As Haiti's largest city, what happens in Port-au-Prince impacts the whole country - including hospitals which are unable to acquire fuel for their generators. Hospitals with solar power have been better able to cope. Konbit Sante helped the Hopital Convention Baptiste d’Haiti (HCBH) in Cap Haitien purchase solar panels which, in this sunny country, ensures at least some power is available. Below is an update from Konbit Sante on the situation in Cap Haitien. Updates from NGOs outside Port-au-Prince remind us that Haiti's struggles are nationwide.
Haiti no longer receives discounted oil from an increasingly chaotic Venezuela - and all the good (cheaper oil) and bad (blatant corruption) that came with it. Much of Port au Prince is now getting by with only thee hours of electricity a day negatively affecting the economy, political stability, health care, and transportation. Increasing renewable energy may help Haiti in the long run, but in the short term, a more predictable and rational approach to petroleum imports is required. The full article by Associated Press journalist Ralph Thomassaint Joseph follows.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. At present, 93% of Haitian households cook with wood fuels - a major, ongoing driver of deforestation. The Alliance has launched a five year plan to improve access to clean cooking alternatives in Haiti. If you have partners or staff interested in working with them, contact information follows.
The Public-Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF) is holding a consultation on ethanol cookstoves at the United Nations on April 4th. The purpose of the meeting is to bring together stakeholders that could expand production and use of ethanol in Haiti and to raise awareness about how clean energy could slow deforestation and created green jobs. Another good source of information is Project Gaia, which has been promoting ethanol stoves in Mozambique, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Brazil, and most recently Haiti. The full announcement follows.
CHIBAS is a bio-fuels and sustainable agriculture research center in Haiti with a particular interest in promoting the cultivation of Jatropha, a plant already used in Vodoun ceremonies and as a natural fence to protect crops. According to CHIBAS, Jatropha has the potential to advance food and energy security in Haiti while building rural economies. Below is a summary of the newest CHIBA piece on Jatropha's potential in Haiti. You can also find the complete paper (with graphics) on the CHIBAS website.
The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has announced that it will significantly expand investment in renewable energy throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB intends to spend one billion in Haiti to help develop a new energy infrastructure powered by wind, solar, and hydroelectricity. The current fuel shortage in Haiti underscored the importance of renewable, domestic energy for the country's long term development. Click here for a video clip of IDB President Moreno explaining the new initiative. A fact sheet is also attached. I'll include more information as I find it.
The 2010 Haiti Donors’ Conference concluded yesterday. The last such conference was held almost a year ago under very different circumstances. This was very much an international event with Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain actively engaged. Over 130 nations, NGOs, and other organizations participated. Fifty nine pledged 9 billion, of which 5 billion will be for 2010 and 2011 – provided that these pledges actually become contributions which is not always the case. As Phillipe Matieu of Oxfam puts it, “…pledges need to turn into concrete progress on the ground. This cannot be a VIP Pageant of half promises.” Below is a summary of what we know about the way ahead as of April 1st.
Trenton Daniel of the Miami Herald describes below the speech given by Bill Clinton at the second annual Haiti Diaspora Unity Congress. During the speech, he encouraged the Diaspora to stay engaged and announced a number of new initiatives. For example, he noted that the Soros Economic Development Fund has created a Haiti Invest project, through which an initial 25 million dollars will be spent on promoting investment in agricuture, energy, housing, and tourism. Clinton is an asset to Haiti, but as one participant emphasized, the Haitian Diaspora must now step up.