Motion for a resolution - B7-0023/2011Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Haiti a year after the earthquake: humanitarian aid and reconstruction


to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Michèle Striffler, Filip Kaczmarek, Gay Mitchell on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0023/2011

Procedure : 2010/3018(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Haiti a year after the earthquake: humanitarian aid and reconstruction

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti, held in New York on 31 March 2010, and to the New York mission report of the delegation of Parliament’s Committee on Development,

–   having regard to the March 2010 ‘Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti: Immediate Key Initiatives for the Future’,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council meeting held in Brussels on 18 January 2010,

–   having regard to the statement on the Haiti earthquake made by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on 19 January 2010,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the preparatory ministerial conference held in Montreal on 25 January 2010,

–   having regard to the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid signed by the three EU institutions in December 2007,

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2010 on the recent earthquake in Haiti,

–   having regard to the report on the mission to Haiti of Parliament’s Committee on Development (25-27 June 2010),

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale which struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 killed 222 750 people, affected 3 million and displaced nearly 1.7 million, more than a million of whom are still living in what were supposed to be temporary makeshift camps,

B.  whereas, a year on from the earthquake, the situation in Haiti remains chaotic, the country is still in a state of emergency and reconstruction efforts are struggling to get off the ground,

C. whereas decades of poverty, environmental deterioration, vulnerability to various natural disasters, violence, political instability and dictatorship have left Haiti the most impoverished country in the Americas, and whereas the earthquake damage has further undermined the state’s ability to provide basic public services and thus to play an active role in the relief and reconstruction efforts,

D. whereas to date only a few hundred million of the USD 10 billion dollars pledged at the International Donors’ Conference for the reconstruction of Haiti, held in New York on 31 March 2010, have actually been paid,

E.  whereas the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) was set up at Haiti’s request to coordinate the resources and ensure that they are used effectively, and to implement the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti; whereas the European Commission, as the leading donor, is a voting member of the IHRC,

F.  whereas clearing the rubble is a major challenge for the reconstruction of the country (less than 5% of the wreckage has been cleared), whereas at the current rate of progress it will take six years to remove 20 million cubic metres of rubble, and whereas 180 lorries would have to work 24 hours a day for 18 months to clear it away entirely,

G. whereas the cholera epidemic that broke out on 19 October 2010 has claimed 3 333 lives to date and affected more than 148 000 people, whereas the spread of the epidemic has highlighted the obvious structural deficiencies of the Haitian state and the limitations of the international aid system and of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and whereas the cholera response effort is being hampered by – among other things – the current political crisis in the wake of the elections,

H. whereas the elections of 28 November 2010, the results of which were announced in early December, sparked violent demonstrations in Haiti and numerous complaints of fraud, and whereas the international community must support a transparent and fair election process in order to ensure the clean elections that are essential for the reconstruction of the country,

1.  Recalls the large-scale mobilisation of the international community following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and its genuine political will to support the reconstruction of the country on a different basis – without repeating the errors of the past – and to tackle the deep-rooted causes of poverty in Haiti once and for all;

2.  Laments the scale of the disaster in Haiti, the effects of which are still highly visible a year on from the earthquake; welcomes the extent of the humanitarian aid granted to Haiti by the Commission (EUR 120 million, including EUR 12 million to fight cholera), and the commitment shown by the Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response and by DG ECHO and its experts;

3.  Stresses that the establishment of ‘clusters’ has enabled the ground-level coordination of humanitarian efforts, but that this approach has revealed its limitations in the face of the huge number of humanitarian agencies and the complex nature of the emergency owing to the high urban population density;

4.  Commends the efforts and achievements of humanitarian organisations (the Red Cross, NGOs and the United Nations) and of the Member States, and stresses the need to communicate the non-visible effects of humanitarian work and the fact that the situation was brought under control thanks to, inter alia, the provision of care for the injured, drinking water, food and temporary shelter;

5.  Notes that the cholera epidemic has highlighted the near-total incapacity of the Haitian state in the face of an easily preventable and treatable disease, along with the limitations of the international aid system in a country benefiting from a massive humanitarian deployment (12 000 NGOs); stresses that humanitarian agencies cannot continue to compensate for the weaknesses of the Haitian state or to take its place, and that urgent action must finally be taken to ensure long-term development, in particular as regards access to health care, drinking water and sanitation;

