UN reconstruction conference in New York: Switzerland to support Haiti with 90 million Swiss francs
At the "Toward a New Future for Haiti" ministerial conference in New York on 31 March, the Swiss delegation headed by SDC Director-General Martin Dahinden presented its programme for supporting the Haitian people. In addition to humanitarian aid, Switzerland will also support Haiti with its long-term reconstruction plans. At the conference, Martin Dahinden identified the areas on which Switzerland will focus: "After the disastrous earthquake, Switzerland supported Haiti with its largest emergency aid programme ever. Switzerland will, however, also help Haiti with its reconstruction efforts. We believe that the main challenges that the long-term reconstruction programme will face include the rebuilding of the social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, rural development and the security of food supplies."
Switzerland will follow the guidelines of the UN's reconstruction action plan for Haiti. To ensure that all efforts do not focus exclusively on the capital Port-au-Prince, Switzerland, in synchronisation with the intentions of the Haitian government, will also support decentralised programmes. Switzerland has a cooperation office in Port-au-Prince since 2005 and is therefore well acquainted with the situation in Haiti.
Switzerland's contribution to the economic, social and political reconstruction efforts will be financed by the restructuring of existing framework credits. It will be covered by the 2006 credit line for humanitarian aid (CHF 20 million) and the 2008 credit line for development cooperation (CHF 15.9 million). Switzerland's aid to Haiti between 2010 and 2012 will therefore total CHF 35.9 million, to which can be added a further CHF 55 million raised by Swiss Solidarity and its partner organisations.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO intends to contribute USD 4 million to the programme to cancel Haiti's debt to the World Bank. Switzerland also supports the programme to relieve Haiti of all its debt to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) by replenishing the IDB's concessional window fund.
An earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale devastated Haiti on 12 March 2010 and caused massive destruction. UN sources report more than 220,000 deaths and 300,000 injured. About 1.5 million people have lost their homes and now live in makeshift camps.