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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

International Donors' Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

FPC Briefing
Cheryl Mills
Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton
Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary, Western Hemisphere Affairs; Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary, International Organization Affairs; and Philip J. (P.J.) Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Foreign Press Center
New York, NY
March 30, 2010

Date: 03/30/2010 Location: New York City, NY Description: Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton (pictured); Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary, Western Hemisphere Affairs; Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary, International Organization Affairs; and Philip J. (P.J.) Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs brief on the International Donors' Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti at the New York FPC. - State Dept Image

2:15 P.M. EST


MR. CROWLEY: I went to New York. Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere and suffered a devastating earthquake back in January. We’ve spent two months working intensively with the international community, the United Nations, to stabilize Haiti but now it’s time to provide the resources to help Haiti rebuild.

And we’ve three individuals here who will explain a little bit about the current situation in Haiti and what we hope to accomplish, not only beginning tomorrow but in the months and years ahead. But, to put the Haiti Donors Conference at the UN tomorrow in appropriate context, we have Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela who focuses on Western Hemisphere affairs, including Haiti.

He will be followed by Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer, who oversees the State Department and the United States relationship and participation in international organizations. The United Nations, of course, has an extensive, decades-long relationship with Haiti and this will demonstrate the international partnership that will have to be sustained going forward to help Haiti rebuild.

And following that will be Counselor Cheryl Mills who, on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, has probably spent more time interacting with the political leadership in Haiti including President Preval, who will play a prominent role in tomorrow’s activity. Cheryl was working with Haiti on a long-term plan when the earthquake happened. And obviously, over the past two months we’ve been helping Haiti, you know, re-shape and update that plan and tomorrow we’ll give out the first installment in the extensive resources that will be necessary to help Haiti rebuild.

And after we finish on Haiti subjects, I’ll come back up and answer any questions you might have about the rest of the world. So, we’ll start with Arturo Valenzuela.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY VALENZUELA: Thanks very much, P.J., I appreciate this opportunity to speak with you. And thank you for being here and for your interest in the Haitian Donors Conference.

From my perspective there, of course, been about a hundred countries across the world that have responded to this dramatic crisis in Haiti. We’ve been particularly pleased at the response of the Americas, the countries in the Americas from Canada to Chile, through organizations like the CARICOM and the Organization of American States, have responded to this crisis. [unintelligible], as well, and the Union of South American Countries. The response has been vigorous and very, very helpful.

The Americas, as you know, have played an important role within the context of the UN mission to Haiti, through MINUSTAH, which is headed up by Brazil, but where there were contributions from 15 countries from the Western Hemisphere. And I’d like to pay a particular recognition to the Dominican Republican, which, right after the crisis in Haiti, the earthquake, immediately stood up and offered its good services for coordination. Several meeting have taken place within the Dominican Republic on coordination, on Haiti recovery, and now, as we move forwards, towards Haiti reconstruction efforts.

There have been different contributions by different countries. As you know, the United States played a very significant role in the humanitarian relief effort immediately after the earthquake. Today, we’re in conversations with a series of countries. Cuba, for example, has expressed interest in working in the health field. Ecuador and UNASUR have been focusing on agricultural efforts. Venezuela and Brazil, on energy kinds of issues. And at the same time, the Inter-America Development Bank, the bank that invests in the hemisphere, has pledged debt relief as well as significant assistance in reconstruction efforts.

And let me finish just simply by saying in this tour, the State Department has also been working very heavily with the Haitian diaspora here in the United States to see how they could also contribute to recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. We’ve had three conferences. There was a meeting yesterday, as well, at the State Department, and we see a way forward for the Haitian community, not only in the United States, but in other places in the world, to contribute to this effort.

Thanks very much.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BRIMMER: Thank you very much to the Foreign Press Center for organizing this gathering and opportunity to talk about both the international support for Haiti, particularly the role of cooperation with the United Nations and that’s where I will focus. I’d particularly like to express appreciation to the United Nations for co-hosting the conference tomorrow entitled, International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti.

I’d also like to acknowledge the close cooperation of the five co-chairs of Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain. And again, the United States is delighted to be hosting this conference tomorrow to bring together, as we hope, strong international support.

Clearly, in the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake, we’ve seen again how important the United Nations is to addressing serious crises in this hemisphere, as well as those around the world, whether they are natural or man-made.

The critical response of the United Nations, and in particularly by the MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission, which Arturo’s already mentioned, has truly been inspiring. Not least because MINUSTAH itself lost over 100 people in the earthquake and has had to since also deal with the crisis and its own issues.

I think we should particularly acknowledge the role of the Special Representative Mulet, who deserves particularly our respect for the leadership that he’s shown and the thanks for leading the UN operations in Haiti in this particular time.

But as you know, the United Nations response is not only been the MINUSTAH peacekeeping operation but numerous agencies, including, of course, the Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance, better known as OCHA, and a number of agencies which many of you will know well, whether it’s the World Food Program, UNICEF, World Health Organization, or the Pan-American Health Organization. A variety of UN organizations have been part of the international response in Haiti.

And I think it’s important to note that it was the coordinated response which was particularly important because many of the agencies had been working in Haiti for a very long time and that over the years, honed their strategies as part of crisis response.

