Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power pledges €13 million to Haiti’s recovery
An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha Preas Ráiteas
Department of Foreign Affairs Press Release
Preas Oifig, Teach Uibh Eachach, Faiche Stiabhna, Baile Átha Cliath 2
Press Office, Iveagh House, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.
Tel: 353 -1- 478 0822 Fax: 353 -1- 478 5942 / 475 7476
Today at the United Nations, the Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power TD, will pledge €13 million towards rebuilding Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 12 January.
Minister Power will be speaking on Wednesday morning at an international donors’ conference in New York, which will be chaired by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in cooperation with the Government of Haiti.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive will outline his government’s long-term reconstruction plan, which draws on a comprehensive post-disaster assessment carried out by the United Nations, EU, World Bank and others.
The Irish pledge of €13 million over three years will be used to support the Haitian plan to recover and rebuild the devastated country. It includes €1 million for the relief of Haiti’s debt to the World Bank.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Minister Power said:
“The devastation wrought by the earthquake of 12 January provoked an outpouring of public sympathy and an overwhelmingly generous response by the people of Ireland. The Government moved swiftly to provide emergency aid and funding, which to date has exceeded €4 million.
Today, I am building on that commitment with a pledge to provide financial support over the next three years which will bring the Irish Government’s total support to €13 million.
The scale of the challenge is enormous: the damage resulting from the earthquake is estimated at $7.9 billion – more than Haiti’s entire economic output last year. While the Haitian Government’s long-term plan has the potential to transform the fortunes of Haiti in the years ahead, the immediate needs of affected families are immense.
As the rains begin and the hurricane season looms, we must urgently address the lack of shelter and sanitation facilities if we are to prevent an even more serious humanitarian crisis in the months ahead.
Equally, we must remain focused at all times on protecting the most vulnerable: women, children, the elderly and disabled. The Government has prioritised these areas for funding and will continue to do so in the months ahead.
Over the next three years, we will support the Haitian Government’s action plan which is strongly focused on rebuilding the country’s shattered infrastructure; strengthening security, justice and planning systems; reducing the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters and providing health, education and housing. Stimulating economic growth will also be a priority to support the Haitian people in rebuilding their lives,” Minister Power said.
The funding of €13 million incorporates almost €1 million towards the cancellation of Haiti’s remaining debt to the World Bank.
Minister Power said:
“I warmly welcome the statement by the World Bank that an agreement with donors has been reached to cancel the remaining debt owed by Haiti to the World Bank.
Ireland will contribute almost €1m to cancel Haiti’s debt to the Bank’s International Development Association.
Ireland has stated very clearly that the tragic earthquake of 12 January should not lead to further indebtedness for Haiti, and that vital resources should not be diverted from the response to the disaster.
More broadly, Ireland remains strongly committed to international efforts to cancel or ease the debt burden on developing countries. In Ireland’s case, all of our development assistance is provided in the form of grants and not loans.
I would like to thank the Minister of Finance and his Department who participated in the negotiations. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Finance will continue to monitor the handling of Haiti’s remaining multilateral debt. I also call on any remaining bilateral creditors to cancel Haiti’s debt.”
For further information or to request an interview with Minister Power, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, press officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs on 087-9099975.
Notes to the editor
- Video and audio feed of the Minister’s UN speech is available on request.
- Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs
- Ireland’s pledge of €13 million will be disbursed over three years. It will support the Haitian Government’s plan for reconstruction, which draws on the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment carried out by the UN, EU, World Bank and others in consultation with civil society, NGOs and the private sector.
- Ireland’s support will focus meeting needs in the areas of shelter, sanitation and protection, with a particular emphasis on supporting women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
- Almost €1 million will go towards cancellation of Haiti’s debt to the World Bank. Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan and officials from his Department participated in the negotiations which led to the World Bank cancelling Haiti’s outstanding debt. The debt cancellation will be implemented via a new dedicated debt relief trust fund set up at the World Bank’s Development Association. The funds are made available from unallocated investment income from the existing Debt Relief Trust Fund to which Ireland is a contributor.
- The pledge of €13 million includes the €4 million already provided to Haiti. This is made up of almost €3 million in direct emergency funding to UN agencies and Irish NGOs including Concern, Haven, World Vision, Plan Ireland and Goal. It also includes two consignments of 130 tonnes of emergency supplies of shelter and sanitation equipment which were distributed by Concern, Goal and Trocaire on the ground.
- Ireland contributed €20 million to the United Nation's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2009 and a total of €73 million since it was set up in 2006 following the Asian Tsunami. The CERF provides immediately-accessible funds to the UN for use in a crisis such as that in Haiti. Ireland is the seventh largest donor to this fund. This funding was drawn upon in the wake of the Haitian earthquake.
- Six members of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps are currently on deployment in Haiti: Three are working with the World Food Programme, one with Concern, one with Goal and one with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Further deployments are anticipated.
Department of Foreign Affairs
30 March 2010