the past – we know after the earthquake their government was seriously hampered. Fifteen percent of the people who worked for the Haitian Government were killed in the earthquake, and probably another 20 percent who had visas left the country. So I think all but one of their ministries was destroyed.

So I mean, this is a government that even before the earthquake had limited capacity, and afterwards had even less. So building up that capacity has been a priority in the international community, and I think a good thing is under President Martelly there’ll be greater engagement with the Government of Haiti on that.

QUESTION: Could you run us through some of the funding that the U.S. Government has already provided or intends to provide for the three areas you described – governance, and in particular police, ports?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: So I’ll actually get you specific figures, but just to give you some ballpark figures, we have over a billion dollars that had been set aside through the supplemental in FY ’10 for Haiti. Of that a billion dollars, there was in excess of probably of a hundred-and-some million for health care, which is one of the key priorities, a long-term area that we had been investing in.

In the infrastructure space, I believe they’re somewhere on the order of – I don’t know how to quantify that – that might come up to several hundred million in the infrastructure area, which is energy, which goes to one of the key constraints that limited people’s ability to be able to actually invest both domestically and foreign, housing in that particular space, as well as a port in the north.

In the rule of law and justice area, we also had – maybe what we can do is actually give you the real numbers because we have the budget here, so why don’t we do that.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah. Let me first say go to the UN website, which has not only our figures but other figures in a fairly clear form. And we spent a lot of work putting them together with them, so you don’t have to write them down. But under their categories, when you talk about really democracy and strengthening the government, in this Fiscal Year ’10 and Fiscal Year ’11 there’s about $400 million of U.S. funds committed there. And again, we haven’t been able to spend some of those dollars because of lack of ability on the other side, capacity. Social rebuilding here. There are figures there that, again, are probably, as I look through here –

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: In excess of 300 million, almost 400.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yes. Well, and two years also. So if you add that year, you’re looking at more like 600 – 500, 600 million on either one.


SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah. Well, in health, you’re right. And then housing, 75 million. Education is about – averages about 10 million a year, we hope, over the next several years. And there are other – a big stake in agriculture, about 150 million in agriculture over a couple of years.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Which also has the Feed the Future funding in that set of funding that’s also there.

QUESTION: Just one thing on this. I mean, if over that two-year period, FY ’10 and FY ’11, the U.S. Government appropriated $400 million, do you know how much has actually been spent of that? That’s question one.

And then question two is, given the emphasis of governance, and given you haven’t been able to spend all the money appropriated so far, and given what a tight budgetary environment the U.S. Government is in, do you intend to seek or do you expect to get significant initial funds for FY ’12?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: So let me do one piece of this and then, [Senior State Department Official Two] might step in. First of all, I do think going to the website will help you, because then you can take the specific numbers.

Two, it is true that some of the monies cannot flow until you actually have certain pieces in place – the justice system, in particular the supreme court and some other things that are – that impact some of our funding flow in that particular regard.

But with Haiti, what we have actually –what we would anticipate and hope for FY ’12 is it is back down to its traditional level. So we had a supplemental in FY ’10 that was a one-time amount that was for the rebuilding. Haiti now will go back to its traditional level of funding that it has historically had. And so we are not seeking funds above and beyond what has been its normal baseline. We believe, between what has already been appropriated and its normal baseline, that that should be sufficient and that that will be necessary for us to spend out before we would ever be seeking monies that went above that baseline.

QUESTION: What is the baseline, though?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: In total, the baseline is probably about $360, 370 million.

QUESTION: And then Senior Official Two, if you could tell us what of the roughly 400 million has not been spent.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: It’s on the website, and what’s been obligated and those figures. But you have to remember the big amount of money we got for Haiti, which is the supplemental appropriation from Congress, was passed as three-year-money. It was not ever to be spent in one year.

QUESTION: Okay, okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: They don’t have the capacity for that, essentially.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: And we expect to have over half of that obligated by the end of this calendar year, and I think the rest will easily be obligated in the last fiscal year of it. So we are on a track to spend the money.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah. But this is development funding. The initial tranche was humanitarian funding, which went quickly. Development takes a little longer, because we’re building industrial centers, refurbishing ports, refurbishing electricity. So it’s not – it doesn’t go out the door as fast.

QUESTION: Got it. Thank you.



QUESTION: I’d like to just ask about – you mentioned some of the restrictions you have with regard to capacity to absorb funding and projects. Are you – so where’s the trend line on that going right now? I know for the first year or so, they were still trying to get the government back on their feet, but now it’s 18 months out. Are you starting to see that kind of recover?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I’d say two things. One, I think that with the formation of the government, we actually will see that move much quicker, and I think we’re actually looking forward to that. We have actually seen some encouraging signs, so for example, with respect to the north park that [Senior State Department Official Two] just referenced, they have stood up their own agency that is managing the contracting, bidding, and construction and then operation of that particular park, and that has actually worked more efficiently and quickly than many of us as donors have over that window of time, and that’s over 400 million that they are actually working through to actually stand that up. And so that, for us, at least is an encouraging sign of not only the government working, but of their ability to be able to navigate and manage and put through those kinds of resources.

In terms of what that will mean in each one of the ministries, I think that’s going to remain to be seen as we see each of the ministers, but I think we are hopeful that the trajectory of both what has happened with the camps and the money that has been spent in support of that and what have been activities that have already been in train and just waiting decision making will mean that we’ll actually see things move a lot quicker.