And assuredly, I’d say, because we, the United States and other countries, have invested in the United Nations system, it was prepared and ready to help the people of Haiti in their most extreme time of need.

And the United States will continue to invest in the United Nations. We know that the UN’s assistance to the government and people of Haiti is crucial and we know that this is a long-term commitment, both by the United States and by the United Nations system.

I note also that just last week the State Department and the United Nations co-sponsored the Rebuilding for Resilience Workshop in Miami, bringing together reconstruction experts and representatives of the Haitian government to produce real recommendations on next steps for our recovery in Haiti.

Again, I would like to reiterate it’s the commitment of the United States along with the United Nations in support of the Haitian people and the Haitian government for their long-term effort to build back better in Haiti.

Thank you.

MS. MILLS: Good afternoon. It’s very nice to be back in The New Mecca, as I like to think of New York, now in D.C. I appreciate you all taking your time to be here today and appreciate the interest that your organizations have generated both in terms of what’s actually going on on the ground in Haiti now, but also in the beginning. So, I just want to give you all my thanks because I know how hard it is to constantly be producing news and putting things out there and we are very grateful for the work that you all have done to do that.

I just want to start out by reminding us where we were on January 12th. On January 12th, in all of 35 seconds, we lost what is now projected to be more than 300,000 people. At that moment, we also lost, at least in Haiti, 50 percent of their GDP in 35 seconds; 28 of the 29 ministries of government collapsed. So, that’s almost like at least here in the United States, every one of our 14 cabinet agencies collapsing except for one.

It was by far the worst natural disaster in the Western Hemisphere in decades, if not in generations. I think the earthquake that happened in Chile put everything in perspective because while the earthquake was 500 times more powerful, there was 300 times greater loss of life in Haiti than in Chile.

I think it was also a unique moment because in that tragedy, all nations of the world really came together to be supportive of Haiti. More than 140 nations came to provide rescue and relief in Haiti and that was certainly transformative in it being one of the most successful relief operations and rescue operations that was done to date.

And so, we are enormously grateful, not only for the leadership that the UN provided, but the leadership of so many other countries who are on the ground and providing support through that coordinated mechanism.

Today, we are, or tomorrow we are actually hosting a donors conference on behalf of Haiti and more particularly on the future of Haiti. And so, we’re beginning to look to where Haiti tomorrow will be. We are projecting about 120 nations and delegations will actually be present and we are very hopeful for the foundation for the level of resources and the kinds of commitments that are necessary, both for Haiti and by Haiti to actually see the future that they’ve envisioned.

Tomorrow, the Government of Haiti will present their vision of the future for Haiti and in doing so, will lay out how they, at least, see a Haiti tomorrow that is a strong and better Haiti than the Haiti of yesterday. In particular, they’re not looking to rebuild the past, they’ve expressed their desire, indeed, to rebuild a better future.

In doing that, one of the things that we have all committed to is a set of principles that came out of the Montreal Conference that was a few short weeks after the earthquake happened, that there would be ownership by the government of Haiti of their rebuilding and of their recovery. That it would be an inclusive process of all stakeholders from civil society to the private sector to NGOs to the international community and most particularly, to the Haitian people and everyone in between.

That there would be accountability and transparency by the government of Haiti to its people and to the donors but there would also be accountability and transparency by the donors and the commitments they’re making and how those commitments actually are transforming the lives of Haitians.

That there would be coordination. One of the biggest challenges that we all have as partners to other countries is how we can coordinate effectively to actually see the change that we’re trying to bring about.

That there would be effectiveness, and that effectiveness would be measured, not by inputs, not by how much money people put in, but by how many lives were actually changed.

And that there would be sustainability. That we would be committed to Haiti for the long-term, for ten years out, at the very least and that the goal would be to ensure that through sustainable approaches, we also would be working to work ourselves out of business, working for that day when 30 years from now, Haiti would be sitting beside every one of those countries in the room tomorrow, as a partner, when another natural disaster hits and they, too, would be pledging.

That’s the commitment and the goal that we are seeking to accomplish. But even though the conference tomorrow is looking at the future, one of the things that we are going to be consistently focused on is today. There are still numerous needs, not only with shelter and sanitation, and other needs that are on-going, but there are a lot of current, urgent needs that this conference can’t forget and that we are committed to ensuring that we have the continued cooperation and support to ensure that the Haiti today has the foundations for the Haiti tomorrow.

Because if we do not take care of the urgent needs that are present today, we will never get to have the vision of tomorrow and we will never get to have opportunities to support Haiti in making its dreams come true. And that’s what I think we are all committed to trying to accomplish.

So, we’re here today to really try and take your questions and answer as many as we can and hopefully, help you at least have the best opportunity to be able to articulate the opportunity that’s present tomorrow, as well as the future for Haiti that hopefully will be consistent with a future that’s certainly worthy of the people that inhabit its country.

Thank you.

MODERATOR: Let’s start off, please identify yourself and your outlets.

QUESTION: Two questions, please. One, in the Haiti plan, the government has asked for hundreds of millions of dollars in budget support and the United States has been initially reluctant to loan them that, give that kind of money. So, is it willing to, in this case? And two, I know you have been unable to settle some outstanding differences with the government in terms of the independence of the Commission, the, the, oh, I always get the name wrong. The Haiti –

PARTICIPANT: Haiti Interim Nation Recovery Commission.

