Thank you, Mr. President, and special thanks to our Canadian colleagues for chairing the Ad Hoc Group and shepherding this excellent effort, and to the Haitian Ambassador for his thorough and interesting intervention.
The U.S. is a proud member of the Ad Hoc Group and a strong contributor to international community efforts to assist the Haitian people, to help them recover from devastating natural disasters and to create an environment for long-term economic growth and development. Support to Haiti remains one of our top foreign policy priorities. As of March this year, the United States has made available $3.6 billion in assistance, of which $2.6 billion has been disbursed for humanitarian assistance and recovery, reconstruction and development assistance.
We appreciate the role that the Ad Hoc Advisory Group plays in elevating and advising on key issues in Haiti. The recommendations in the Group’s report highlight our key concerns and some of the great strides that have been made in the last year.
The UN and the U.S. government have worked together for over a decade to help Haiti strengthen its emergency response capabilities through support to the Directorate of Civil Protection. This support has reaped noteworthy results, as we saw during Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy, including improved public messaging, disaster needs assessment, and intra-governmental communications and decision-making. We will continue to work together to continue that progress at the central, departmental, and communal levels throughout Haiti.
The report discusses some positive movement in the Haitian economy. The U.S. government is proud of its collaborative work with the Government of Haiti around the country, including for improving agriculture techniques, strengthening market systems and assisting the industrial park in Caracol. As recommended in the report, we support major and diverse economic projects throughout Haiti, not just in Port-au-Prince.
The new mandate for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti will continue its focus on protecting civilians, strengthening the rule of law, and promoting human rights. Both the international community and the Haitian people recognize that challenges to Haiti’s management of its internal security continue to exist. New police recruits currently being trained, including hundreds of qualified female police officers, will be essential to helping keep the peace in Haiti as MINUSTAH’s presence draws down. The Government of Haiti, the United Nations, and international donors including the United States support this program.
The U.S. government also supports donor coordination, primarily through le Cadre de coordination de l’aide externe au développement d’Haïti or CAED. We perceive a need for even greater cooperation and coordination between the Government of Haiti, the G12 major development partners, and the UN. We hope that the CAED and the Ministry of Planning will continue to refine and underpin the strategic vision of the Haitian Government and its development plan. Through increased coordination, we also hope that necessary approvals for donor-funded projects can be expedited to allow development funds to be released more quickly for greater impact.
The U.S. government remains concerned about limited progress that has been made regarding the electoral process and judicial systems. We were encouraged by the comments by the Haitian Ambassador in this regard. We will continue to work with the Government of Haiti to prioritize and improve electoral and judicial systems, ensuring that the accused are processed through the judicial system in a timely fashion, and that elections are scheduled for the legislative branch and at the local level at the earliest possible time. We know that this is a shared priority for the people of Haiti.
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