The United Nations today welcomed the Haitian Parliament’s approval of a new Prime Minister after months of delay, voicing hope that the impoverished country where the world body maintains a large peacekeeping force can now accelerate its reconstruction efforts.
Haiti’s Senate yesterday followed the country’s lower parliamentary chamber in endorsing President Michel Martelly’s choice of Garry Conille, a veteran UN official who was most recently resident coordinator in Niger, after Parliament rejected two earlier nominees in a stand-off that prompted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Mariano Fernández to express concern for national stability.
Today Mr. Fernández hailed the endorsement and called on all sectors of Haitian society to intensify their dialogue to reach agreement on initiatives that strengthen democratic institutions, ensure peace and security, and promote sustainable social and economic development.
He urged Parliament to approve Mr. Conille’s Government programme so that major reconstruction efforts can be launched without further delay in Haiti, which has been torn by instability, afflicted by hurricanes, floods and landslides, and is still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake, which in January 2010 killed over 200,000 people, displaced 2.3 million more, and caused enormous material damage.
Mr. Conille has served as chief of staff for former United States president Bill Clinton in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Haiti, and has worked for the UN since 1999, serving in Ethiopia, Haiti and most recently in Niger, where he was also the Representative of UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Mr. Fernández heads the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which currently fields nearly 9,000 troops and over 3,500 police and has been on the ground since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest.
MINUSTAH has a broad mandate, ranging from ensuring security and stability, supporting constitutional and political processes and helping to organize and monitor free and fair elections, to assisting in the protection of human rights and aiding reconstruction efforts after the quake, including in the implementation of resettlement strategies for displaced persons.
Addressing the Security Council last month, Mr. Fernández appealed to the international community to ramp up its funding and development activities in Haiti, warning that political tensions and precarious socio-economic conditions are threatening its stability.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, who visited Haiti last week, warned that the humanitarian crisis following the earthquake is not over.
She said improving access to safe drinking water, sanitation and food would be the priority humanitarian tasks over the next year.