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2/6/10 Breaking News: Following the US announcement on Friday 2/5/10, all G7 countries have agreed to support cancellation of Haiti’s multilateral debt.
For a country like Haiti -- the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere -- a natural disaster can reverse years of development gains. Before the earthquake hit, the country faced tremendous challenges. But it had also found great reason to hope. Recent years had brought a more stable government and tenuous gains in the fight against poverty. The country had also reached a significant milestone in the debt cancellation process: $1.2 billion owed to bilateral and multilateral institutions had been completely dropped, erasing most -- but not all -- of Haiti's debt.
With aid now pouring in, it's time to make sure that our support helps the Haitian people realize their dream for a stronger, more secure nation. While the Haitian and other governments work together on the initial rescue and relief efforts, we can help lay the foundation for a smooth recovery and rebuilding effort. First, the international community should cancel Haiti's $1 billion in remaining debt. This will help ensure that future dollars go towards rebuilding a stronger Haiti, not to servicing old debts.
The U.S. and G8 host Canada have already generated impressive momentum for Haiti's debt cancellation. On February 5th, Secretary Geithner voiced his support for international debt relief for Haiti, and committed to working with other donors to Haiti's relief efforts to finance recovery and reconstruction through grants, not loans. By providing grants, Haiti will be able to invest all their resources into education, health, the economy-rather than repaying new IOUs.
Thankfully, the United States has already forgiven Haiti's past debts and now only gives assistance in the form of grants. We need to maintain this momentum and push Haiti's other creditors -- the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and countries like Taiwan and Venezuela -- to follow this lead and do the same.
Former ONE intern Veronica Weis updates our readers on the housing crisis in Haiti. A tent city in Port au Prince. Photo credit: Logan Abassi/ UNDP Two years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the estimated half million displaced victims face a new challenge. With help from a $20 million ... More
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Last week, Kelly Hauser was in Jacmel, Haiti, helping out with her alma mater’s sister city program, From Gainesville with Love. After visiting a community arts program for Haitian children, she learns that restoration and recovery also comes in the form of creativity.“I love my little country. There ... More
On January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake crushed Port-au-Prince, Haiti, claiming the lives of more than 230,000 men, women and children, and leaving over million Haitians homeless. Today, the persistent lack of coordination between international donors, NGOs, government ministries and local people severely hinders Haiti’s prospects for “building ... More
This week, Kelly Hauser is in Jacmel, Haiti, helping out with her alma mater’s sister city program, From Gainesville with Love. She will discuss some of what she sees in a short blog series in honor of those who died and lost family members in the January 12 earthquake ... More
Michèle Bertol, a Haitian-Canadian member of the global anti-poverty group ONE, handed more than 200,000 signatures to international finance ministers meeting in the tiny arctic town of Iqaluit, Canada. The petition calls on global creditors to immediately cancel Haiti's $1 billion debt and give the earthquake-stricken country a clean slate by ensuring that new aid comes in the form of grants, not debt-incurring loans. MORE
ONE called today's announcement by U.S. Department of Treasury to support comprehensive multilateral relief of Haiti's debts "critical" in advancing Haiti's recovering in the wake of the devastating earthquake in January. MORE