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Haiti requires long-term global commitment for stability to take root - UN official

24 March 2004 The circumstances in which the United Nations must now aid Haiti are more complex and difficult and need a longer commitment than they did nearly a decade ago when a previous UN mission was launched, according to UN Assistant Secretary-General Danilo Turk.

"We are all aware that the magnitude of the needs in Haiti will require not only a long-term but a massive international effort," Mr. Turk told the Security Council during consultations yesterday, according to the text of his remarks which was made available afterwards. "Yet it is generally acknowledged that one of the major reasons why assistance programmes have not succeeded in the past is the failure to engender Haitian ownership."

The UN must ensure that a large-scale operation does not become intrusive and discourage Haitian involvement, he said. He suggested that Haitians receive targeted aid delivered with as little overhead as possible.

"Haitians will ultimately need to take charge of their own destiny and they must be encouraged to do so as quickly as possible," he said.

In Resolution 1529, the Council asked UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a programme to help Haiti's constitutional political process, support humanitarian and economic assistance, protect human rights and develop the rule of law.

Mr. Turk stressed the need to ensure that once a Security Council mandate ended, other UN involvement was not curtailed.

Meanwhile, the Washington, DC-based World Bank said it hosted a meeting yesterday of donor governments, international financial institutions and regional and international organizations to agree on coordinating responses to Haiti's needs.

Donors said they would propose to the interim Haitian Government that a joint government-donor team carefully cost and coordinate a national reconstruction plan. They would also propose meeting again in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in the next few weeks.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Flash Appeal for Haiti has collected $5.82 million of the $35 million requested. Other international aid to Haiti, outside of the Flash Appeal, totalled nearly $5 million.

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