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Cablegate: Usun Rome Co-Hosts High Level Food Security Event On Haiti

VZCZCXRO5550
PP RUEHRN
DE RUEHRN #0019/01 0481125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171125Z FEB 10
FM USMISSION UN ROME
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1286
INFO RUEHC/USAID WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0377
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0314
RUEHFR/USMISSION UNESCO PARIS FR PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0024
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY 0026
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0138
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0102
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO PRIORITY 0001
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 1364

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 UN ROME 000019

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR C, IO/HS, EEB/IFD/ODA
USAID FOR DCHA, LAC, EGAT, AFR
USDA FOR BPHILBROOK, ATUTWILER, PSHEIKH, GDOUVELIS
TREASURY FOR LMORRIS AND PGANDHI
NSC FOR GSMITH AND CPRATT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: FAO IFAD WFP UN EAID EAGR PREL HA
SUBJECT: USUN ROME CO-HOSTS HIGH LEVEL FOOD SECURITY EVENT ON HAITI

1. (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified. Not for
dissemination outside the U.S. Government.

Summary
-------

2. (U) The U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, joined by
the Haitian and Brazilian Missions, co-hosted a high-level
meeting `Supporting a Haitian-Led Food Security Program' on
February 12 at the World Food Program (WFP) headquarters.
Designed to highlight the need for medium and long-term
financing for Haiti's agricultural sector, the event was well
received by the many participants from other Missions, NGOs,
private sector and the media. Haiti's Agriculture Minister
Joanas Gue presented Haiti's $700 million agriculture plan in
his keynote address, followed by remarks from WFP Executive
Director Josette Sheeran, Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) Director General Jacques Diouf, International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD) President Kanayo Nwanze, State
Department Chief of Staff and Counselor Cheryl Mills, Brazil's
Coordinator-General of International Actions in the Fight
Against Hunger in the Ministry of Foreign Relations Milton
Rondo, and Dominican Republic Agriculture Minister Salvador
Jimenez. Noteworthy moments included the Haitian Ambassador
Benoit's emotionally charged opening remarks that drew tears
from many in the audience, the announcement of a new Haiti Task
Force established by the Rome-based UN Agencies, FAO Director
General Diouf's critical comments on funding for agriculture in
Haiti under the UN Flash Appeal, and a Haiti Multi-Donor Trust
Fund (MDTF) proposal by the Inter-American Development Bank
(IADB) and the World Bank. END SUMMARY.

Background
----------

3. (U) The high-level meeting was held exactly one month after
the devastating earthquake struck Haiti. One of the primary
objectives of the meeting was to gain commitments by parties to
develop and implement a coordinated Haitian-led food security
plan. Ideally this plan would include agriculture, rural
development, and safety nets. With death totals estimated
between 220,000 to 270,000 and untold infrastructural damage,
the earthquake, in FAO Director General Diouf's words, `has
destroyed all the headway' that had been made in the fight
against poverty in Haiti. WFP Executive Director Sheeran called
the disaster the `most complex emergency' that the WFP had ever
supported. The event focused on building consensus for a
Haitian-led agriculture plan that places agriculture as a
leading sector for Haiti's economic development.

Components of Haiti's New Agricultural Plan
---------------------------------------

4. (U) Outlined by Haitian Agriculture Minister Joanas Gue,
Haiti's new agriculture plan is centered on two key objectives:
produce more food and create more jobs. Gue emphasized that
with secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy badly
damaged, agriculture must take a lead role in jump-starting and
redeveloping the economy. The major components of the new plan
include: integrate food production and humanitarian work;
increase availability of inputs; rehabilitate infrastructure;
improve management of water basins; support reforestation (with
a focus on tree crops) and animal husbandry; and bolster the
marketing of agricultural production. The Haitian Agriculture
Minister was confident that the new plan could produce 40-45
million person days of work. The cost of the program is
projected at $700 million over a period of three years and will
target areas with large inflows of migrants as well as areas
that have the highest potential agricultural output. While
acknowledging the importance of a medium to long term
agriculture plan, Gue also stressed the importance of immediate
action as the first and primary agriculture season, which
accounts for 60 percent of Haiti's food production, will begin
March 1.