QUESTION: Yes. That you would like it to be a little more independent perhaps than they are envisioning. And I’m wondering how you’re going to bridge those differences? And the fact that those haven’t been settled, is that going to discourage donors at all, because there’s an outstanding concern about, you know, as you said, transparency in the donations.

MS. MILLS: Let me answer your second one first because it’s an easy one. I don’t think there are differences. They released a press release yesterday, articulating where they are seeking to go and they actually said, to build a parliament. So, I think they’re actually, I think they’ve actually been able to step through all the sets of things that, at least, that they anticipate on doing and that they’ve outlined in the Dominican Republic as their goals for the development authority. So, I think in that front, I’m not sure if that just hasn’t caught up with you yet, or if there’s a better question that I can answer, but, I don’t think there’s an outstanding issue in that particular regard.

QUESTION: The way I understood it, you were looking for – they wanted it to be inside the ministries and the U.S. thought that that was going to, sort of, slow the process down and so, and wanted an independent commission. There were some other issues in terms of giving it the right for imminent domain, for example, that they were nervous about.

MS. MILLS: So, I don’t want to be, I want to be thoughtful about, obviously, all of my conversations with the government of Haiti, but that’s actually not consistent, at least with my frame of understanding of both where they are and what they’re expectations are. I think that development authority as it is envisioned, with the interim commission being the first phase of that, actually would be, if you will, be the one-stop shop for people to be able to come to, whether they’re donors, the private sector, whether or not they are a multi-lateral institution, to be able to present programs, policies, programs that they are looking to actually implement in Haiti.

The purpose of the development authority is to be able to look at their, it’s for the government of Haiti, to be able to provide the leadership role in being able to look at their plans and make an assessment about those plans and determine whether or not if what is being presented is consistent with those plans so that there’s actually coordination, that things are getting developed and built, are consistent with their vision, and they can actually sequence and have that accomplished all on a timeline that’s consistent with their goals.

In terms of actually, how that actually gets accomplished, one of the things that the government of Haiti is certainly committed to, and so are all of the donors, is ensuring that there’s actually capacity that’s being built in Haiti. So, for the long run, there’s the opportunity for Haiti to be able to drive and own its own future, as opposed to a lot of the aid which currently right now comes through NGOs or other mechanisms.

I think their anticipated goal is that in the beginning recognizing that from 28 of the 29 ministries are not standing at this time, but they are going to need to, basically, rely on the strength that can be brought to bear through the development authority. And as that development authority evolves, just like in OCHA, there will be greater and greater opportunities for other portions of their government to do the implementation, but not [unintelligible] what happened in OCHA in the beginning. I think it’s a little bit unrealistic given the state of affairs to be able to anticipate that they would have the opportunity to be able to implement things. But that is certainly one of the goals and visions for where it should be evolving to, because this model is modeled on OCHA and so we would be expecting the same things.

In terms of the first question that you asked about budget support, I think it is certainly the case that budget support is something that the government of Haiti desperately needs. I mean, if you think about it in terms of, certainly from our country, it’s as if Washington got obliterated, the people who actually collect the resources are no longer – don’t smile, that looks like a happy smile – but the people who actually collect the resources are not there. That a lot of the resources which Haiti collects actually are generated from Port au Prince, so their capacity to actually have money to pay police, pay doctors and nurses and teachers and others, clearly has been, incredibly compromised by this kind of a tragedy.

So they’re in definite need of budget support and I think a number of nations have articulated their desire to be able to do that. I think the United States has always had limitations or reservations about how it goes about providing budget support and that’s something that we’re examining because we, as you probably know from the narrative that we have sent up, if you haven’t had occasion to, on our commitments with respect to Haiti, do want to explore ways in which we can properly do some budget support consistent with the concerns and the kinds of transparency and accountability that our government is going to require and particularly, that our Congress is going to require. And we’re going to want to try to make sure that we do that in an effective fashion.

Whether or not we will get there or not is obviously something that will be anybody’s ballgame, but we certainly want to make sure that we’ve put the question to the table.

QUESTION: Hi, my name is Marilia Martins from Brazil. Brazil was the leader of the MINUSTAH, so my question is regarding MINUSTAH. I want to know first, what changed in MINUSTAH regarding this loss of 100 people and the other thing is, Brazil was doing a very good job with the police in Port au Prince and what changed that, do you think it?

MS. MILLS: Why don’t we both address that? Why don’t you go first?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BRIMMER: Thank you, I’ll just take a moment to talk about MINUSTAH. Indeed, Brazil, a Brazilian general does head MINUSTAH and has been providing real leadership for the forces on the ground and indeed, one of the important aspects of the international response has been the strong support for MINUSTAH. And indeed, the security council actually increased the level of troops and police to provide additional support to the Haitian—National Police. And that continues in many countries. Over 40 countries contribute either police or are troop contributors. Including the United States, which does have police observers there. And so, that continues. Brazil remains the leadership for the MINUSTAH peacekeeping operation and all the other countries are in support of MINUSTAH and its activities, providing security in Haiti in support of the Haitian National Police and the humanitarian relief.

MS. MILLS: And I’d just like to echo my colleague. I don’t think there’s any expectation for change in that role, at least it certainly is the case that the role that MINUSTAH – you look like you have a question?

