Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

Haiti: Rezo Ekolo meets President Martelly

By Pierre Carret

Photo: © Roberson AlphonseMembers of Rezo Ekolo (Ecological Network), an alliance of Haitian environmental NGOs receiving capacity-strengthening support through a CEPF grant, met with the new president of the Republic of Haiti, Joseph Michel Martelly, on June 8 and handed him a 25-point manifesto that outlines the vision of Haitian civil society to respond to major threats to the country's environment.

Addressing a panel of about 20 represenatatives of major organizations fighting for the environment, President Martelly said that the environmental situation called for "urgent action" and insisted on the need to establish effective synergies between the state and civil society in Haiti. He has promised to create 100,000 green jobs and to increase forest cover by 8 percent during his term -- a challenge in a country where the remaining natural forests, although incredibly biodiverse, are seriously threatened by charcoal production and agricultural expansion. 

The discussions stalled on the issue of the “end” of the Ministry of Environment. Prime Minister-Daniel Gerard Rouzier- wants to merge it with the Ministry of Interior and Local Government, in charge of territorial planning. Some organizations fear that environmental considerations would be sacrificed in favor of other, less environment-friendly activities of the new “super ministry.“  President Martelly expects the new structure to be more efficient, stating that the independence of the Ministry of Environment “hasn’t led to big successes so far."

This first high-level meeting with the executive power in Haiti and the joint signing of the manifesto are the culmination of a long process of Haitian civil society working to join forces and influence the political process. Operating informally for several years and indirectly supported by CEPF since 2010, Rezo Ekolo is becoming a key player in environmental protection in a country where it is urgently needed.

More information: Articles in the news (including the manifesto) http://www.lenouvelliste.com/article.php?PubID=1&ArticleID=93532