WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — After nearly three months of earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, the devastated island nation has become a textbook example of the need to reform an outdated U.S. foreign assistance system.
“Haiti presents a great opportunity for us to start doing things differently,” said. Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.
In order to make long-term aid in Haiti more effective and sustainable, Bread for the World has created guiding principles for donors-including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), other governments, and nongovernmental organizations. “We need to make long-term development the primary objective, with an empowered USAID leading the way for U.S. government efforts in Haiti,” said Rev. Beckmann. “USAID should seek the active and sustained participation of Haiti-based civil society coalitions and their U.S. partners-Haitians helping Haitians, with the U.S. playing a crucial supporting role.”
Other key principles include:
— Ensure an all-of-government approach so that our policies in other areas do not undercut our efforts to reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic growth.
— Ensure that USAID has the resources and capabilities to respond to Haiti’s needs.
Also, USAID must partner with the Haitian government to build an effective public administration infrastructure that can better deal with future natural disasters or other catastrophic events.
Yesterday, the United States and United Nations co-hosted a high-level donors’ conference of more than 100 countries and international development organizations. The conference aimed to secure an initial $3.8 billion in international pledges for a decade-long recovery program that the Haitian government estimates will cost $14 billion. At the end of the daylong meeting, the pledges totaled $9.9 billion, including $1.15 billion from the United States.
“Bread for the World is encouraged that so many donor nations came together yesterday at the United Nations to gather pledges of nearly $10 billion in additional funds to bolster humanitarian relief efforts for the earthquake-ravaged Haitian people,” said Rev. Beckmann. “However, the significant challenges we are facing to effectively coordinate the ongoing relief work as we approach 90 days out from the disaster tell us that in order to achieve real success, we must administer Haitian aid with a more capacity-building approach from this point forward.”
Rev. Beckmann added that Bread for the World is pleased that President Obama asked Congress last week for $2.8 billion in emergency supplemental funds for Haiti, as it is consistent with his call for a “swift, coordinated, and aggressive response effort” shortly after the earthquake struck on January 12.
Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
SOURCE Bread for the World