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Assistant Secretary General: “OAS to Provide Haiti Assistance in Governance and Capacity Building”

  February 1, 2010

During a meeting today of the Group of Friends of Haiti, the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Chair of the Group of Friends of Haiti, Albert Ramdin, presented a report on his recent visit to the earthquake-devastated country that included meetings with Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and other Haitian government authorities, and suggested future steps for recovery action. OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and Member State representatives also attended the meeting, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Assistant Secretary General Ramdin said there are five areas where the OAS has an opportunity to assist Haiti in its rebuilding process, including: support in the area of governance and support to state institutions; technical assistance to the electoral process, including continuing a civil registry program that should be expanded to other parts of the country; capacity building in trade, tourism, and investment; and the promotion of education opportunities through scholarships and agreements with various universities of the hemisphere.

Ambassador Ramdin identified food security and short-term job creation as critical issues for the country. He also mentioned the importance of unified coordination on the ground, and the need to focus on sustainability and structural planning, as well as defending the human rights of the youth and the elderly.

“In terms of the next steps we will continue to bring support to the Government of Haiti, we will be reestablishing and strengthening our office in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as this office is going to provide support to our operation in Port-au-Prince, and we will continue with the inter-American collaboration and coordination on the ground and working jointly with the United Nations,” Ramdin said.

OAS Secretary General Insulza reported that the OAS Secretariat for Integral Development is working on a series of programs related to education and sustainable development so they may be integrated with countries’ efforts to help Haiti during its reconstruction process. “We will be basically adding to the work we were doing before the earthquake, and will continue to have a strong coordination with Haiti National Police,” Insulza said.

OAS Member State representatives underscored the positive leadership role the OAS has played during the crisis and the need for a guiding map that outlines the OAS role in the country’s future and political stability, mainly in the areas of human rights, democracy building and national elections.

“The need is evidently enormous, the task is complex, still in our visit we felt that the government and the people of Haiti are very appreciative of the support they have received from all the countries,” said Ramdin, who also took the opportunity to highlight the support and commitment of the people and government of the Dominican Republic after the catastrophe.

Reference: E-030/10