16 Jul 2014
MARÍA EUGENIA CASAR, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR OF UNDP, DURING HER 48-HOUR VISIT TO HAITI, JULY 14-15. PHOTO UNDP/HAITI
Accompanied by Peter de Clercq, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative, and Sophie de Caen, the Senior United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director in Haiti, the Associate Administrator visited the 16/6 Project in the Nérette and Morne Hercules neighbourhoods and an expanding plastic recycling company supported by the UNDP Suppliers’ Development Program (SDP).
“This is my first visit to Haiti and I am very impressed by the work of the communities themselves in the neighbourhoods,” Ms. Casar said at the end of her visit to Morne Hercules. “Clearly, there is still a lot to do, but we must continue the efforts underway. These achievements attest to the effective use of the funds provided to the UNDP to support the government and the entire country. Yes, funding must be renewed and yes, we are moving in the right direction.”
The 16/6 Project, launched in 2011 by the Haitian government with UNDP support, has created eight community platforms, built five public squares, closed 50 displaced persons’ camps set up after the 12 January 2010 earthquake and enabled more than 10,900 families to return to their neighbourhoods of origin.
Mr. de Clercq, the Deputy Special Representative, emphasized the urgent need to transition to development. “This is the direction that Haiti must take,” he noted. “Efforts must focus on the long-term in the areas of urban planning, social protection and employment as a matter of priority. It’s time to change the approach and keep sustainable development in mind.”
Ms. de Caen restated the UNDP’s determination to continue to build capacity within local civil society and congratulated the communities’ commitment to the 16/6 Project. “The UNDP will continue to support the government, working closely with the communities,” the Senior Country Director said. “Only they can identify their priorities and tell us where to take action in order to make significant improvements in their living conditions.”
The delegation wanted to spend the second part of the morning visiting a plastics recycling company.
“This company is a positive example in terms of business for Haiti,” said Ms. Casar. “Its manager, Mr. Saint Juste, started with nothing and now, four years later, he runs a business with 126 employees that not only creates employment, but helps to clean up the country by recycling used plastic.”
“Before creating this company, I had a store,” Mr. Saint Juste said. “In 2009, I decided to volunteer in a recycling company in China. I learned about working with plastic and decided to create the company because we have so much of this raw material in my country. I have transformed waste into a source of income.”
Ms. Casar also emphasized the valuable support the company has received from the UNDP suppliers’ program in Haiti. “I participated in the SDP in Mexico, where it is very successful,” she noted. “By ensuring supplier quality and proper operations, it allows business to grow significantly.”
Jameson Salomon, the SDP coordinator in Haiti, noted that the UNDP implements the program in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and that it seeks to optimize the creation of decent jobs in small and medium-sized businesses.
The UNDP’s new associate administrator ended her visit by meeting with the agency’s Haiti staff to congratulate them on their accomplishments and encourage them to meet future challenges.
“It is critical to come into the field to obtain a realistic view of the situation,” Ms. Casar noted, before heading back to UNDP headquarters in New York. “My Haitian colleagues are working hard and I want to thank them. I will do everything possible to encourage our donors to continue their funding over the long-term in the interest of the Haitian people.”
Ms. Casar’s first field visit was part of a larger visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, during which they met with Haitian President Michel Joseph Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to discuss the future of the United Nations in Haiti. It was an opportunity for the Secretary-General to launch a cholera vaccination campaign for 200,000 people and renew the United Nations’ support for all development actors in Haiti.