Haitians and Haiti are at the centre of the UN's work

By Bruno Lemarquis

I want to express my deep appreciation for all the Haitian organizations who were first responders to this crisis, and UN and NGO colleagues who have participated and contributed to the relief efforts till now. I thank you for responding swiftly and generously in this crisis.

Today, we wish to show our support to the people of Haiti. We stand with them as they grieve the loss of their loved ones, their homes and livelihoods. 2,200 people lost their lives on 14 August, and over 800,000 people’s lives have been affected. Each time we hear these numbers, we must remember that everyone represents an individual person – an individual life torn apart, an individual’s home and livelihood destroyed.

And we are here to help alleviate that hardship through the launch of this appeal for financial support to do so.

I'd like to recognize the remarkable leadership of the Prime Minister, the Civil Protection Department and the entire Haitian government in coping with this crisis and in coordinating and leading the response. Despite the multiple political, socio-economic, and climate crises, national authorities have been at the forefront leading the response.

We look forward to a continued close working relationship. In the implementation of this Appeal recognize the need to continue to support national leadership, national structures and systems, and national capacity to ensure a strong coordinated response. In this regard, we will continue to rely on Haitian expertise and knowledge, including through our close working relationship with the Haitian Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC) and with other relevant ministries on Disaster Risk Reduction. This is a lesson learned from 2010, which we intend to make central to the implementation of this response strategy.

This brings me to linking both humanitarian and the development actors in Haiti. You are familiar with the cyclical nature of climatic shocks in Haiti. We must learn from previous crises and link short-term and urgent response to long-term approaches. We must take that into all areas of our programming, including shelter and housing.

I want to reiterate that Haitians and Haiti are at the centre of all our work. Learning from the 2010 response, we will continue to adapt our response to the specific needs and local contexts in the affected areas. We count on your continued efforts, humanity, and leadership at this critical hour.

While humanitarian partners remain ready to respond, funding is needed to do so. Without funding, humanitarian partners will be unable to sustain essential programmes including food assistance, shelter, effective health care provision and livelihood support.

I thank all our donors and all our partners more broadly, for their continued generosity and partnership in Haiti. At this critical hour, we must continue to dig deep to enable partners mitigate the worst impacts of this devastating incident. With more resources and stronger collaboration among international and national partners, we can deliver in Haiti.

Let us therefore continue to work hand-in-hand to ensure necessary humanitarian, and development and political solutions take root in Haiti. In this regard, let me reiterate my three asks:

  1. In the immediate term, we need to take collective action to respond to the people who have been affected by the recent double climate disaster.
  2. To accomplish this, front loaded funding is made available to support humanitarian action in the country.
  3. And finally, in the long term, the root of the humanitarian challenges in Haiti must be addressed.

I truly believe that when we all do our part, we will indeed achieve.