Remarks After the Haiti Donors Conference

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York City
March 31, 2010

SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, excellencies, your colleagues. Today, the international community has come together dramatically in solidarity with Haiti and its people. President Preval’s rendezvous with history has come to pass. By their actions this day, the friends of Haiti have acted far beyond the expectation. We can report very good news. The member states of the United Nations and international partners have pledged $5.3 billion U.S. dollars for the next two years and $9.9 billion in total for the next three years and beyond. (Applause.)


Today, the United Nations are united for Haiti. The international community has acted unanimously and for the long term. This is the down payment Haiti needs for wholesale national renewal. It is the way to building back better. Now, it comes down to implementation – delivery on our promises, transparency, and accountability. We must make sure Haiti gets the money it needs when it needs it. And we must guarantee that it is well-coordinated and well-spent.


I want to thank, once again, international community for their extraordinary generosity. This is international solidarity in action. I also want to thank co-host Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the five co-chairs present here for the successful outcome. My special appreciation should go to Special Envoy President Bill Clinton. He’ll be working with UN agencies and, of course, the Government of Haiti in tracking these resources and following through. The plight of these people requires immediate action, and we are all painfully aware of the difficult living conditions in the camps, and in particular, reports of sexual violence against women and children.


Very soon, I will dispatch the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations to Haiti to survey the situation in the camps, assess the steps 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.


Thank you very much, and I invite the Secretary of State, then President Preval. Thank you very much.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Secretary General, and I want to express great appreciation to the Secretary General and to the United Nations. The United Nations itself suffered grievous losses in Haiti, but from the first hours of the disaster, it pulled together to provide indispensible global coordination. And I know for the Secretary General, this is a deeply felt, personal commitment, so thank you, sir.


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you very much.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And I want to also express great appreciation for the efforts of President Preval and the Haitian Government. As we’ve heard many times today, under the most difficult circumstances, with their ministries in ruin, with people having lost houses, family members, with ministers unable to even know who was left in their offices, the government worked very hard to meet the needs of its people and to begin planning for the future. President Preval, thank you for your steadfast commitment to Haiti’s future.


And I want to thank our co-chairs – Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain – for their tremendous support. This has been a real team effort. You see the people up here, but literally behind us have been the hundreds and hundreds of people in the UN, in Haiti, in our governments, in the EU, other multilateral institutions who have done the hard work to bring about this successful day of commitment and solidarity.


Today, 48 countries, multilateral institutions, and a coalition of NGOs have pledged nearly $10 billion toward the long-term reconstruction efforts in Haiti. Now, that is an impressive sum by any standard. But even more critically, of this amount, more than $5 billion has been raised for the first 18 months of Haiti’s reconstruction. This far exceeds the $3.9 billion that the Haitians identified as their minimum need for this time period.


This money has been pledged by a diverse community of nations – from Brazil, of course, to the other co-hosts, but also Mali and Montenegro, Kuwait, the nations of CARICOM and so many more. All of the countries and their pledges will be on the website for this conference. Now, to put this effort in perspective, after the 2004 tsunami, more than 80 countries provided immediate humanitarian assistance, and more than 20 countries pledged assistance for reconstruction.


As of today, more than 140 countries have provided humanitarian assistance to Haiti and nearly 50 countries have made pledges of support for Haiti’s rebuilding. This signals a new level of global commitment, coordination, and cooperation. Today, the Government of Haiti presented its reconstruction plan. We heard from Prime Minister Bellerive a roadmap for building a new Haiti, a Haiti with a vibrant private sector, accountable and effective government institutions, and international partners that would be working with Haiti, not separate and apart from Haiti. This plan represents a renewed commitment by the Haitian Government to define needs and priorities, to step up accountability and transparency, and to improve delivery of services.


All of us are committed to this process, but no one has more at stake than the Haitian people. And I was very pleased that our conference today included their voices as well – members of civil society and of the private sector and others who responded to focus groups and made sure that their needs were known to all of us.


We have the chance not only to contribute to Haiti’s progress but to demonstrate that the international community can achieve a new level of effectiveness and impact to test new approaches, use new technologies, engage one another to build stronger ties between our countries and peoples.


