Even before the devastating 12 January 2010 earthquake, Haiti was the poorest, least stable and most environmentally degraded country in the Caribbean. This environmental degradation had severe, wide-reaching social and economic impacts, as the largely destroyed rural environment could no longer fully feed its population or provide adequate livelihoods. The degraded catchments had also made Haiti's rural and urban populations vulnerable to extreme natural adverse events.
Thus, Haiti's population continues to suffer from ongoing poverty, food insecurity, health problems, and disaster vulnerability, which are strongly interlinked with major environmental issues such as deforestation, soil erosion, inadequate waste management, water scarcity and coastal zone degradation, many of which have been further exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake.
At the request of the national government, UNEP has an active presence in Haiti and is working with government agencies and a host of other stakeholders to achieve major and sustained improvements for both the environment and the well-being of the country's population. The UNEP team comprising international and national staff is based in Port-au-Prince.
UNEP is a driving force behind the Haiti Regeneration Initiative launched in 2009, aimed at reducing poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters through restoring ecosystems and livelihoods. The initiative is built on the principle that large-scale, chronic problems need bold solutions based on sustainable natural resource management, and it encompasses concerted action over the next 20 years and beyond.
In addition, UNEP is a founding partner in the new Côte Sud Initiative, which is the largest ever initiative to support the recovery and sustainable development of south-western Haiti. The CSI area covers Haiti's entire South Department and includes Macaya National Park, one of Haiti's last remaining original forests.
For more information about UNEP's activities in Haiti please contact: Antonio Perera, UNEP in Haiti Programme Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Morton, Manager - Haiti Regeneration Initiative at email@example.com.