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Summary of the main measures proposed by France in aid of Haiti's reconstruction

Summary of the main measures proposed by France in aid of Haiti’s reconstruction

Published on March 5, 2010
Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, February 27, 2010

These measures proposed by France, which are being submitted to the Haitian authorities, constitute the framework of what France is offering for Haiti’s reconstruction. They are consistent with the strategic priorities of the reconstruction which the Haitian authorities identified in collaboration with the international community. They may, of course, be adjusted in line with Haiti’s response and the efforts to be made by Haiti’s international partners.

Financial effort

Before the earthquake, the amount of French aid scheduled for Haiti for 2010 and 2011 stood at some €20 million per year.

Since the earthquake, France has already devoted €24 million to addressing the humanitarian emergency.

Our country has decided to cancel Haiti’s €56 million debt to France.
France will make an extra €100 million available over two years for the reconstruction (€50 million in 2010 and €50 million in 2011).

The European Union has already mobilized €30 million in response to the humanitarian emergency and the Commission has budgeted €300 million for the reconstruction (€100 million for the transition phase and €200 million for the reconstruction). So the French share (nearly a fifth) of the European aid (emergency and reconstruction) can be estimated at nearly €65 million.

All in all, France’s budgetary effort for Haiti would total nearly €230 million (more than €270 million if equipment transfers were included) in 2010 and 2011, in addition to cancellation of the €56 million debt.
Helping the Haitian State get back on its feet and carry out its responsibilities


Haiti’s government departments, already very weak, were very severely hit by the earthquake: most public and central government buildings were destroyed, 40% of civil servants are reported missing from their jobs, either directly killed by the earthquake or indirectly affected by it.

Over 5,000 prisoners, including several hundred dangerous criminals, escaped from prisons. It is essential rapidly to re-establish Haiti’s administrative, financial, legal and security capacities so that the Haitian State can formulate and implement a “national plan” for reconstruction and once again fulfil its primordial duties [justice, rule of law, defence, police, etc.].

France is proposing

To help the Haitian State once again fulfil its primordial duties

• From 20 February, deployment of a 75-strong gendarme mobile squadron in addition to the 114 gendarmes already on the ground.
For Haiti’s national police and gendarmerie:

- provision of 102 light vehicles for the police and 40 off-road vehicles for the gendarmerie (capable of carrying 10 officers or equipment);

- training of 70 Haitian senior and rank-and-file police officers and law enforcement officials in maintaining law and order and protecting the main assembly points; technical support to help find the 300 most dangerous escaped prisoners (setting up the “wanted persons” database and training of specialist personnel).

• For Haiti’s sécurité civile [emergency services]

- provision of 118 vehicles (including 45 ambulances and 32 fire engines);

- training of sécurité civile services: formation of a 60-strong national first-aid training team, able to train 4,200 firefighters in less than a year, and train 30 doctors in emergency medicine (10 days’ on-the-job training).

• For Haiti’s legal system, admission of 20 legal trainees and 8 EMA [Ecole de la Magistrature – legal service training college] staff to France’s ENM [Ecole nationale de la Magistrature].
To help the Haitian State and strengthen its administrative capacity

• Grant of annual budgetary aid of €20 million for two years (€40 million)

• Provision of 10 experts to assist the Haitian Prime Minister and strategic ministries in the reconstruction process for two years and of experts on short assignments to assess what is required to strengthen Haiti’s administrative capability.

• Admission of around 100 Haitian civil servants to the network of French civil service colleges (ENA [competitive-entrance college which trains top civil servants], IRA [Institute of agricultural research], ENI [competitive-entrance college training tax officials], END [competitive entrance college training customs officials]) and universities, in autumn 2010 and also in 2011.

• Provision of trainers to train Haitian State officials in Haiti.

• Placing at the Haitian authorities’ disposal of a one-hectare plot of land in the centre of the city to rehouse some of the administrative services.

• Drafting of a preparatory study for rebuilding a presidential palace.
To encourage reconstruction and controlled development throughout Haiti


Only if the reconstruction is part of a genuine decentralization and town and country planning policy will it lead to the country’s development. Indeed, until today Haiti has suffered from an over-congested capital, which has nearly a third of the country’s total population, and an abandonment of secondary cities: another reason why the human and material toll is so heavy is that 2 million Haitians and the bulk of the country’s economic activities were concentrated in that over-developed town designed for 300,000 inhabitants. The reconstruction must benefit the whole of Haiti and not just the “Republic of Port-au-Prince”.
Port-au-Prince must be rebuilt in such a way as to control the city’s urban growth and land cover; in the secondary cities, the objective will be to put the necessary basic services in place to stabilize the populations who fled the capital (estimated at 1 million people).

