HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway inspired by UNDP’s efforts in Haiti
UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and the Minister of International Development, H. E. Mr. Heikki Holmås today ended a three-day visit to Haiti. They met with Haitian authorities, Haitian people and members of the civil society.
Port-au-Prince - During his first visit to Haiti, the Crown Prince of Norway was impressed by the dynamics and resourcefulness of Haitian communities to rebuild their cities and their economy.
“Progress on recovery is undoubtedly being made, but Haiti still faces a number of challenges to its recovery and development. I strongly believe that these challenges can be resolved with the leadership of the Haitian authorities, the engagement of the Haitian people and the continued support of Haiti’s international partners”, said Crown Prince Haakon on Wednesday.
UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Crown Prince Haakon and H. E. Mr. Heikki Holmås visited several sites in the southern region of Haiti and in the capital Port-au-Prince. During their stay in the South, they visited riverbank management sites in Chantal where the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) helped build gabion walls that contributed to protect schools, communities, farmlands, harvests and critical infrastructure during Hurricane Sandy that hit Haiti last week.
“Norway has been actively engaged in Haiti through contributions since 2010. We are very pleased to see this money was able to reduce the communities’ vulnerability and reinforce their resilience to face disasters. We are committed to continue to support long-term efforts in Haiti”, said the Norwegian Minister.
In Port-au-Prince, the delegation had the opportunity to walk in urban areas newly rehabilitated using recycled debris. Close to 80 per cent of the 10 million cubic metres of rubble caused by the earthquake has been removed by Haitians and supported by the international community. Thirty per cent of these were recycled and transformed into non‐structural building materials out of which memorials, stairs, corridors and public squares have been created.
The UNDP-led initiatives have generated 20,000 temporary jobs for thousands of people suffering from unemployment. Within reconstruction and employment programmes, the Goodwill Ambassador and the delegation also visited one of the community reconstruction centers. This Government of Haiti-UNDP programme has been empowering quake-affected communities in Port-au-Prince and the western town of Léogâne to directly take charge of house reparations, with engineering assessments and construction trainings. So far, more than 6,200 houses that were damaged by the earthquake have been evaluated by the project team of engineers and 4,500 participants have taken part in training courses on seismic resistant construction and rehabilitation techniques.
“The images of the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010 will forever be etched in my memory. But on this visit, my focus is on the progress being made by the Haitian people with the support of international partners, to get Haiti up and running again. I reaffirm both UNDP and Norway’s strong and long-term commitment to working with the government and people of Haiti on the achievement of their national development goals”, said UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.
To wrap up his visit, Crown Prince Haakon will visit downtown Port-au-Prince to understand the challenges of relocating internally displaced communities through the 16 camps/6 neighbourhoods project. This pilot initiative has enabled 11,000 families to go back to their neighbourhoods of origin and aims at offering improved living conditions in these neighbourhoods through the rehabilitation of basic services such as roads, water points, electricity and public spaces. The project also includes support to the Haitian Government’s Provider Development Programme which aims at boosting private sector competitiveness and productivity while also helping to build a chain of quality local providers on the Haitian market. The overall objective is to promote decent and sustainable long-term jobs to Haitian women and men.
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway has been a dedicated and knowledgeable UNDP Goodwill Ambassador since 2003 with ambitions to help close the gap between the rich and the poor worldwide. Advocating for progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is at the core of Crown Prince Haakon’s UNDP engagement. He has used his Ambassador status to express that even though development is a long-term process, the international community has to live up to the promise of achieving the MDGs by 2015.
Norway’s contribution to Haiti includes concrete long-term rehabilitation measures for the protection of vulnerable groups, facilitating dialogue in the process of reconstruction, disaster prevention, sustainable management of natural resources and renewable energy. Norway cooperates with governments, the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank and regional actors such as Brazil, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Norway is a member of the Haiti Reconstruction Fund.
Norway has contributed greatly to the reconstruction of Haiti after the earthquake. Through UNDP Haiti, Norway has funded projects for over 18 million dollars, in particular related to disaster risk reduction and environmental protection and specific areas such as clean energy and gender equality. The funding made available from Norway has for instance helped the Haitian government prepare for the cyclone season, coordinating the response effectively as was demonstrated during Hurricane Isaac and Sandy; it has enabled the protection of populations from flooding in the South and enabled the reforestation of over 800 hectares of land.
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