The impact of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on January 12, 2010 affected Haiti's capital and nearby towns and killed up to 230,000 people. Damages and losses were evaluated at around US$8 billion or 120 percent of GDP.
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A few weeks before commemorating the fifth anniversary of its most devastating earthquake in recent history, today Haiti published its first poverty diagnosis in more than a decade. The good news for ... Show More +the country is that extreme poverty has dropped, mainly in the area of Port-au-Prince, while school enrollment has increased.Nevertheless, as international aid drops and political instability increases, these social conquests could be reversed.The study detected five trends summarizing how Haiti is doing in terms of achieving its development objectives:1. Between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty —with one dollar or less a day— dropped from 31% to 24% at the national level, and from 20% to 5% in Port-au-Prince. More than 200,000 people have climbed out of poverty.2. School enrollment increased from 78% to 90%, very close to the goal of universal child enrollment. However, many children abandon school or have to repeat years. Less than 60% reach the last year of primary education; and low educational achievement is one of the main factors behind unemployment.“Many parents are unemployed and cannot send their children to school,” says Clement Renold. His family benefits from a program that allows children to study without paying tuition fees. “This is a great relief because sending a child to school is the greatest possible present.”Compared to its Latin America and the Caribbean neighbors, Haiti has the greatest ratio of adults without formal education. The report recommends a financial plan to improve educational access and quality, focused on early childhood development.3. Despite this, a high degree of vulnerability threatens these improvements: Close to 2.5 million Haitians are unable to cover their basic food needs, while one million are in danger of falling into poverty. Improvements in poverty reduction were mostly driven by international aid (following the earthquake), remittances and an increase in well-paid jobs in construction, transportation and telecoms, sectors that also received a significant amount of investment from the international community as part of the reconstruction process. “Haitians needed money, families abroad wanted to help their relatives here in Haiti,” explains Sharline Dubuisson, whose money transfer company saw a spike in demand after the earthquake. “We received a lot of transfers.”Seeing that foreign aid is starting to slow down after an exceptionally high period following the disaster, social indicators could be easily reversed if efforts stops and if growth does not resume. Haiti has recently expanded its main social security networks, but its coverage is still very low. Barely 8% of all Haitians received non-contributory social assistance benefits in 2012, while even less salaried workers have access to social security.4. Haiti continues to exhibit the greatest income inequality in the continent, and is one of the most unequal countries in the world. The richest 20% of households earn 64% of the country’s total income, while the poorest 20% makes do with just 1%.5. There is a growing gap between Port-au-Prince and the rest of the country. More than 80% of those living in extreme poverty do so in rural areas. Families in the north and southwest of the country work hard to grow food, but they fail to earn enough. Extreme climatic events, lack of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds, and limited market access are just some of the impediments they face.“The situation is difficult for us farmers because we cannot purchase seeds,” explains Marie Helene Jean Louis, who grows bananas in her small plot of land. “Sometimes we want to grow certain plants but do not have the money to buy seeds.”This profound urban-rural gap can be observed when looking at access to services. Only 16% of people in rural areas have access to improved sanitation, compared to 48% in the cities.For many families, migration is seen as a way out of poverty. During this period (2000-2012), 20% of the population migrated within the country. For example, educated migrants working in Port-au-Prince on average earn between 20% and 30% more than if they had stayed in their town or city of origin.While the country continues to work to close the poverty gap, the report recommends three main courses of action:Creation of jobs,Increased access to health and education, andProtecting the poor and most vulnerable from unexpected economic events.In a context of limited resources, the fight against poverty can only be possible when decisions are taken with the best available information. Because of this, this report on poverty in Haiti is a tool that will allow governments and donors to be more specific in their programs and be able to reach people in need. Show Less -