QUESTION: What’s the situation regarding security? It’s getting better?

MS. MILLS: Oh, now I understand. So your question is a security question. So let me do two things. I do think it is critically important to first commend Brazil on the leadership that they’ve actually provided with respect to MINUSTAH. One of the ironies of the situation was that General Peixoto was not there, actually, when the earthquake took place and was able to travel back.

That was an enormously fortuitous event because it ultimately meant that the kind of leadership that was on the ground from MINUSTAH and the kind of support that our military could provide to them in terms of the humanitarian support was actually able to do that in an effective fashion. So, I just want to make sure that we’re recognizing, as my colleague did, the enormous role that they play.

I think security is a continuing concern. It always is a concern a Haiti and I think that MINUSTAH is going to have a continuing role to play because I think now that Haiti’s reconfigured, I don’t know if you’ve visited, but there are a number of camps that didn’t used to exist before and there are a number of ways in which people are living differently than they did before. I think all of that is going to mean that there’s going to be a required need for ensuring that we are providing the kind of atmosphere and support that’s necessary, given that people live differently.

There are camps, there have been some reports, isolated reports as we understand it, from folks that we have been connecting with on the ground, increasing incidents of violence and some incidents of junior violence. That has led to a lot of the countries that are participating and supporting MINUSTAH to actually look at, what are the ways in which they can go about ensuring that there is increased security in the camps and around.

The UN has actually done a very thorough assessment, and as a result of that assessment, they are partnering and anticipating partnering with MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police to actually start doing walk-throughs, if you will, or kind of patrols in the camps. And so I think that this is something that has gotten everybody’s attention because everybody wants to ensure that given that we have a new normal in Haiti, that it is supported in the way that it needs to be. And I think, quite candidly, MINUSTAH is going to have to play an even bigger role to actually accomplish that because it wasn’t necessarily the case in the past that they had to do the kind of patrolling that’s going to be anticipated to be necessary now.

Does that answer your question?

QUESTION: Hi, Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald. Cheryl, I wanted to ask you, in reference to the budget support, the IMF is projecting that Haiti will have a $250 to $350 million deficit in its budget and as a result of this, they are actually asking donor nations, not just to give, but to support, but to ensure that they are not loans because at the same time the country has received $700 million in debt forgiveness.

In terms of your conversations with the donor nations that are coming to this conference, is the U.S. also urging them to not give the loans, not to have this country be indebted again?

MS. MILLS: Thank you very much. Two things. One, I think, certainly all of the co-hosts, which as my colleague, Assistant Secretary Brimmer outlined, France, Brazil, EU, Canada – and I’m forgetting Spain, which I should never forget, actually, because they’ve been quiet terrific, have all expressed a need for there to be budget support and have all been doing outreach in calls, in other words, to other donor nations, to potential donor nations, seeking not only support for Haiti, but also to the extent that is something that there country has a history or practice of doing, to actually be stepping up, or increasing, if they can, the amount of budget support that they’re doing.

So, I think, this is like a critical need, no matter what. I know that there is historically always different considerations about budget support, but there’s no nation that could actually function in a frame where this one has and in terms of there actually being a natural disaster and not have a need for budget support. And I think the key issue is, how you do that in a way that’s accountable and transparent for many nations. Certainly one of the ways in which that you’ll learn at the donor conference tomorrow, that we anticipate that also being possible is for certain nations that will be able to give through the multi-donor trust fund, if that is something that is actually more impactful for the kind of accountability that’s necessary back to their governments.

But, it will be an additional avenue in addition to the national avenues that are present with the IMF and other donor coordinating mechanisms that are there for budget support. But, everybody is sounding the drum on budget support.

QUESTION: I’m Diego Senior for Columbia. And this is a question for Assistant Secretary Valenzuela. It’s about – and I know Ms. Mills mentioned it earlier, but if you could explain to us in more detail the impact of the Chile earthquake on the aid, on behalf of the Latin American countries, for Haiti, especially on issues as resource allocation, which is a big issue there.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY VALENZUELA: Well, I don’t think that it is an issue in the sense that with the earthquake in Chile, as Counselor Mills has already said, the requirements from the international community for assistance in Chile are much less, because the impact of that earthquake, even though it was physically more damaging, was much, much less. And that’s because Chile has a history of earthquakes so that many of the older structures were destroyed a long time ago, and B, also very good building standards, internationally recognized building standards for an earthquake country. So in Chile, you had a loss of life of perhaps less than 500 people – between 500 and 1,000, whereas in Haiti it was 300,000. So I don’t think that there is a diversion there; quite the contrary, I think that the focus on Haiti is a very different phenomenon than the concerns with Chile. Now, that doesn’t mean that the United States and other countries did not stand up as well in assisting Chile in their moment of need. In fact, we responded very quickly to the Chilean crisis as well. Thanks.

QUESTION: Evelyn Leopold, Huffington Post contributor. Is the Haiti vision – I just want to double check – that action plan that’s online? That 55? And then secondly, Mr. Mulet yesterday at a news conference spoke about the possibility of having geographical areas of responsibility for the major donors. Is that realistic? And then Helen Clark from UNDP said she’s lacking relief aid that was getting all jumbled up with the reconstruction proposal.

MS. MILLS: So – I’m sorry. And I am a lawyer, too. I should remember all three parts. But what was part one?