6.  Welcomes the collective commitment made by the Commission and the Member States at the International Donors’ Conference for the reconstruction of Haiti to donate a total of EUR 1.2 billion, including EUR 460 million in non-humanitarian aid from the Commission; reiterates its call for the EU, as the leading donor, to exercise political leadership in the context of the reconstruction effort;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to incorporate local food production and food security into the reconstruction effort in Haiti, via the development of rural infrastructure and the provision of aid to small farmers, in the context of their joint approach to programming their resources for reconstruction in Haiti and of the mid-term review of the programming of the remaining Commission funds, i.e. the EUR 169 million still to be allocated from the EUR 460 million announced in New York;

8.  Deplores the late start to the work of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which should be playing a central role in coordinating reconstruction; is disappointed at the lack of information concerning its operation and effectiveness, and calls on the European Commission, as a member of the IHRC, to intervene with a view to speeding up the implementation of the latter’s mandate and to submit a report to Parliament on the IHRC’s activities, its use of resources and the proportion of the funds pledged at the New York conference that has actually been committed to reconstruction;

9.    Acknowledges that the effective operation of the IHRC, as the central body responsible for managing the reconstruction effort, is contingent on rebuilding the capacity of the Haitian state and renewing Haiti’s political leadership following transparent and fair elections, and on a genuine political will to take the decisions that will have to be made before embarking on this gigantic project;

10. Deplores the fact that the Haitians have only shovels, pickaxes and wheelbarrows for clearing (under the ‘cash for work’ scheme) the tonnes of rubble now filling up the capital, which seems totally inadequate in view of the gravity of the situation; stresses that removing the rubble is essential to the reconstruction of Haiti, and is disappointed that hardly any funds have been released for this purpose;

11. Deplores the serious housing crisis in Haiti; stresses that relocation of the homeless, most of whom are living in makeshift camps set up mainly in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is being hampered by a lack of available land, the absence of a land register and the fact that many plots of land are owned by expatriate Haitians, and calls on the Haitian authorities to make a political commitment to proactive measures, including compulsory purchase;

12. Is increasingly concerned about the situation of children in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake, which has had a huge impact on more than 800 000 children, exposing them to the risk of violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, exploitation and abandonment, and calls on the EU and in particular the Commission to take firm action with a view to restoring living conditions that afford children protection and safety, so as to support the process of establishing a social protection system in Haiti and encourage education reform;

13. Calls on the EU to work with the Haitian Government with a view to drawing up a legislative framework that protects children’s rights and ensuring that national law reflects the obligations arising from the numerous international instruments ratified by Haiti concerning children’s rights, human rights, the abolition of slavery and child protection;

14. Considers it extremely important for the Commission to support the process of identifying and registering separated children and tracing their relatives, and to take special precautions at the borders so as to prevent trafficking in children and illegal adoption;

15. Stresses the need for immediate action to rebuild the capacity of the Haitian state in terms of democracy and good governance, which are essential for national reconstruction, and to ensure the participation of Haitian civil society and the Haitian people;

16. Expresses grave concern about the current political crisis following the presidential and parliamentary elections, the results of which were widely contested and only cautiously endorsed by foreign observer delegations; notes that the votes are currently being recounted by experts dispatched by the Organisation of American States;

17. Calls on the EU to do its utmost to support fair and transparent elections and the proper conduct of the second round, scheduled for February, so as to prevent Haiti from lapsing into a worse crisis; believes that only a legitimately elected president and parliament can take the necessary decisions, and that reconstruction calls for stability and political determination;

18. Urges the international community and the EU to cooperate closely with the future Haitian authorities and to assist them – throughout the reconstruction process – in the organisation of their institutions, with a view to establishing a new equilibrium at all levels and a fully functioning democracy;

19. Calls on the Commission, in the spirit of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, to ensure that a significant effort is made – in conjunction with the government, local authorities and civil society – to incorporate disaster preparation and risk minimisation into the emergency and longer-term development phases;

20. Notes that Haiti has been the recipient of humanitarian aid for decades, and that the link between emergency aid, reconstruction and development has only become more important in this crisis; advocates, therefore, closer dialogue and coordination both between humanitarian organisations and development agencies on the ground and within the EU institutions and the Member States;

21. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the President and Government of Haiti, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Humanitarian Affairs Emergency Relief Coordinator, the World Bank and the IMF.