But so as not to repeat the errors of the past, town and country planning must be based on solid scientific and technical foundations. France will make available to the Haitians the substantial stock of data possessed by her scientific bodies on Haiti in the hydro-geological, meteorological, geographic and seismic risk fields. She will help the country develop its own expertise in these areas.

This knowledge is indeed essential in order to draw up new sectoral policies in the spheres of town planning, infrastructures, agricultural development and protection of natural areas. The keystone of the initiative is the establishment of the Haitian land register.
What France is proposing

• Scientific and technical cooperation in the sphere of seismology (BRGM [Geological and Mining Research Office], CSTB [Building Sector Scientific and Technical Centre], IFREMER [French Research Establishment for Marine Resources], etc.), with the aim of producing a post-seismic building damage assessment by volunteers from the AFPS [French Association for Earthquake Engineering] and increasing knowledge of seismic risk (seismic microzoning in Haiti and help with building standards).

• Rebuilding of the CNIGS [National Geo-satellite Information Centre) in two years.

• Establishment of a land register: compiling a land ownership register covering a fifth of Haitian territory in 3 years with the assistance of French technical expertise and human and material support for the national Haiti land registry office (ONACA).

• Sending of 150 young people doing their adapted military service (1) (French West Indies-French Guiana) to work on a dozen hands-on training projects (refurbishment of schools, crèches, social facilities, etc.) and two or three larger projects (sanitation, clearing rubble from public buildings, restoring infrastructures and various networks, etc.). Young Haitians would be involved in these training programmes.

• Support for the devolution and decentralization process: preparation of the decentralization Act, strengthening the capacity of devolved administrative and local government machinery, financial support through the French Communes Development Fund and help with structuring local civil society (local communities who will subsequently be invited to meet in the run-up to the Donors’ Conference).

• Offer of €1 million over two years to support small local development pilot projects.

• Support of French local authorities.

• Support for flood protection for the town of Jacmel and waste management for the towns of Gonaïves and Cap-Haïtien. Town planning projects, including providing access to drinking water, social engineering and institutional support (e.g. building of 1,000 earthquake- and cyclone-proof housing units in Port-au-Prince and Gonaïves), can also be planned. They will bring together local companies and NGOs (Emergency Architects Foundation) and use labour-based methods.

Reconstruction to help the people

Supply emergency temporary shelters for the stricken people

• Provision of assistance before the rainy season in the form of shelter or temporary shelter for over 200,000 people, i.e. 1,000 tents and 16,000 tarpaulins.

Provide the Haitian people with access to medical treatment


A great part of the health system and infrastructure was destroyed by the earthquake depriving the stricken people of any access to care and treatment. Following the provision of emergency facilities in the weeks following the earthquake, the aim is to contribute to rebuilding the public health infrastructure and providing high-quality healthcare for all Haitians, in particular giving priority to ensuring access to treatment for the most vulnerable people. This sector is also a key area for Franco-Brazilian cooperation.

What France is proposing

• Rebuilding of Port-au-Prince’s State University Hospital, as part of a programme to build a network of 4 hospitals in the capital and 3 others in the provinces. In the very short term, France is ready to fund the immediate work necessary to make the present buildings safe so that the hospital can rapidly start functioning again.

• Extension of the GHESKIO Centre (currently used for screening and treating infectious diseases, including HIV-AIDS) by creating a specialist surgery department (60-bed prosthesis and rehabilitation unit).

• Support for maternal and infant health in the health centres of three departments (South-East, Nippes and Centre), with a facility for training anaesthetic nurses and creation of a breast-milk bank with Brazilian cooperation.

• Support for medical studies and professional training for medical personnel, paramedics and intermediate technical staff (particularly in the French West Indies-French Guiana region) and creation of distance higher-education courses.

• Conduct of a feasibility study with a view to establishing in the medium term a minimum health cover system for the most underprivileged people.

Tripartite cooperation with Brazil, who has experience of a social assistance programme, is envisaged in this framework.

Get the education system back on the road at every level


Nearly a million children and adolescents are estimated to be living more or less abandoned in the streets, exposed to all sorts of risks, and getting them back into education is a major objective in the reconstruction effort. The first step is to bring in emergency measures to get primary and secondary school pupils back in school and, in the higher education sphere, get Haitian students and teachers admitted into the network of the French universities of the French West Indies and French Guiana. In addition, the Haitian education system is in urgent need of continuing training programmes for teachers, the restructuring of higher education and development of vocational training, particularly in the building sector, with its large workforce.
What France is proposing

• Sending to Haiti 150 young people doing their civil national service, including 100 to help get back into school the children and adolescents in the Port-au-Prince camps and regions affected by the population displacements, and 50 to assist in setting up vocational training schemes in the building sector.

