Latin America Prioritizes Aid to Rebuild Haiti

By Dialogo
April 03, 2012

High-ranking officials from 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean,
gathered at an FAO regional conference in Buenos Aires, to prioritize aid for
rebuilding the devastations in Haiti that were caused by a killer earthquake in
2010, the head of that United Nations organization said.

“The countries decided that Haiti is not only an emergency problem; it’s a
national reconstruction problem, one of rebuilding its productive capacity in order
to implement a medium-term and long-term program that can ensure peace in that
region,” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da
Silva, a Brazilian, said at a press conference.

The FAO director said that the Latin American countries will focus their
activities on coordinating existing programs, together with the Caribbean nation’s
Government, more than on dedicating financial resources.

“It’s not an issue of resources; of course, resources are necessary, but
Haiti could perhaps be an example of the difficulties of coordinating emergency
programs,” the official indicated at a press conference at the conclusion of the
32nd FAO Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti left around 250,000 dead and caused serious
damage to productive infrastructure, while 1.5 million people are still living in

“Each one goes there with his little flag and wants to do his own thing, and
the result is that the contributions don’t make a difference,” Graziano da Silva
vividly explained at the conclusion of the five-day meeting focused on food

The FAO carried out projects worth almost 40 million dollars in Haiti in
2010-2011, especially in reforestation plans and in order to optimize resources
coming from the European Union.

The official reiterated that Latin American and Caribbean Governments
reaffirmed at the Buenos Aires meeting their commitment to eradicate hunger before
2025, and he indicated that the region is the first to set that objective for

In this regard, he said that increasing food production and supply “is vital
in order to eradicate hunger.”

Graziano da Silva had noted during the conference “the need to increase food
production at the global level by 70 percent, in order to feed a population that
will reach 9 billion people in 2050.”

The meeting in the Argentine capital was attended by 18 ministers and 37
deputy ministers from 32 countries in the region, among a total of 299

In Buenos Aires, Argentina assumed the role of FAO regional conference chair
for the next two years.

The next regional meeting will be held in Chile in 2014.