Aid is important, but aid has never saved a country. Our goal must be the empowerment of the Haitian people. They are the ones who will carry on the work of rebuilding Haiti long after our involvement has ended. Haiti does not only need medicines and surgeries, but it needs the doctors and nurses who can deliver the regular care and sustain a thriving health system. Haiti not only needs new school buildings, but it needs teachers and administrators. It needs the people of Haiti to be given the tools to be able to deliver on the promise of their own future.


I’m very proud that the United States has played a role in this, but it has been, as I said at the beginning, a team effort. Since January 12th, the United States has provided already more than $930 million in assistance. The money that we pledged today, more than a billion dollars, will go toward reconstruction and multilateral debt relief. And we’re looking forward to the establishment of the multi donor trust fund. We’re going to be led by the core principles we laid out in the Montreal in January at the conference convened by the Canadian Government. Reconstruction will be Haitian-led, inclusive, accountable, transparent, coordinated, and results-oriented.


So, Secretary General, this has been a good day, a good day for Haiti, a good day for the United Nations, but also a good day for the international community, which has demonstrated our ability to rise to a challenge of the scope and significance of that posed by the disaster in Haiti, and to demonstrate that the people of the world are united in our efforts to help build that better future.


Thank you. (Applause.)


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you very much. Mr. President.


PRESIDENT PREVAL: (Via interpreter) Mr. Secretary General, Secretary of State, my dear friends, co-chairs of this conference, first of all, Secretary General, allow me once again to express my condolences to the United Nations family for the major losses that were suffered, and particularly the deaths of Hedi Annabi and Mr. da Costa, and all those who were with them on that day. I’d also like to express my condolences to all those countries who suffered losses on that day, the 12th of January.


Thank you for the spontaneous response in coming to the assistance of Haiti in the first moments following the disaster. Today, it has been demonstrated that the international community will continue to support Haiti over the long term and it will meet the needs that this disaster has caused. And the figures clearly show the losses. Now the contributions have been made both by small countries, small contributions, and also major contributions by larger countries. This is a heartfelt effort and it demonstrates that Haiti is not on its own. And we express on behalf of Haitian people, thank you.


The international community has done its part. The Haitian people today must now do their part. First, they must continue that process which will make this – these millions available, and that is to – the review and ratification by the parliament of that law which will allow this process to continue. And it’s our hope, given the urgency of the situation, that this will be done as soon as possible.


The Secretary of State has just pointed out that the assistance is – assistance is not development, but it does prepare the ground for development. We need investment in the private sector in Haiti, both within Haiti and also from the diaspora and also foreign investment. The Haitian people must play their role also in this respect by ensuring that investors will enjoy political stability and clear legal rules governing those investments. We must take advantage of this opportunity that we now have and I appeal to my fellow Haitians to understand the effort that has now been made by the international community and the responsibility that we now have in the interest of our country to respond rapidly and appropriately.


Thank you, Secretary of State. Thank you, Secretary General. Thank you, my dear friends, for being willing to help the people of Haiti. And once again, thank you very much. (Applause.)


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you. And Mr. President, I’d like to invite the co-chairs to say, one by one, starting from foreign minister of Brazil, very briefly – very briefly. (Laughter.)


FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: Thank you, Mr. Secretary General. If you’ll say once more very briefly, I better stay silent. (Laughter.) But I’ll be very brief indeed. I think I already said what I had to say in my speech in the morning and I don’t want to repeat. I just want to say this really is a historic date for Haiti, certainly, but also for the UN. I mean, we very often hear outside this building “What’s the use of the UN? What are you all talking about?” Here, you have a concrete reply to this question so often made and which sometimes have – difficult to answer. Now, we have this concrete answer.


But it’s a historic date also for Haiti, because as someone said, it’s – in a way, Haiti is proclaiming its second independence. The first one, Toussaint Louverture, had to fight with the forces of the moment and had a high price to pay. This time, it’s the country. It’s the independence with the support of the international community. And we all have to be very happy for that.


Two quick ideas which I will mention and which already were in my speech, but I want to mention once again: You don’t have real economic development if you don’t have markets. So I want to insist if we want, really, to help Haiti, not to be dependent on charity, but really to develop – let us try to open markets to Haiti. Let us give duty-free, quota-free to Haitian products with preferential rules of origin. Those who know trade know what that means and know how important it will be for investment in textile and some other – so many areas which President Clinton, among others, have mentioned.


Second idea: Let us make of this tragic 12th of January the universal date of solidarity. That’s not only symbolic, not only rhetoric, but it’s to remind us for the next few years that we still have a job to perform, that the job of solidarity is not only exhausted today; it has to be repeated in the surveillance of the implementation of what we decided today.


