Rebuilding a Sustainable Haiti: Public Symposium

“The earthquake that has so cruelly struck our country may become a window of opportunity for the re-foundation of Haiti. It is a rendez-vous with history that our country cannot miss.”

- from the Action Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of Haiti


Thanks to everyone who joined us on Friday, June 4, to participate in the IfUD’s Rebuilding a Sustainable Haiti symposium, during which our stellar roster of speakers spoke frankly and in detail about the complex nature of the challenges facing the country today and over the next twenty years. From Ambassador Leslie Voltaire’s comprehensive presentation of the Haitian government’s Action Plan; to Ami Desai of the Clinton Foundation’s thoughtful discussion of the potential and limits of donor aid; to David Evans of UN-HABITAT’s talk on lessons the development community has learned from prior disasters, and concern that they aren’t always applied; to Louis Herns Marcelin of INURED’s critique of the top-down nature of many needs-assessment efforts; the conversation was a far-ranging and compelling one.

For those of you who could not be at Cooper Union on the 4th, we encourage you to visit our video page to view the symposium and join the discussion.

Thank you, once again, to our invaluable partners AIANY and UN-HABITAT, as well as all of the speakers and moderators who took part in the discussion:

Leslie Voltaire, UN Special Envoy to Haiti and lead planner for the Haitian government’s reconstruction effort.

Ami Desai, Foreign Policy Advisor, Clinton Foundation

Patrice Nevil, Director of Infrastructure, Partners in Health

Chris Williams, Washington DC Representative, UN-HABITAT

Louis Herns Marcelin, Director, Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development Haiti (INURED) and Professor, University of Miami

David Mulet, Project Coordinator, Organization of American States (OAS)

David Evans, Chief Technical Advisor, UN-HABITAT Sri Lanka

R. Steven Lewis, President, National Organization of Minority Architects

Garry Pierre-Pierre, Editor and Publisher, Haitian Times

Deborah Gans, Principal, Gans Studio

James Dart, Principal, DARCH

Toni L. Griffin, Adjunct Associate Professor, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Michael Sorkin, Board chair, Institute for Urban Design


Recommended Reading:

Action Plan for the Reconstruction and National Development of Haiti [PDF]

The Haitian government’s rebuilding plan, presented at the symposium by Leslie Voltaire, is based on the PDNA; a draft was presented at the March 28 Donor’s Conference at the United Nations, and the final plan was published on April 12, 2010.

PDNA: Haiti Earthquake Post-Disaster Needs Assessment: Assessment of Damage, Losses, General and Sectoral Needs [PDF]

PDNA: Executive Summary [Word document]

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, also discussed by Mr. Voltaire, was prepared by a joint team composed of representatives of the government and members of the international community. (Full document and Executive Summary)

Lessons Learnt From Past Disasters [Powerpoint]

The full presentation given by UN-HABITAT’s David Evans at the Rebuilding a Sustainable Haiti symposium, in Powerpoint format.

NGO Impact Initiative [PDF]

An 2006 report on the impact of NGOs on international humanitarian efforts, as discussed at length at the symposium by David Evans.

Voices from the Shanties [PDF]

The Port-au-Prince based think tank INURED, led by moderator Louis Herns Marcelin, surveyed 962 residents of the Cite Soleil neighborhood to determine living conditions and immediate post-quake needs.

Modernization of Cadastre and Land Rights Infrastructure in Haiti [PDF]

The Organization of American States’ (OAS) proposal for updating Haiti’s cadastre, discussed at the symposium by David Mulet, to aide the reconstruction process.

Haitian Diaspora Forum’s Consolidated Recommendations [PDF]

A March 21-23 forum held at the Organization of American State’s headquarters convened members of the Haitian diaspora to develop a strategy  on how the community can help in reconstruction efforts.


Integrated Strategic Framework [PDF]

The Haitian government’s Ministry of Economy and Finance’s analysis of the economic challenges and issues in the rebuilding process.

Haiti Building Damage Atlas

The UN’s series of comprehensive building damage maps were created from satellite imagery, and detail damage according to geographic area and building type.