Assistant Secretary General Speech


May 10, 2018 - Haití

• Mr. Luis Ubiñas, President
• Mr. Edouard Baussan, First Vice President
• Ms. Kathleen Barclay, Treasurer
• Ms. Katie Taylor, PADF Executive Director
• PADF Board Trustees
• Management and Staff

Distinguished Ladies and Gentleman,

• It is a pleasure to greet you this morning on behalf of the Organization of American States, and as Vice Chairman of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

• This being my first trip to Haiti in my official capacity as Assistant Secretary General, I am delighted to join you in this beautiful Caribbean nation and extend a warm welcome to all of you to this Mid-Year Meeting of the PADF.

• The OAS has a longstanding commitment to help strengthen democracy and promote integral development in Haiti and has worked closely with other international organizations and stakeholders through several initiatives to support and safeguard its government’s achievements to bolster governance and social and economic development.

• In this regard, the Foundation has become an invaluable strategic partner in pursuing these priorities in Haiti and the region. The PADF has worked in Haiti since 1981 in close partnership with our OAS Mission, the Haitian Government, multilateral organizations, and private companies to promote integral development, advance social inclusion, strengthen civil society, and aid victims of natural disasters. And there is much that still needs to be done.

• Today I take this opportunity to reiterate the OAS’ enduring commitment to supporting the people of Haiti and continuing to find working synergies with the Foundation to advance our shared goal of improving the lives of the peoples of the Americas.

• When I spoke with you last November, I called on both Organizations, the OAS and PADF, to look towards the future and take the necessary steps to attain this goal. Today, I am proud to announce that we are doing this.

• The support and trust that the PADF has earned from USAID is a testament to the Foundation’s effectiveness, transparency, and impact.

• Our organizations will work together as one to help build resilient communities, drive reforestation, and support Haiti’s recovery and development, thanks to the US Government.

• The OAS is proud of the work of the PADF and extremely pleased at the joint work we are embarking on together to help the people of Haiti: USAID-Haiti has awarded 3 grants to the OAS/PADF in FY2018 for a total combined value of US $22.28 million over the next 5 years.

• These grants advance development goals for Haiti across multiple sectors including reforestation, post-Matthew recovery, and community driven development. USAID-Haiti believes that the OAS and PADF are uniquely positioned to implement these programs due to their longstanding relationships with affected communities, the Government of Haiti and its counterparts, and the Haitian private sector. These programs draw upon the OAS and PADF’s successful track record and commitment to the people of Haiti. .

• The grants also leverage the unique relationship between the OAS and PADF as they were issued to the OAS through the Public International Organization (PIO) mechanism which enabled the joint implementation of programmatic activities with PADF. The close working relationship between the OAS and PADF (both at headquarters and in the field offices) has been a critical factor in USAID’s grants.

• USAID has chosen the OAS as its partner to provide strategic support and oversight in each of these programs because of the shared development goals for a democratic and prosperous Haiti. Similarly, PADF has been chosen as the main implementing partner because of its experience in implementing successful reforestation, community development, and community resilience programs in country. Together, the two organizations bring a vital combination of technical expertise, reputational excellence, and an expansive network.

• The first award is called Build Back Safer: This program, launched in January 2018, works in communities in the South of Haiti that were heavily affected by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. This program will include support for repair of houses, improvement in water & sanitation infrastructure, repair of solar micro-grids, and help to bolster resiliency within affected communities.

• The second award is the Small Grants Facility (Reforestation Grant Fund) This reforestation program will work directly with small community -based organizations, local nurseries, and enterprises to implement a market-based approach to promote the planting of trees, limit deforestation, and improve the environment. This program was launched in April 2018.

• The third award is Community Driven Development: Launched in April 2018, this program will increase citizen engagement with local government authorities in Haiti and improve delivery of public services. It will also support the development and implementation of community plans and provide improved mechanisms for engagement between citizens and local and central government authorities.

• Over their life span, the 3 programs are expected to:
o benefit 771,000 people;
o Plant 5 million trees;
o Repair 5,000 houses;
o Offer technical assistance to 400 grassroots organizations; and
o Create 100,000 jobs.

• Last week, the OAS celebrated its 70th Anniversary – and for the last 56 years, PADF has been an invaluable partner. This is an opportune time to tell our joint success stories to the Inter-American community, and to find more areas of collaboration.

• We must find innovative ways to reduce inequality, improve nutrition and access to clean water, provide access to education and jobs, enhance peace and security, and continue to strengthen democracy and governance.

• I want to highlight the PADF program in Central America which seeks strengthen democracy and advance human rights in the countries of the Northern Triangle. The OAS is particularly grateful that PADF is partnering with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to implement this program and providing support to the Commission.

• I also applaud PADF’s work in STEM education across the region.

• I also know of the successful work that PADF is doing in the Caribbean in citizen security, youth, family, and community resilience.

• The PADF has always been a strong partner in fighting poverty and creating economic opportunities throughout the hemisphere. I am proud to see how PADF has become one of the most significant partners of the Colombian government and has helped thousands of indigenous and afro descendent people.

• I congratulate PADF’s Trustees and staff for your ongoing commitment to the OAS and its principles. You reflect the great spirit of solidarity that motivated the founders of the Inter-American System to help the least fortunate. You are a model for how to make sustainable change happen. I am proud of the OAS-PADF affiliation, and as PADF’s Vice Chairman, I remain committed to supporting our joint work.

Thank you.