QUESTION: Whether the online vision is –

MS. MILLS: Oh, the plan.

QUESTION: That action plan – that 55-page thing that I read last night.

MS. MILLS: I got it. So yes, the Government of Haiti’s plan is online and actually should be online at the donor site. And they put that up – I think it went up actually on Saturday, but it is up on the website and it will be up there throughout the conference. If there are changes, they will just change it dynamically and it will be up there. I had not heard of Mr. Mulet’s comments with respect to geographic regions, but it is certainly the case that Haiti has made clear that there are several pools of development they’d like to see developed over the course of time and they have identified the first three in their plan. I would expect that most donors would be seeking to, consistent with that plan of Haiti’s, concentrate and focus their resources in a way that would actually go about bringing about those as secondary cities and secondary regions for people to be able find jobs and have basic services and also be able to obviously have – get an education. Why? Because it actually pulls more people out of Port-au-Prince and means that the city itself ultimately can end up reconstituting itself at a different size, when there are other opportunities for lives that live – that can be lived effectively in some of the other regions. I would imagine that would translate, then, to how the donors would go about directing their resources.

Your last question was about relief, but I confess to not – to remember quite what the question was.

QUESTION: The money that – they’re short of money for shelter and other relief aid, because it seems to be caught up in the new request for reconstruction aid. And they – they’re still – their flash appeals were only about half or a quarter fulfilled.

MS. MILLS: Two things. One, I think that it is critically important that we are continuing to focus on the relief. It’s part of the reason why at this conference we will speak to that as being something that we can’t lose sight of, and we will be encouraging donors to actually continue the kind of giving that’s going to be necessary to address that. Certainly shelter has been not an insignificant area, and we certainly have contributed somewhere on the order recently of about $50 million to try and step through some of the relief issues, particularly with respect to shelters. But there is still a continuing need, and that need is something that we’ve been pressing other donor countries to see how they could go about addressing it as well. I think the expectation is is that we can’t get to where we’re going without addressing those relief needs. And that’s one of the reasons why we want to make sure that we continue that focus.

MODERATOR: Come over here and then back.

QUESTION: Hi. Bill Varner with Bloomberg News. Two things. One, it was talked yesterday at the UN press conference and today here, about the ownership and leadership of the government of Haiti. But given the situation they’re in, what caution should we put forward in terms of their ability to take ownership and to provide leadership in certain – the short term? How is it going to work to get them to where they can do that? What’s it going to take?

And secondly, you mentioned earlier Cuba and Venezuela. What has been the level or degree of contact, if any, between the U.S. and those two governments’ coordination and what level to facilitate whatever – sort of, the things you were talking about there? I guess it was on energy, and for Cuba it was in the health field. Thank you.

MS. MILLS: So in terms of what are the capacities, I think right now of the government of Haiti, I think President Preval has been very clear about the fact that one, Haiti needs to be in the lead with respect to the development and recovery of its country. But he also recognizes that their capacities right now have been considerably diminished, on top of the set of challenges that already existed in Haiti with respect to how they go about being able to provide the support and leadership through their government. I think it is going to be hard. I think part of the reason for having a development authority is creating the opportunity for there to be both leadership by the Government of Haiti for their priorities and the kind of coordination and planning, but I also think it presents the opportunity for them to be able to second in the expertise of a lot of other donors and a lot of other entities that actually have expertise in how you might go about processing through and moving through the kinds of projects and the kinds of validation and assessments that needs to be done, given the expertise of places like the World Bank and IMF and others that can actually provide that kind of support.

But I think it also presents the best opportunity for the Haitian Government in terms of being able to ensure that donors are acting consistent with their vision. Because also in the agency will be Haitians who are working side by side. And the goal would be 18 months after the Commission has actually been stepping through its process, the international presence would step out. And what you would have is the Haitian development authority being run by Haitians who have been spending the last 18 months in partnership with others who were able to bring to bear the kind of expertise and kind of resources quickly that could mean things could move. I think it’s going to be a challenge. I don’t think anybody doesn’t think it’s going to be a challenge.

I think the Government of Haiti thinks it's going to be a challenge, but I do believe that we have no other option other than to try, and I do believe that given the success that has been seen in other instances where there have been development authorities, that is certainly one of the mechanisms that we hope will actually lead to providing a level of support and strength that would put is on a path that would be hopefully a productive path.

In terms of the kinds of collaboration, we've actually been speaking with any number of different countries. We were at the Dominican Republic conference and we all spoke about what are the kinds of areas in which we have anticipated making our investments. We anticipate making investments in areas that are going deep, at least in agriculture, health, rule of law and justice with the security sector, if you will, and energy.

All of those are instances of things that not only are in Cuba and Venezuela, but other countries: IDB. I mean it's not a country, but multilateral is with the IDB. Other countries as well have actually indicated that they anticipate making investments: France, Brazil and certain others. We've tried our best to actually make sure that we are coordinating with all of those different entities so that we are in a place to make sure that whatever we ultimately do it's done in a coordinated fashion.

QUESTION: Well, given the relations between the U.S., and Cuba and Venezuela, can you sort of tell me more how is this dialogue and cooperation has worked here?

MS. MILLS: Well, I think two things. Right now, I think what everybody's had a chance to do is talk about what they're going to be doing and what that then means for how we will go forward, I think, is a question you're really asking. And I think that's the question we're going to need to be stepping ourselves through.

