Haiti

UN supports Haiti in trying to create a 'culture of dialogue' among opponents

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With general elections scheduled for October, the interim Government of Haiti and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today wrapped up a two-day workshop bringing together all political factions and civil society to discuss the environment, the budget and anti-poverty strategies, with a view to making a peaceful transition, the UN mission said.

"In a country where it is acknowledged that a culture of dialogue has often been lacking, it is not a simple matter to bring together so many protagonists of different tendencies and divergent interests to listen to the views of the Government and development partners on the nation's present and future," UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Haiti Adama Guindo said, congratulating the Government.

The workshop also looked at the possibility of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, targets for tackling such socioeconomic problems as extreme poverty and hunger and inadequate education in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, UNDP said.

According to official statistics, 56 per cent of the 8.5 million Haitians live on less than a dollar a day. "The incidence of poverty in Haiti is thus three times higher than the average in any other country in Latin America and the Caribbean," UNDP said.

In these circumstances, Haiti will be unable to achieve the MDGs, UNDP said, and one of the messages emphasized at the workshop was the critical need for a national poverty-reduction strategy.