So these are the two things. I think I was brief enough. Thank you very much. (Applause.)


FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Thank you. I’m, as well, heartened by the enthusiasm, the passion, and the commitment demonstrated by the international community here today. Haiti’s family and global support network has grown sustainability – I’m sorry, substantially. The seeds that we planted in Montreal – the Montreal principles less than three months ago – are now beginning to emerge. We have come in solidarity, we have given generously, and now, we expect results. As donors, we have set a high bar for our own coordination and we have committed to be transparent and accountable.


For their part, we have heard from the Haitians, from the president, from the prime minister, we’ve heard from the Haitian civil society that they accept the need for real change in their country, and to address longstanding impediments in inequalities that have limited the progress of their people and their nation. What is needed to move forward is not merely political stability, but a strong, unified, national political consensus.


(Via interpreter) If this commitment is to be met and sustained, if we can continue to target our priorities, then every dollar invested wisely and in an effective way, then we can fulfill our commitments to the people of Haiti to ensure a better future for them and their children. We’ve made considerable progress in order to build upon the current trend towards assisting Haiti. And today, we’ve reached a major stage on the long path ahead of us. Now, we must rapidly achieve results. Thank you. (Applause.)


MS. ASHTON: In 35 seconds, 235,000 people perished, 300,000 people were injured, and 1 million people became homeless. The United Nations and international organizations lost people who were there dedicated to provide a better future for Haiti. Remembering all that, I want to pay tribute to the 27 members of the European Union and to the institutions who have committed themselves to supporting this effort today – an effort that I believe is engaged in producing an economic future for all the people of Haiti, and especially for the children, some of whom I was privileged in my visit to meet.


Mr. President, this is only the beginning, but I think everyone here is committed to support you to the end of this process. (Applause.)


FOREIGN MINISTER KOUCHNER: (Via interpreter) On some occasions, we can be proud to be a part of the international community, sometimes. But we also wonder why it’s always in the face of a disaster that we respond so well. Alfred de Musset say that nothing makes us as great as a great suffering the feels of disaster of those that are the most beautiful. Why do we always come together when a disaster occurs? That’s the question that I ask myself.


I believe that we all felt on that 12th of January that we were all Haitians, all of us. And today, we continue to be Haitians. What has changed, as the prime ministers just told me, is the development paradigm. So I congratulate you also on changing the development paradigm. We’re not just satisfied with – and we’ve all been humanitarian workers in Haiti. What has changed now is that the Haitian people have taken the decision to assume responsibility for their own future.


Thank you, Secretary General, President. Thank you all. This was a collective endeavor and we enjoyed working together. Thank you, Prime Minister. Thank you. (Applause.)


VICE PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ DE LA VEGA SANZ: (Via interpreter) I would like to join others and thank the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Secretary of State of the United States for organizing this conference. This day of work, and as you have seen, it has been most fruitful. There is no doubt. As has been said, today is an important day. It’s an important day for the people of Haiti and the whole world. We have taken a new step with that commitment for reconstruction of Haiti that started with the Santo Domingo conference, continued in Montreal, and today, we have turned it into figures.


The figures might be seen as cold, as some people say. They are not. These are figures that speak to us of solidarity, of peoples and nations, of the whole planet. This is an important day today. It is important because you can see the before and after in international political cooperation. I am convinced now that we have started that commitment so that donors can not only speak out with gifts and donations, but also as soon as possible. This will mean tangible reality for the Haitian people.


Spain welcomes the development of this conference. This conference has not only shown great economic results, but it also set a new financial institutional architecture, and the United Nations will ensure transparency and monitoring over implementation of reconstruction projects. The challenge, ladies and gentlemen, is an important one. Difficulty is an excuse, though, that this world and the future do not accept.


Today, peoples of all continents and from the whole planet have signed a statement, a pledge for the future of Haiti. It is the determination of the Government of Spain that we make sure that this is a declaration for a better world. Thank you. (Applause.)


MODERATOR: We have time for three questions. When you ask your question, please could I ask you to say to whom the question is addressed? The first is EFE. Please, could you use the microphone as well? Thank you very much.


QUESTION: Hi. Secretary General, first I would like to ask you (inaudible) –


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: The microphone, please.


