In the course of his mission to Haiti, Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, met with President René Préval on April 30. Agenda items included national reconstruction efforts, emergency measures and Québec companies’ potential role in the reconstruction. Mr. Préval noted that Haiti’s recovery would inevitably hinge on education-related initiatives.
Mr. Arcand and Mr. Préval at the conclusion of their meeting, together with (at left) Emmanuel Dubourg, Member of the National Assembly for Viau and the Government of Québec’s coordinator for Haiti.
Supporting Haitian public administration
Mr. Arcand also informed Mr. Préval that the project in support of strengthened public administration in Haiti (PARGEP), organized by Québec’s National School of Public Administration (ENAP), has been renewed. Activities are now scheduled to resume under this five-year project, which was launched in late 2007. The project director will undertake a mission to Haiti in early May aimed at developing a work plan for the coming year. In addition, two Québec-based experts will be travelling to the country as part of a government emergency communications initiative. The local coordinator will be resuming her duties in early August, in conjunction with the launch of next course offered under the ENAP’s master’s-level distance learning program.
Reporters Without Borders
During his stay, Mr. Arcand also visited the media centre built by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) in the week following the earthquake, serving the local media as well as the foreign press. The Minister announced that the Government of Québec would be making a $10,000 contribution towards the construction of a recording studio for the centre with a view to providing feeds to Haitian and foreign radio stations. He also called on Québec-based newspaper plants and private media outlets to support RWB’s media centre in Haiti by donating used equipment.
Mr. Arcand hosted an economic-themed luncheon attended by key Haitian stakeholders, including Ronald Baudin, Minister of Economy and Finance; Paul Antoine Bien-Aimé, Minister of the Interior and the Territorial Communities; and Fernand Hivon, Special Advisor to the Haitian Prime Minister, together with a representative of Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and various members of the local business community.
Mr. Arcand also conducted an on-site visit aimed at evaluating initiatives undertaken by international cooperation organizations under the provisions of the Québec government’s $3 million emergency aid package. This was capped by a meeting with Nigel Fisher, the UN’s Deputy Special Representative for Haiti.
Lastly, Mr. Arcand toured a refugee camp, where he witnessed first-hand the plight of the displaced populations, and visited the Women’s Emergy project organized by the Montréal-based Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) in the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Martissant.