Media Center

Press Release


  August 1, 2008

Food security and rural development in Haiti took center stage as the Organization of American States (OAS) Group of Friends of Haiti, representing member countries and observers to the hemispheric body, met at OAS headquarters this week to review ongoing projects and new initiatives with that country, and to facilitate information sharing among the partners.

OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin, Chair of the organization’s Haiti Task Force, called the meeting that also included delegates of other multilateral institutions. Highlights of the Assistant Secretary General’s presentation included information on the establishment of an OAS Haiti Fund to facilitate the organization’s mandates and priorities in Haiti as well as to be able to respond to specific requests from the Haitian government. Ramdin took the opportunity to reiterate “the willingness of the OAS to work closely within the Inter-American system and other partners to support Haiti’s current needs in terms of the revitalization of the agricultural sector and in opening up the country to infrastructural development support.”

The Group of Friends received an update on the political situation in Haiti from that country’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Duly Brutus; an oral report on the recent Madrid Donor Conference from PADF Director General John Sanbrailo; and information from IICA, PADF, Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on their respective cooperation programs with Haiti. Joseph Simon Milien, Director General in Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development outlined his country’s plan to tackle the issue of food security. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Director of Trade and Tourism, presented information on efforts of the OAS to launch the Executive Program Initiative with the National Institute for Administration, Management and Higher International Studies (INAGHEI) in Haiti aimed at capacity-building and governance strengthening.

Ramdin also signaled that “while the OAS fully understands that the nomination and confirmation of a new Prime Minister reside with the Haitian Legislature and the Executive Branch, the absence of a government could impact negatively on the execution of projects in Haiti and on donor assistance.” Assistant Secretary General Ramdin also reminded the Group that “the OAS and its entire membership should be encouraged by the ongoing efforts by all in Haiti to support governance.”

Reference: E-298/08