QUESTION: Sorry. To the Secretary General first, how can you assure to the international community that the money that has been pledged today is going to go to the right hands and not to, as the skeptics say, to – or it’s going to be invested in the wrong things?


(Via interpreter) And also, I’d like to ask the co-chair from Spain, do you believe that what was achieved today in the experience in helping Haiti will change the cooperation model worldwide? Thank you.


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: First of all, the Government of Haiti and its donor partners are accountable to the people of Haiti to be transparent and effective and accountable. And Haitian Government are also accountable to the international community, and international community are also accountable to Haitian Government and people. We have agreed to a robust internet-based tracking system to report on the delivery of the assistance and an emphasis on measuring performance and results. The pledge will be published and assistance flows tracked through a web-based system being established by the United Nations with the current – with the Government of Haiti. As I said in my remarks, the Office of the Special Envoy, President Clinton, and UNDP will be responsible for that. This information will be available to the public and the system was done to improve on past practice and ensure accountability and transparency. What is again more important is that the pledges should be delivered in time so that when the Government of Haiti needs them, they should be able to use it. That’s a mutual accountability.


VICE PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ DE LA VEGA: (Via interpreter) I believe that Haiti does have that before and after that it can see now in global international cooperation. And I believe that because I believe we have done a good job. We came to this conference with the preparatory work that involved meetings before that for a diagnosis of the situation and to set needs. There were meetings with the participation not only of institutions and donor countries, but also civil society. We had business people, we had local governments, we had nongovernmental organizations. And with all of that and with the plan as defined by the Government of Haiti, the situation was assessed. And then on that basis, we set a new financial architecture, a new institutional architecture, in order to follow up on the plan. Control, transparency and coordination, and quite honestly, I believe that with these parameters we can move forward in a more effective way with this new global model for international cooperation.


MODERATOR: Next, Andy Quinn from Reuters.


QUESTION: A question for the Secretary of State Clinton. Madam Secretary, on Haiti, I’m wondering if you can tell us if Prime Minister Bellerive’s request for $350 million in direct budget support has been covered. And what needs to be done immediately to improve the government’s functions in Haiti.


And if you’ll allow me to ask a question on Iran, we understand that the P-5+1 held their conference call today and unanimously agreed that it was time to move on to a new phase discussing possible sanctions on Iran. Can you tell us what was agreed, how soon ambassadors in New York will meet to begin the negotiations, and what this may mean for President Obama’s timeline on bringing a resolution to a vote within weeks?


And for Minister Amorim – (laughter) – now that the P-5+1 appears to be ready to start drafting a negotiation even before President Lula goes to Tehran, I’m wondering if you’re still comfortable with Brazil’s position, or do you think that there might be – it might change at some point in the future?


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you very much for your questions and interest on all very important matters. Now, this press conference is meant for discussing the Haiti Donor Conference; therefore, I would appeal to you that questions should be directed only on Haiti. And one person, one question. (Laughter and applause.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, what?


QUESTION: The question’s been asked (inaudible) take it now.


QUESTION: Can you please answer?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Which one of the seven questions should I answer? (Laughter.)


No, look, we are working very closely with the Haitian Government on the manner and delivery of the aid that we have committed, as we all are. We are going through the multi donor trust fund. We’re going through bilateral channels. And we will be disclosing and discussing our actions as we move forward. But our commitment is to be as effective, results-oriented, and expeditious as possible.


As you know, our commitment is in the supplemental pending before Congress. We want to get that passed as quickly as we can and begin to implement it.


On your last question, I think you accurately describe the P-5+1 position. It’s been a unified consultative group for more than a year now and it continues to be unified. And there will be a great deal of further consultation not only among the P-5+1 but other members of the Security Council and other member nations during the next weeks.


FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: Well, I’ll start if I may responding to another question that had to do with Haiti, which was not put to me, but since I am (inaudible) another question, I’ll mention that. And that question had to do with how can you be sure that the money gets to the right people. And I’m saying that because in Brazil, when we started the huge program of income transfer, many people in the opposition or in the media asked, “How are you sure that the money is getting to the right people?” Well, five years or six years after that, 30 million people were raised out of poverty, so that was the best reply. So this question of being sure or not being sure is very often an excuse for doing nothing. Of course, that does not mean that we should not have the proper mechanisms we will have, but the most important thing is to have the will to help. And this brings concrete results.


