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H.E. Mr. René Garcia Préval, President
24 September, 2010
- Statement: French (Check against delivery)
RENÉ PRÉVAL, President of Haiti, paid tribute to the memory of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, those who came to help them and some 100 United Nations staff, particularly former Special Representative of the Secretary-General Heidi Annabi, who had died during the 12 January Haitian earthquake. Every tragedy offered some solace in terms of generating human solidarity. He thanked the people and Governments worldwide who came to Haiti’s aid. That assistance had been crucially important, particularly during the first few weeks. He thanked Haitians abroad who had joined the international solidarity movement and set up the mechanisms to help Haiti rebuild. He also thanked the Haitians at home, who demonstrated great dignity, kindness, heroism, stamina and devotion.
Despite its limited resources, Haiti had always demonstrated its full belief in the oneness of the human race, he said. It fully appreciated the international community’s immense movement of solidarity and compassion from the moment after the earthquake struck to the commitments made on 31 March during the United Nations conference to reconstruct the country based on the Haitian Government’s Plan of Action.
With the aid of the international community and the support of the United Nations, an interim commission was set up to coordinate resources for rebuilding Haiti. It was an important strategic mechanism to help Haiti transparently manage and carefully mobilize with the international community support for the country as it rebuilt itself. He said that commission had already adopted more than 30 projects in education, health, infrastructure and other areas worth some $1 billion. He went on to thank those countries and agencies that had fulfilled their financial pledges and said he trusted that others would follow suit to help the Haitian Government respond quickly to the more than 1 million Haitians still living in tent cities and temporary shelter.
Despite significant progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals, much remained to be done because developed countries were not fulfilling their financial commitments. He criticized the large defence budgets and spending on speculation in the virtual economy. He was also concerned that ODA continued to fall even though in 2005, developed countries had committed to doubling such aid by 2010. Developed countries gave three times more in subsidies to their farmers than the allotted-for international development assistance, he added.
The time had come for a new kind of globalization based on common humanity, trust, cooperation and mutual respect, as well as respect for the environment and all forms of life, he said. The global village would not be able to survive if its rich neighbourhoods lived alongside the wretched in the South. Haiti was an island in a region swept by hurricanes. Global warming was particularly worrying, as were the more frequent and devastating cyclones and rising sea level. Full-scale bloody battles in drug producing and transit countries in the South sometimes jeopardized the very existence of those States, but the engine for profitable drug trafficking was really the demand for drugs in the North. The only remaining hope was for a renewed humanism. In addition, South-South cooperation offered some hope, and he urged leaders in countries in the global South to develop such mechanisms.
He called for lifting the embargo against Cuba, which had been condemned in many Assembly resolutions and was contrary to international trade. He expressed condolences to those nations that had suffered recently from natural disasters. Presidential and legislative elections would soon take place in Haiti. It was important that the difficult election process be monitored and carried out properly, transparently and fairly in order to consolidate Haiti’s young democracy. He appealed to everyone involved to work together so the elections could be held successfully.