That's something that we're actually going to be looking forward to be doing that we are not going to make a precondition that if it is a country that we might have a difference of opinion in other areas that we will not at least be willing to for the purposes of Haiti. Understand the nature of the work that they do. Understand how that work might cull us with the work that we do and ensure that we're doing it in a fashion as consistent with the government of Haiti's vision. In terms of what that will look like I don't know. You'll have to stay tuned.

MODERATOR: Come over here and then.

QUESTION: Thank you. James Reinl from The National. The aid seems to be coming in two phases. You've got this 3.8 billion that's being sought tomorrow, and then this other figure over the next 10 years of several billion more. My question is to what extent will the Haitian government's performance over the next 18 months influence the amount of aid that's given later?

MS. MILLS: So I'm never very good at hypotheticals. You know, you get trained out as a lawyer. You're not supposed to ever answer a hypothetical. Well, you're asking me what will happen in the future. I'm not really good at predicting it as evidenced by the fact that I lost everything on me picking Kansas to go all the way in the final four. But I do believe that no matter what, everybody is shaped by their experiences.

If the experience over the next two years is a good experience, in other words we are able to all coordinate and collaborate, the Government of Haiti is able to provide the kind of leadership and direction, and also the type of support that's going to be necessary for the reinforcement of the opportunities, then I anticipate that people will feel more inclined to give more. And, if not, the people who ask themselves the tough questions, why did it happen, what is the accountability that we each have?

Certainly, donors have had accountability in Haiti and we know that. And what are the accountabilities that belong to the government in Haiti or the people of Haiti? I think all of those things will be the kind of tough questions that are going to really be asked, really between the 18-month and two-year mark that will no doubt influence how successful subsequent conferences are.

QUESTION: Ali Barada from An -Nahar newspaper in Lebanon. That in fact was also part of my question, but I still have. Are the donations going to be connected anyhow to the democratization process in Haiti?

MS. MILLS: Do you mean the election process in Haiti?

QUESTION: Yes, the election process, the whole political process in terms of democracy and corruption.

MS. MILLS: Well, so certainly the principles that we all subscribe to in Montreal and that the Government of Haiti subscribed to in terms of ensuring that there's accountability and transparency was one of the key principles. It's a key principle, not only for the donors, but a key principle with respect to the government of Haiti and how they are accountable and transparent to their people, because that has to be the case in order for this to be successful.

People have to know, not only what their government is doing, but they have to be able to see that what they are doing with the resources that are being brought to bear and they have to have confidence when they see that that those things also are going to end up being positively impactful for their lives.

In terms of tying anything to a democratization, I mean, I think everybody's expectation is that Haiti will continue on the path that it's been on with respect to the democracy, and that it will actually have to go through the challenging process of how it stands up in election at this time period.

I think that's going to be a very challenging construct in any arrangement, given the number of people who have passed away, and given the challenges of the roles in terms of the number of people who are on the roles but no longer alive, or who have moved away, given that we lost a lot of the individuals who actually do a lot of the election support in Haiti, both in the UN organization, which shows a tremendous amount of that as well as in Haiti itself.

I think President Preval in each of his instances where he has certainly met with the U.S. government has reaffirmed his commitment to having elections at the earliest possible time and to be able to ensure that those elections would be a full and fair election. So that's something that we are committed to ensuring takes place or committed by ensuring that we can provide the kind of resources and support to do that.

The OAS has actually been very active and involved in this space and have indicated that they are quite prepared to be on the ground and have actually already been in Haiti to be able to step through how they could stand up elections and what would be the earliest to be able to do that. So there's nothing about what has happened in the earthquake that seems to be deterring that trajectory, and I think we would have every expectation that it would continue in that vein.

I don't know if my colleague, Assistant Secretary Valenzuela, would take it.

QUESTION: Michael Herron from NBC. You're very close to this and I'm not, and I have a simple but complicated question. How can you break this down to where he stands right now in as simple terms as possible so that people can understand what's been accomplished? You talk about a stabilization period that we went through, a relief process that we went through. You talk about current and urgent needs.

Obviously, there's a lot of money that's been spent and invested already. Just over the past few months or so, what do you think has been accomplished? What are the most urgent needs? What's been spent and where are we right now if I could ask such a complicated question?

MS. MILLS: All right. I don't know that I'll do the best job, but let me take a stab at it. I think we know where we started on April 12th, or at least in terms of what had happened in that moment, January 12th. Sorry. On January 12th in terms of not only the enormous magnitude of the loss of life, not only the enormous magnitude of the loss, but just physical facility, which is also what drove the loss of life, because so many buildings did not stand. So in Chile so many buildings did stand, so they lost only a couple of hundreds folks; whereas, in Haiti the buildings did not stand and you lost 300,000.

I think we also truly appreciated in addition to that what that ultimately means for a country's ability to be able to sustain itself. Fifty percent of its GDP was lost in that moment, so it was already quite a dramatic moment and it was dramatic moment in a country and the hemispheres just to kind of remind yourselves of some facts that we actually always kind of keep in hand was, you know, in Haiti, before the earthquake, the life expectancy was about 49 years. In Haiti before the earthquake 70 percent of the people were unemployed.