As to the question that was asked more directly to me on Iran, as you know, we are not part of the P-5 so we are not privy to the discussions that take place among the permanent members. Maybe someday that will change, and then I’ll be able to give you a better answer. (Laughter and applause.) But in the meantime, let me tell you that we are always open to any discussions. Of course, as you know, Brazil is in favor of negotiated solutions, but we are also open to discuss and are open to dialogue with other countries. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think all the members of the P-5+1, as well as every other member of the United Nations, is open to negotiated solutions. We happen to think that action in the Security Council is part of negotiation and diplomacy that perhaps can get the attention of the Iranian leadership.


FOREIGN MINISTER KOUCHNER: And if I may, not only – (laughter) – not only we offered, but we did it. We are talking and talking with the Iranian. We did. (Laughter.)


PRESIDENT PREVAL: (Via interpreter) Do I need to develop a nuclear program for Haiti so that we come back to talking about Haiti? (Laughter.)


MODERATOR: So the final question, it’ll be a Haitian question and it’s from FM, Scoop FM.


QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. I’d like to raise a question which may go against the flow of the question raised by the Agence FE with regard to the assistance. I have a question for Mrs. Hillary Clinton, but it’s a different question. There’s always been a problem in the mechanism for disbursing the funds promised by donors, because often the funds that are promised are not actually provided. So what can the guarantees – what guarantees can be given by Secretary of State to the Government of Haiti so that we do end corruption and that the money actually reaches the people?


The second question is to the president of the republic, Mr. Preval. Your Excellency, what decisions will be taken by the government immediately in Port-au-Prince following this conference on the basis of what’s been decided at this conference? Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that we have applied the lessons that have been learned from recent experiences, most particularly what happened after the tsunami, where I think there is general agreement that under United Nations leadership the money collected was very much held accountable and results were delivered. We are trying to do even better. One of the reasons we are posting all of the pledges on the web is so that everyone can see what countries and institutions have pledged. And we’re going to ensure that those who have pledged will deliver on their commitments. And we have set up the multi donor trust fund. The Government of Haiti has set up an intermediate mechanism for 18 months. And we have taken very careful, thoughtful steps among the Government of Haiti, the United Nations, and the rest of us to ensure that the people of Haiti benefit from these extraordinary commitments of generosity from the people around the world.


PRESIDENT PREVAL: (Via interpreter) Thank you, Gary. Well, when we arrive, we will reassure the population with regard to what took place here in this conference. The conference was prepared, as Mrs. Clinton has just said, by hundreds of people who worked in the background. And this was – this is an opportunity now for me to thank all those people, but also to thank, on behalf of Haiti, Prime Minister Mr. Bellerive, who was responsible for ensuring what was achieved this afternoon.


Once again, we need to explain to the various parties in the civil society and the people in general what is in question, what is the program, what is the vision, what – and what way the funds will be spent. Someone asked a moment ago whether budgetary support is included in this package. That will depend on those who have made the pledge. It will depend on the donor. If there are parties which will provide support to the budget, then that part will be managed by the Haitian Government and will be part of the republic’s national budget. If what is pledged as a contribution is not targeted for the budget of the republic, then it will be part of the multi donor trust fund and it will be managed by the World Bank.


The Haitian Government will propose projects to that structure which is to be created, and the implementation of projects, the financial control will be ensured by the World Bank, and there will be a supervisory body for the entire operation. So first of all, we must continue to explain what this is all about, how it will function, what part of the budget will go to the national budget, and what part will be used on the basis of projects to be proposed by the Haitian Government.


And I said a moment ago that we must play our role. It’s not just enough to submit projects without consulting other people, nor will it be a question of submitting the ideas for some projects. We must quickly ensure that the government establishes accelerated processes to study projects, to examine them, to ensure that they can be implemented.


So we have an enormous task ahead of us. All those who believe that the consultation was not broad enough, allow me to remind them that this was a disaster. There are people who are living in their streets. This two and a half months has gone by and we’ve had Montreal, we’ve had Madrid, we’ve had the Dominican Republic conference. Many measures have been taken. And I can assure you that all this was an enormous task. And once again, this is an opportunity for me to thank all those who may not be present here with us this afternoon, but they did work very, very hard to ensure that this conference took place, and to make this success possible.


Thanks again. Thank you once again. (Applause.)


MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. President. This was a day for multilateral diplomacy and a day for multilateral questions. We’re out of time. Thank you very much.

PRN: 2010/380