MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described it as international solidarity in action. Yesterday, at the U.N., world governments and international organizations pledged nearly $10 billion in aid to Haiti, about half of that over the next two years. The amount exceeded expectations. Many countries came to the donor conference with concerns about post-earthquake chaos in Haiti and longstanding problems with corruption.
NORRIS: In the end, they agreed to form a commission to oversee the funds. Former President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive are co-chairing that commission. Earlier I spoke with Prime Minister Bellerive. He says now that the money has been promised, the real work begins. They'll be following up, donor by donor, project by project.
Prime Minister JEAN-MAX BELLERIVE (Haiti): You know, there is a lot of talk and preoccupation about transparency, a lot of preoccupation around corruption, a lot of preoccupation around competence and effectiveness. Now we have to prove to everybody that money could be used effectively and rapidly to the benefit of the population. I believe we are in the capacity to do that. President Clinton is totally willing and available to work with us, you know, to make sure that the money is dispersed as long and as soon as we have the project to use the money.
NORRIS: It sounds like you're saying that Haiti has to do more than just rebuild what was lost in the earthquake, that you have to rebuild your reputation in some way, that you have to earn the trust that some people don't necessarily have.
Prime Minister BELLERIVE: I'm not going to hide the fact that we have a credibility problem. All the poor countries, or what they call the fragile countries, we have the problem of credibility. We have to rebuild it and we have to prove and we have to be tested in order to prove that it's not the same situation that were the case 18, 20 years, 30 years ago when there was dictatorships in Haiti. We have a government that want to give the service that the population is entitled to. But we have to prove to all the people we are working with that we have transparency on the fund were managing, that we are working towards progress, really, and that everybody understood what we are going to do in the short midterm. And that we are putting in place the system for accountability and evaluation. So the keyword is transparency and we are willing to do that.
NORRIS: It seems like right now you have to make some big decisions on weighing immediate needs, things like housing, food, medical care, against long-term projects, long-term rebuilding and reinvestment in the country.
Prime Minister BELLERIVE: Well, clearly, we cannot wait for the old structure to be in place to act right now. We have to take those people out of some very, very dangerous zone where they settle their tents. They could be flooded. As you know, we have a cyclonic season starting in less than two months and we have to move those people. That will cost money, evidently. But generally, more globally, we have to prepare the next flooding and the next cyclonic season. That also is a priority.
We have to support the national production. In agriculture, for example, a lot of food could be produced in Haiti. So, we have some urgency, we have to take care of them right now. And we are going to start with the money that we have in Haiti and we are going to see if from the pledges that we receive, some of those pledges could be transforming budgetary support in order for them to have access to that money rapidly and act right now in order to support the population.
And most of the population that were victim after the earthquake, they are still on the streets, they are still in need of a lot of support. Food, water, in some case, new tents and they have to be relocated and they have to be protected against the cyclonic season.
NORRIS: Prime Minister Bellerive, thank you very, very much.
Mr. BELLERIVE: Thank you so much.
NORRIS: I was speaking with Haiti's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive.