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U.N. Puts Haiti Rebuilding Price Tag At $11.5 Billion

The United Nations has put the rebuilding price tag of Haiti at some $11.5 billion, just $2.5 billion less than the Rene Preval administration.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow`s global donor conference for Haiti at the U.N., Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the `smart` rebuilding of Haiti after January`s earthquake will require some $11.5 billion of spending over the next 10 years.

`That is our challenge in New York – not to rebuild but to `build back better,` to create a new Haiti,` the Secretary-General said in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

More than 100 countries will take part in the `International Donors Conference: Towards a New Future for Haiti,` at U.N. headquarters in New York tomorrow.

The meeting will be led by Haitian President René Préval, with the Secretary-General and Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of State, as co-hosts, and UN Special Envoy for Haiti, former President Bill Clinton.

The conference will be co-chaired by Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France and Spain, as the leading donors to Haiti.

Under the yet to be detailed plan, an Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission would channel nearly $4 billion into specific projects and programs during the next 18 months, with the remaining funds spread over the next decade.

`This assistance must be well-spent and well-coordinated,` Ban said, noting that emergency relief, such as food and sanitation, must continue.

The UN and its partners have provided tents and tarpaulins to 1 million people so far, roughly 75 percent of those in need, and will distribute some 300,000 more in the coming weeks.

The Haitian Government is now finalizing plans to relocate people from camp sites vulnerable to flooding to more secure ground, hopefully ahead of the full thrust of the rainy season.

In terms of security, Ban noted that the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is working to ensure that women and children are safe from sexual violence in the camps.

In addition to basic services, the UN chief said reconstructing Haiti will include a new social contract between Haiti and its people which empowers women, provides new opportunities for economic advancement and includes fair and free elections to be conducted with the UN`s help, preferably by the end of this year.

`This new partnership requires a commitment to good governance, transparency and mutual accountability – between the Government and the governed, between the public and private sectors, between Haiti and the international community.`

Ban also called for development in Haiti`s rural areas, environmental recovery, land reform, and new investment in fisheries and agriculture.

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