Resilience Programmes Essential For Truly Sustainable Development in Haiti

Published on 22 June 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO –Today, Haitian President Michel  Martelly joined WFP and FAO to announce a partnership to sustainably expand Haiti’s national school meals programme, as well as programmes to prevent and treat chronic malnutrition and treat acute malnutrition, while assisting local farmers’ to improve their access to markets.

“Our message throughout the Rio+20 conference has been that there can be no truly sustainable development if people are food insecure. Before arriving in Rio, I visited Haiti and saw first-hand how successive emergencies and high food prices prevent the country from achieving its full potential. WFP is focused on moving beyond emergency response, to provide support for long-term improvement in people’s lives,” said the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin.
The expansion of resilience support -- including school meals and nutrition programmes -- is essential for truly sustainable development in countries like Haiti, where climate emergencies and volatile food prices leave many people unable to feed their families”, she added.
“Programmes  like these are what Haiti needs to achieve  long term sustainable development in order to meet our goal of eradicating hunger by the year 2025” said President Martelly. “We deeply appreciate the efforts of WFP to help us turn this goal into a reality,” he added.
“Hunger and extreme poverty also exclude the possibility of sustainable development because the hungry and extremely poor need to make use of the resources they have at hand in whatever way they can to make ends meet. For people who are chronically hungry and malnourished, meeting their immediate needs is their paramount concern – planning for the future is often a luxury they cannot afford, ” said José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO).
In Haiti, WFP currently runs nutrition programmes, cash-for-work to improve infrastructure like irrigation and flood protection, and provides hot meals in school each day to 1.1 million children.  It now plans to expand nutrition programmes for 500,000 mothers and young children, including those living with Tuberculosis and HIV.  WFP will also aim to help Haiti to establish a fully-functional national school meals programme that ensures all children benefit -- while ensuring more food is procured locally, from Haitian farmers.

As an example of the way forward, Cousin highlighted the “Let Agogo” (Milk in Abundance) pilot project, in which -- thanks to the support of the Brazilian government and the help of our partners including FAO -- WFP purchases sterilized milk from thirteen dairies in the country for distribution to over 20,000 children in about sixty schools supported by the National School Canteens Programme (PNCS). The project aims to establish stable connections between local food production and the school meals programme.

The Executive Director also called on the international community to provide long-term support to initiatives that build Haiti’s resilience while minimizing environmental impact.  WFP’s current operations in the country face a shortfall of US$54 million.

“What we need in places like Haiti, frequently hit by emergencies, is multi-year funding commitments that can help build durable systems that lead to sustainable outcomes in nutrition, education and strengthened rural incomes,” said Cousin. “We need more support to expand it and make it happen throughout Haiti and in all of the other countries of the developing world.”
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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Alejandro Chicheri, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Mob. +507 66715355
Elio Rujano, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Mob. +507 6677 0608
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1 202 4223383
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome HQ, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 20 72409001, Mob.  +44 7968 008474
Mathieu Szeradzki, WFP/Paris, Tel.+33 1 4568 4922, Mob. +33 621 658903