QUESTION: And you mentioned a bit about it, but last year the Secretary announced, with great fanfare, the South Korean park in Korea – in Haiti. Can you kind of bring us up to speed about where that is right now, that whole project?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Thank you for asking. (Laughter.) They – we – Sae-A has invested $70 million and is moving forward. The park will actually – is on track to be opened in March. They have had open bids for the actual construction of the park, which was just awarded, as well as the supervision of the park, which was also just awarded, for the management of it. They are in negotiations with a second tenant who likely will be coming onboard in about a month and will be also onboard to start in March.

There has been a lot of interest by a number of different potential investors in the park, and so we are stepping through a process with the Haitian Government as they prioritize what sectors and industries that they think will best suit their long-term needs. We are moving forward with our power plant that we are building in that particular arena, which will serve not only inside the park but to a region outside of the park, and also have received all of the approvals for housing development that we actually had identified as different areas of the government had owned, that they have given us all the land, title, and other issues associated with, so that we are going to anticipate going out to bid in December for the building of those houses. (Inaudible).

QUESTION: Is there a sense of what this will bring, like how many tenants and how much – how many jobs and then – and what this will actually create? Is there an updated sense on that?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I mean, I think, as a general matter, it is projected that Sae-A itself, over the five year ramp up that it will be there, will bring 20,000 jobs. When the kind of social impact analysis is done of what is needed in support of just their particular activities as well as what we would anticipate being the first phase of the park, it’s projected at somewhere around the order of between 50 and 65,000 jobs.

I think one of the bigger impacts that we are seeking to be a good partner to the IDB and the Haitian Government on is how to navigate all the other impacts that happen to that area, not only the amount of influx of people that that might bring, traffic, need for schools, need for health, there are a lot of issues that have happened around other industrial parks that have made it very challenging from a social impact standpoint. The IDB has committed to actually doing an overarching urbanization plan for that whole region in the north, and we’ve committed to being partners in helping to make some of the investments and other things to support that in a way that, hopefully, will ensure that the development is not – is a positive one.

QUESTION: Thank you.


MS. NULAND: Other questions on Haiti?

All right. Briefer Number One, would you like to say a word about the food security event?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I know you all are anxiously awaiting the Secretary’s participation with one of your colleagues – Nick Kristof – in the food security event, which will be happening on – will be the second event actually after the Haiti event. And we are looking forward to a panel of experts who are going to speaking to the ways in which women’s participation or full participation in agriculture actually can end up driving not only the increase in productivity that we might need, but also the opportunity for increased marketability and economic growth.

So she will be speaking to those issues. Nick Kristof will be moderating it. We anticipate that President Kikwete from Tanzania will be there, and he will be speaking to the prioritization that they have made not only of agriculture and food security, but also of nutrition, something that has been one of the first times that they have actually stepped forward and put nutrition on the line as one of the key national priorities for their country.

We also are going to have Jose Graziano da Silva, who is going to be speaking to the Zero Hunger program that was started in Brazil and targeted women and has an enormous amount of – had enormous success not only with conditional cash transfers but other success by targeting women in the ways in which they distributed their resources and funds. And that has actually led to the reduction in their overall – I’m going to say malnutrition by more than – what, 50 percent? Is that right?

STAFF: Seventy-three.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Seventy-three percent. So they – he obviously has a story to tell. He is also the designee to become the new head of FAO, though he is not here in that capacity.

We also are going to have Kathy Spahn, who’s the president and CEO of the Helen Keller International, which is actually a program that brings together agriculture and micronutrients in the ways in which it teaches people to garden and grow, as well as step through the micronutrients that are necessary for capacity in communities as well as the health of children.

Paul Polman, who’s the CEO of Unilever, will also be here. They have committed to sourcing from 500,000 small-holder farms in developing nations over the next 10 years, and they are on track to do that, and so he will speaking to why they believe that’s a critical commitment for the partnership that they have actually developed in that particular regard.

And then we also will have Reema Nanavaty-- I’m going to pronounce her name as Reema Nanavaty. I guess that’s the way you pronounce it. But she is going to actually be speaking on behalf of SEWA, the Self-Employed Women’s Association, which represents more than five million women who are – two thirds of which are agricultural producers and participants. And so she will be speaking to the unique needs that women have and the opportunities for their growth and contribution, should they be fully invested in.

So we are looking forward to a thoughtful discussion. We eliminated all opening statements, so it goes straight to questions, so hopefully that will also make for a more engaging panel.

QUESTION: Bravo. (Laughter.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: (Inaudible) and then it’s over, and you’re like – so yes.

MS. NULAND: Any questions on this event?

All right. Thank you to our two briefers.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Thank you, guys. Appreciate it.

QUESTION: Just a clarification.


QUESTION: What’s this Korean organization?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Sae-A. Actually, they’re one of the largest manufacturers, actually. So yes, they source from Wal-Mart, they source from Gap, they – I mean they put a number of the different companies.

MS. NULAND: Can you spell it for our colleagues?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: It’s S – capital S, small a-e, hyphen, capital A. Sae-A. And actually, the president and chairman of Sae-A will be at CGI tomorrow speaking to investment in Haiti and the panel that they are having and why he made the commitment to invest what has been, really, one of the largest investments that Haiti has seen in over 50 years, so quite a substantial amount of investment.

MS. NULAND: Great. Thank you very much.


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PRN: 2011/1527