• Immediately sending GREF (2) (retired teachers) to launch cooperation with a view to setting up a continuing training system for primary school teachers in Haiti.

• The admission of 700 more Haitian students and academics into the network of French universities in the French West Indies and French Guiana (who must commit to return to Haiti at the end of their courses)

– 200 immediately (arrival mid-term but validation of the module guaranteed on its completion), and 500 in autumn 2010.

• Assistance in setting up higher distance learning in 8 universities, which are members of the Association of the Universities of La Francophonie [international Francophone organization].

• Conduct of a study with a view to rebuilding the Haitian higher education system. The tripartite cooperation with Brazil could contribute to this objective, particularly in the priority sectors of building engineering, architecture and town planning.

• Opening a hands-on training site for the rapid training of building workers.

• Accelerating the training of Haitian trainers through programmes leading to diplomas achievable in 3 to 9 weeks.

Encourage revitalization of the economic activity and endogenous development of Haiti


In 2009, Haiti’s GDP had risen by around 3%, i.e. one of the highest increases in the Americas: it is imperative to prevent the earthquake resulting, on top of the destruction, in a long-term contraction of economic activity whose revitalization must be encouraged.

A special effort must be made in agriculture: it is still the most important economic sector (29% of added value) in Haiti, but national production is capable of covering only half her needs. Agricultural imports account for 25% of her total imports and absorb 90% of her export revenue. So the agricultural sector must be a strategic axis for Haiti’s reconstruction, not only to ensure her people’s food security, but also to achieve a more balanced economic development of the country, breathing life into rural areas, and at the same time, creating new labour-intensive agricultural sectors.

What France is proposing

• Cancellation of Haiti’s debt to France, which stands at €56 million.

• A grant of €20 million budgetary aid per year in 2010 and 2011 (see above)

• Help to boost short-term bank credit by strengthening venture capital mechanisms.

• The supply of seeds and fertilizer for the next spring planting seasons (starting in March) at a cost of €1 million.

• To speed up implementation of the programme of “Solidarités agricoles France-Haïti” [France-Haiti farming solidarity group] for irrigation, supporting farmers and establishing a web of micro-agricultural businesses. This project will involve nearly 170 micro-businesses and should generate work for 11,000 people.

• Increase cooperation projects with Haiti in French agricultural research and education.

Restoring and preserving Haitian cultural heritage


Given her ties with Haiti, France has a special role to play in the cultural sphere. This can takes two forms: assistance in the creation and restoration of cultural sector buildings and artefacts and support for the audio-visual media. As regards support for television, the Haitian authorities have in particular stressed the need to broadcast documentaries explaining the cause of the earthquake, which a large part of the population continues to ascribe to supernatural forces. This initiative is consistent with a twin concern to boost citizens’ participation in the arts and the pedagogical effort.

What France is proposing

Restoration of the “Oath of the Ancestors” painting. Painted in 1822 by Guillaume Guillon-Lethière (a mulatto born in Guadeloupe to a settler father and slave mother), this portrays the historic meeting between the leader of the Santo Domingo mulattos, Alexandre Pétion, and the black General Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Toussaint Louverture’s lieutenant. In November 1802, the two officers sealed an alliance to chase out the French troops shortly after Bonaparte’s decision to restore slavery. The picture was damaged in the collapse of the National Palace, salvaged from the rubble by a French team and has since been stored on the site of the French embassy.

Provision of support for books through the donation by France’s National Library (BnF – Bibliothèque nationale de France) of 50,000 books to the network of Haitian libraries, and help with the digitization of the exceptional collection of books of the Pères du Saint Esprit library in Port-au-Prince.

• Support for the restoration of Haitian archives, basically through digitization.

• Support for the rebuilding of Haiti’s heritage, through the Emergency Architects Foundation.

• Award of heritage scholarships so that Haitian heads of institutions and professionals in the sector can spend a month in France, and Haitian artists can have one-month residencies in France.

• Support for Haitian television by offering copyright-free content for news and documentary programmes and fiction films./.

(1) Young people doing adapted military service receive vocational training at various levels, depending on their initial skills, aptitude, preferences and even the needs of the local economy, and participate in work of general interest for which the programme must be included in development plans.

(2) GREF (Groupement des Retraités Educateurs sans Frontières), an organization of retired French school teachers who offer their extensive experience to provide training to other teachers in French-speaking countries.

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