Haiti First Poverty Assessment Post-earthquakeNew report calls for inclusive growth and measures to increase access to basic services, employment opportunities and social protection for the poorEmploy... Show More +ment opportunities in construction, transport and telecommunication sectors, aid and remittances helped reduce poverty PORT-AU-PRINCE, December 11, 2014 - A new report released today by the National Observatory on Poverty and Social Exclusion (ONPES) and the World Bank suggests the need for more inclusive growth and policies to increase access to basic services, livelihood opportunities and social protection for the poor in Haiti as the best way forward for accelerating poverty reduction in the country.The report Haiti: Investing in people to fight poverty highlights that extreme poverty declined from 31 to 24 percent at the national level and from 20 to 5 percent in the Port-au-Prince area between 2000 and 2012. The biggest gains in access to basic services have been in education, where school participation rates have risen from 78 to 90 percent. "It is clear that the Metropolitan area received more attention in recent years, but we also note that more and more actions are directed to the provinces. If these actions are sustained and integrated into a comprehensive policy to foster development of rural areas, we will undoubtedly have a lower poverty rate, "said Shirley Augustine Coordinator ONPES.However, poverty remains high and access and quality of basic services remains a major concern, particularly in rural areas. More than 6 million Haitians - almost 60 percent of the population - live on two dollars a day and the richest 20 percent of households hold 64 percent of total income in the country.The authors find that the key drivers behind the decline in poverty since 2000 have been the increase of better paid jobs in construction, transport and telecommunication, particularly in the Port-au-Prince area, as well as large flows of remittances and international aid. From 2001 to 2012, wages in the formal sector were four times higher than in the agriculture sector, and the share of households receiving remittances rose from 42 to 69 percent.“In spite of progress, opportunities for Haitian families to improve their economic and social status remain limited compared to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. Far from the capital, most families have very limited access to basic services and often cannot afford to cover their medical bills or send their children to school,” said Mary Barton-Dock, World Bank Special Envoy in Haiti. “Nearly five years after the devastating earthquake, this analysis highlights priority actions to help tackle poverty and promote inclusive growth in the country”.The report suggests three priority directions to sustain progress in closing the poverty gap and broaden opportunities for all Haitians across the country:Boost incomes and economic opportunities: Incomes have stagnated in rural areas where 80 percent of the poor are concentrated. Boosting agriculture productivity through diversification and improved access to markets, skills and inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds would be an effective way to multiply economic opportunities. In urban areas, workers with better education obtain substantially better jobs and incomes. The analysis suggests the need to improve working conditions in the informal sector through better business environment and jobs training.Improve access and quality of health and education services: Despite sizeable progress, child and maternal health indicators remain low compared to the region and about 200,000 children aged 6 to 14 are currently out of school. High cost of access to services is still an obstacle. On average, families spend 10 percent of their budget on education and 3 percent on health care. The report suggests that increasing access to cost-effective primary health care, while focusing on improving the quality of service delivery in health and education, would have a significant impact on poverty.Protect the poor and vulnerable from shocks: The government recently announced a new social protection strategy to consolidate and improve the targeting and coverage of existing social safety nets. Continued efforts are needed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Haiti’s hard-earned development gains are often jeopardized by adverse natural events. A better understanding of and response to disaster risks is needed, notably through the integration of disaster management in investments and public policies.This joint ONPES WB poverty diagnostic is based on the 2012 household survey conducted by the Haitian Statistic and IT Institute (IHSI) to help identify priorities for public investments and improve service delivery to the poor. It will also inform the upcoming World Bank Group country strategy for 2015-2021.Learn more about the work of the World Bank in Haiti: www.worldbank.org/htand www.worldbank.org/povertyVisit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbankBe updated via Twitter: @WBCaribbeanYouTube: http://www.youtube.com/worldbank Show Less -
The full report will be available here in mid-December 2014Despite a decline in both monetary and multidimensional poverty rates since 2000, Haiti remains among the poorest and most unequal countries ... Show More +in Latin America. Two years after the 2010 earthquake, poverty was still high, particularly in rural areas. This report establishes that in 2012 more than one in two Haitians was poor, living on less than $2.41 a day, and one person in four was living below the national extreme poverty line of $1.23 a day.Progress is evident, but much remains to be done. Extreme poverty declined from 31 to 24 percent between 2000 and 2012, and there have been some gains in access to education and sanitation, although access to basic services is generally low and is characterized by important inequalities. Urban areas have relatively fared better than rural areas, reflecting more non-agricultural employment opportunities, larger private transfers, more access to critical goods and services and narrowing inequality compared to rural areas.Continued advances in reducing both extreme and moderate poverty will require greater, more broad-based growth, but also a concerted focus on increasing the capacity of the poor and vulnerable to accumulate assets, generate income, and better protect their livelihoods from shocks. Special attention should be given to vulnerable groups such as women and children and to rural areas, which are home to over half of the population and where extreme poverty persists, and income inequality is increasing. Show Less -