In Haiti before the earthquake only about 1 percent of the people nationally went to the universities. In Haiti before the earthquake 80 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day. In Haiti before the earthquake, less than 30 percent of them had access to electricity. So Haiti started in a fundamentally challenged place and you then had a dramatic earthquake. In terms of what's been accomplished to date, well, I think the work of more than 140 nations in supporting Haiti, certainly, Secretary Clinton went down a few days after the earthquake and the first thing that President Preval said is, "Look, the first thing I want to make sure we're doing is rescuing people's lives." Check. The most successful rescue of lives that have happened after a major disaster happened in this instance was numerous countries sending rescue and relief teams.

Two, we need to make sure people have access to food and water. Check. They actually have a better level of water purity than they were beforehand because of what we've been able to provide to the international community in support for not only water, but also ensuring that people did not starve, so food.

The third thing he said is that we need shelter. People need a place to be. Okay. Check. People have temporary shelter. Temporary shelter is not the same thing as long-term shelter, and I think that's one of the biggest challenges that we have going forward on two levels. One, in terms of temporary shelter, while it is certainly the case that a lot of the tenting and siding that's been provided will sustain people. And they sustained people for many years, and certainly have other areas in Peru and in Aceh and other places. This is the kind of temporary material that has allowed people to be sustained where they were for an extended period of time.

But in terms of where we need to go, both because the rains are coming and in Haiti that is a dramatic event, people die every year pre-earthquake when the rains come. Our goal has to be to beat that, because if not, then we actually have created more vulnerabilities for the people of Haiti instead of less. Secondarily, it has to be the long term for housing, because over 100,000 houses were lost. Many, many people are now homeless.

There has to be a long-term solution too, as we think about the recovery, and you look one and two years down the road. How do you go about building in a way that means that people ultimately end up having the kind of shelter they need? So there was a lot of success for which the international community and certainly the Haitian Government, but most particularly the Haitian people should be enormously proud.

But it doesn't change the fact that if you were walking in Haiti today, there are dramatic needs that are still unaddressed, and that we are getting ready to come into a period of time where with the rains and the set of challenges that accompany them, not to mention the hurricane season, which unfortunately is predicted to be a bad one this year, there are incredible vulnerabilities and that's what we can't lose focus of.

QUESTION: It's a very simple and technical question, but in these donor and pledging processes, especially this time, who issues the request for the funds?

MS. MILLS: Tell me what you mean. Do you mean because the Government of Haiti obviously is thinking the resources on behalf of their country to be able to rebuild?

QUESTION: Yes. And so in this meeting will it be the President of Haiti who is going to say I'd like to request your help? Or, is it the UN? Or whose responsibility is it for issuing the request for the request for the pledging?

MS. MILLS: So President Preval actually made that request, actually, on the day of the earthquake, actually: We need your help and we need your support. And he spoke to that issue subsequently when he spoke about the appreciation for the level of solidarity, not only in terms of both the resources that were being brought to bear in the rescue and relief, but also pitching forward. So in terms of that question, it's now like a question that has now already been asked. The question of how it gets answered, obviously, is the bigger question that we're trying to figure out the answer to tomorrow.

QUESTION: I am Miki Ebara from NHK Japanese television and I would like to ask you two questions. One is I know the United States has been tremendously, like, putting efforts on coordination, you know, coordinating with other countries to assist Haiti. But what are the areas of priority for the U.S. to assist in Haiti? You know, what are the important issues?

Two, I haven’t really followed the movement of American, U.S. troops that that has quite a lot of presence in Haiti. I know they're still there. What are the plans? How long are they going to be there? And I know they are assisting, still like providing security for food assistance. What's going to happen from now on?

MS. MILLS: Thanks for both of those questions. I appreciate it. In terms of the areas where we anticipate focusing, well, two things. One, the United States has a history of investment in Haiti and each year invests somewhere between about $400 and 500 million in Haiti with 200 million of that going to MINUSTAH in support of its efforts and the other $300 million actually going in aid to Haiti and it has for the last couple of years been in that range and will be anticipated to continue in that range. And that's something that each year our congress determines. So we have a long-term investment in Haiti.

In terms of where we would anticipate in the recovery piece to be focusing some of our resources separate and apart from the work that we do each year and the investments that we make each year in Haiti. We are at least anticipating that we will be focusing on agriculture, energy, health and in what I would call the rule of law, security, justice sector.

As a part of that frame is obviously governance, that's a piece that is really important with respect to how you go about ensuring that in each of these areas where we're investing, the ministries there get the level of capacity building and support that they need. But also in terms of general governments associated with standing up elections and other things as well that we have the kinds of support that's there.

So that's where we would anticipate our recovery investments being made, at least the bulk of them. There will obviously be other things that if you're looking at where the bulk of our resources would be and not out of the resources we're going to put on the table to do that. In terms of our troops, as I understand it by about April 1 there will be about 3,000 troops that will be present in Haiti. And so I think that part of the anticipation is that by about May 1 that will be about 1,500, and by June 1 we will just be doing it on a needs base, but that most of our partnerships will be out of Haiti and we will be providing whatever support, if there is engineering support or specific supports that are unique supports that our military can provide, we will be doing that, but always in the humanitarian context, and we would anticipate that continuing in the humanitarian context in that way. So fewer than I think most people would now know at the time.