Coordinated Relief
-------------------

5. (U) The three UN Rome-based Agencies announced a new `Task
Force for Food Security in Haiti' designed to `support the GOH
in the implementation of a concerted, coherent, and targeted,
immediate and longer-term food security strategy that integrates
agricultural production and social safety nets.' The heads of
the three agencies pledged that they would work together on a
daily basis, combining the expertise and resources of their
agencies. They recognized `the need to create social safety
nets to stimulate the economy in urban and rural areas; to
re-start urgently needed school feeding; and to ensure that the
coming planting seasons are as productive as possible. In the
longer term, agriculture sector policies and funding frameworks
are required to pave the way for enhanced production and
productivity.' For example, the three agencies now are
coordinating their efforts to provide seeds for next month's
planting season, with IFAD providing funding, FAO purchasing
seeds and giving technical expertise, and WFP assisting with
distribution.

Diouf Raises Concern on Lack of Funding
---------------------------------------

6. (U) In his remarks, FAO Director General Jacques Diouf
raised concern over the lack of funding that has been committed
to and made available to the FAO through the UN Flash Appeal.
Diouf noted the importance that the GOH had placed on
agriculture in the recovery process and expressed strong concern
that only $23 million of the $576 million Haiti Flash Appeal (as
of February 12) was designated for agriculture and, of that
amount, only eight percent had actually been funded.

Counselor Mills' Intervention
-----------------------------

7. (U) Counselor Mills said that both Haiti and food security
have figured prominently in U.S. foreign policy and are a good
example of the combined role of diplomacy and development that
President Obama and Secretary Clinton have pursued over the past
year. She urged the international community to meet its
pre-earthquake commitments and redouble its efforts to work
together with a single purpose, under a coordinated plan and
under the leadership of Haiti. Mills recalled the tentative
progress Haiti had made before the earthquake and encouraged
donors and UN agencies alike to build off of the hope and
opportunity that still exists in Haiti, particularly in the
development of the agriculture sector.

8. (U) Counselor Mills explained that, prior to the earthquake,
a joint U.S.-Haitian team determined that a robust agriculture
development strategy would need to focus on three core elements:
Grow More, Save More, and Sell More. Now, after the earthquake,
Mills said it would be necessary to include four additional
areas of investment in the agricultural sector: rebuilding the
Ministry of Agriculture; enhancing coordination through rapid
and transparent information exchange; supporting an integrated
strategy between Haiti and the Dominican Republic; and promoting
job creation in agriculture. An expanded strategy would also
have to take into consideration the GOH stated goal of
decentralizing the country and drawing people out of Port au
Prince. (The full text of Counselor Mills' statement is
available on the Mission website: http://usunrome.usmission.gov)

World Bank and IADB Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Haiti
--------------------------------------------- -----------------

9. (SBU) The World Bank proposed a Multi-Donor Trust Fund
(MDTF) for Haiti. Developed in collaboration with the IADB, the
MDTF could direct funds to either budget or project support.
The Fund would be governed by a steering committee of Haitians
and donors, would allocated according to a common needs
assessment, avoid working on a project-by-project basis, and
prohibit earmarked donations.

Significant Media Interest
-------------------------------

10. (U) There was substantial media interest in the high-level
meeting. Twenty-one journalists attended, including
representatives from international news agencies [AP, CNN, AFP,
APTN, NPR, DPA (Deutsche Presse-Agentur), and Europa Press] as
well as from several Italian news agencies [RAI International,
Radio RAI, Ansa (Italy's leading news agency), La7
(privately-owned center-left newscast), and Terra]. The entire
event was also live-streamed via webcast on the web sites of
USUN-Rome, WFP, FAO, and IFAD. It is estimated that over 4,000
viewers accessed the webcast from one of the four sites during
the event.

11. (U) Most media coverage focused on the GOH's $700 million
plan to meet long-term food production needs and create jobs for
the thousands of Haitians who have fled the quake-stricken
capital. Coverage also centered on FAO DG Diouf's complaint
about the lack of support for the agricultural component of the
UN Flash Appeal as well as the announcement of FAO, WFP, and
IFAD having established a task force to help the Government of
Haiti implement a food security strategy focusing on both
immediate needs and long-term rural development.
COUSIN

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