Some progress in Haiti amid security, development difficulties – UN team

14 May 2009

The challenge facing Haiti of achieving stability and economic recovery remains great, especially after a year of damaging setbacks, but the impoverished nation has seen significant progress in the last two years, the head of a United Nations team that visited the country said today.

“Last year was an extraordinarily difficult year for the country with the devastation wrought by four hurricanes, the rise in food prices and of oil prices,” Ambassador John McNee of Canada told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York

But he noted that the improving security situation and the continued recruitment and training of the Haitian national police were encouraging signs for the future.

“The public opinion polls in Haiti recently suggested very considerable confidence amongst the populace in the police,” stressed Mr. McNee, who led the Ad Hoc Advisory Group of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on a four-day trip to Haiti in early May.

The group’s main task was to assess progress towards economic and social development and reinforce the UN’s long-term commitment to the people of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The ECOSOC delegation also examined the procedures for the coordination of international aid to Haiti, and Mr. McNee urged donors and aid organizations to ensure their assistance is consistent with the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty Document.

He highlighted meetings with President René Préval and Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis, who he said are “determined to try and take the country forward.”

A broad partnership that includes the Government and people of Haiti, the UN and all its funds and programmes, and other international partners was vital to promote recovery and stability in the country, he concluded.

“Haiti merits and needs the continued attention and engagement of the international community.”

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