QUESTION: Hi, Jonathan Katz with the Associated Press. You have touched on this in a couple of answers to other questions, but I would like to pin you down on some specifics about the political situation in Haiti now and going forward. We are in a situation where -- Haiti is in a situation where within the next couple of months, many members of Parliament's terms are going to expire. The country is pretty much in a position where it is either going to be left to either run parliament or possibly no parliament at all.

Tomorrow, the conference is going to be talking about creating either the interim commission leading too, then ultimately the Haiti development authority. What is going to be done to ensure that this new authority doesn't become a new surrogate government of Haiti, and what is going to be done specifically to make sure that this agency is accountable to the people of Haiti? And if part of your answer is going to be that elections will eventually be held, what specific support is the United States going to give in terms of a dollar amount or specific assistance to Haiti in holding those elections, and when do you see those actually taking place?

MS. MILLS: I was going to say, it is a four-part question. I'm not going to remember all the parts, so you will remind me.

I think the first part is the political leadership of Haiti. You are correct that come May 10th, the parliament ceases to have the authority to continue. The president would be then the only remaining elected official who has executive authority, if you will, and operating authority. That is not an inconsistent situation for Haiti. Obviously, in the past, this has also come to pass because of the unique structures and the way in which their government is -- how it is organized. And so President Preval has in the past ruled by decree. I imagine if we get to that place and there is no elections or they don't come up with some kind of national consensus, we will again find ourselves in that space. I think the issue will be is what will be the timeline for elections so that you end up in a place where you have a Parliament that can be an active and effective partner.

In terms of what will stop the development authority from becoming a superstructure of the government or pseudo government, or separate from the government, two things I think. One, the prime minister is a part of the structure. The prime minister is the co-chair of the development authority, and is obviously the head of the government. Preval, as the president and head of the presidency, is the ultimate person for whom decisions ultimately get presented to. So in terms of likely becoming something separate from that structure, I think the way it is organized, by definition, probably means that it wouldn't end up in that place.

I can't remember your last question. I apologize. It was something about elections, right?

QUESTION: Funding.

MS. MILLS: Funding. So yes, we have -- right. At least currently right -- well I don't know how our budget documents show all these different things, but we basically are anticipating resources that go towards the election. We had about $10 million that had already been set aside for the elections before the elections didn't happen, and that was just for the elections that were going to be held in February. That money plus additional money will obviously go forward because if they actually hold it together, there is going to be more resources that are necessary. We typically do that not only in terms of monitoring, but also in terms of helping to support the entities that print the ballots, as well as helping to train people. All of those are things that we would continue to be able to do and expect to be able to do because it is critically important.

MODERATOR: Let's finish up here. We have got other things to -- our colleagues have other places --

QUESTION: Marta Torres, La Razon. You have said before that 70 percent of the population is unemployed. I would like to know if you have any special program to put them to work, or if you are working with local communities to teach them something. And how are you going to address the issue of deforestation, because there is a unique problem for you to try to make them understand they have to stop cutting trees?

MS. MILLS: I promise I didn't ask her to ask this question. Thank you for asking it, though.

The first, in terms of jobs, I do think, look, one of the long term issues is going to be how you go about creating sustainable jobs. There have been a number of jobs programs that have been stood up in the wake of the earthquake, both to deal with the immediate needs of rubble removal and, obviously, the distribution of a whole set of both resources and other things, and I think the goal will be to continue those types of programs. I know that the UN has stood up a number of things, we have stood up several thousand jobs in that regard as well -- actually, I think more than that number. So I don't know if the number now gets upwards of 15,000, but I will be able to check that for you and get back to you. And I think the expectation is to continue to do that in the short term.

I think the long term is a little bit of a more difficult challenge, and I think part of the reason why it is going to be necessary to actually drive different regions of growth is it is going to have to be the case that there is going to be economic growth for Haiti to be able to actually see jobs come into their country, both in terms of whether or not that is going to be in the manufacturing or the industry area, whether or not that is going to be through agriculture, which right now, 60 percent of the folks in Haiti end up deriving income from agriculture. But it is a very small percentage of their GDP, and we need to be actually driving more in terms of the opportunities for supporting their agriculture, and that is one of the reasons why the United States is investing in agriculture. That, and the fact that we also, as a larger frame, believe that agriculture plays an important role in developing countries, and that is why at the G-8 last year President Obama announced the food security initiative and the effort to go about ending global hunger.

In terms of deforestation, one of the things that we think is equally important, and certainly as we look at the energy piece, a piece of ours is how you look at the deforestation that is there, because Haiti has no natural watershed. And so part of the damages that happened from the hurricanes and the rains is because there is nothing to protect it. And so one of the things that we are going to be anticipating making investments in is, one, how we can go about decreasing the appeal of trees for charcoal, and instead either through liquid propane gas or other mechanisms, people would actually choose other approaches that would actually go about leaving the forestation in a better place, but also how you go about the appropriate tree planting and other preparations of the land that will actually make it much more sustainable. So that is something we are very focused on and something that we are hoping to partner with other nations on who have expressed a similar interest in being able to see how we can for the long term provide a better environmental floor for Haiti through those kinds of efforts, so thank you for asking. I appreciate it.

Thank you all very, very much. I appreciate your time. I really am grateful.