Climate change is a clear and dire threat to Latin America and the Caribbean. A threat in which the region has had little or no role in the making, but in which it is already an important part of the ... Show More +solution.Dear friends, I appreciate this opportunity to address you on this important and timely topic. The report we are launching today is the third in the Turn Down the Heat series and, for the first time, covers our region.This report is based on the findings of a global research series commissioned by the World Bank to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.We thought a stand-alone report for Latin America and the Caribbean would add value to the solutions-focused discussion already taking place in the region.In this regard, I would like to thank Cindy Arnson and the Latin America Program at the Wilson Center for partnering with us to further the discussion on the development implications of climate change for Latin America and the Caribbean.The challenges climate change poses to development are significant: the economic, social, and political costs of unchecked climate change make it one of the most important areas of action for decision-makers today.This report makes it clear in a scientifically rigorous way why tackling climate change is so important for Latin America and the Caribbean.Being aware of these challenges is a necessary first step to prepare and implement policy responses, both in a catastrophic four degree scenario or in the two degree world we are already moving towards.I would like to highlight some of my takeaways, based on the report’s findings:The first is that a four degree world can and must be avoided.The projections for our region in a four degree warming scenario are daunting:Almost all land area in the region – 90% – will likely be subject to heat events that are currently experienced only every 700 years.The Amazon basin and many highly inhabited areas are expected to experience extreme droughts.The Andean glaciers will be gone by the end of the century. Glacial melt will at first raise the risks of floods and then result in drought for the communities that depend on them.Category 4 or 5 hurricanes may occur more frequently and more powerfully. This, together with a one meter sea-level rise will have devastating impacts, especially on the Caribbean.A 4 degree world would mean that Rio de Janeiro and Barranquilla would have to cope with a massive 1.4 meter rise in sea level.We are already living in a world that is close to one degree above what it would be if not for human activity, on the path to reach two degrees. The report finds that a 1.5 degree global temperature increase is already locked in, and some of the impacts associated with a two degree warming are already being felt.Events such as the massive 2005 and 2010 Amazon droughts, the increase in frequency in Atlantic hurricanes, and the 90% loss of tropical glaciers are clear evidence of this.Even a two degree world would be highly damaging to Latin America and the Caribbean, jeopardizing decades of development achievements.The number of severe hurricanes will increase by 40%, with double the energy of the current average.Ecological changes would endanger up to 70% of Brazil’s soya bean and 45% of Mexico’s corn.Bleaching of coral reefs would increase and the Caribbean fish catch volume would decrease by up to 50%.Now, the good news is that we can avoid the worst impacts of a 4-degree world, while continuing to prepare for a world that is 1.5 to 2 degrees warmer. So, my second key takeaway is that we need to move faster.As a Latin American, I am greatly encouraged that the region is showing that there is no room for complacency regarding mitigation.It has preserved its forests more than any other region,It is the most bio-diverse region in the world,It has the largest freshwater reserves and is home to the Amazon, the world’s largest carbon sink,It also historically has had the cleanest energy matrix of any region.Latin America has a special responsibility to the world in this respect. We must continue to avoid deforestation, avoid the current trend towards dirtier energy, work to reduce air pollution in the cities, and emphasize climate friendly solutions, such as in agriculture.It is clear that the world’s greatest emitters of greenhouse gases need to demonstrate decisive leadership to solve the climate change crisis. But Latin America and the Caribbean has not been waiting, and should not wait, for what others can do.Climate change even at today’s level of close to 1 degree already requires adaptation. The region is doing much to prepare for a 2-degree world while avoiding a 4-degree one.Chile plans to drive a renewable energy boom, with a law to generate 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.Mexico – which could see its GDP decrease between 3.5 to 4 percent due to climate impacts – has set the target of reaching 35 per cent of renewable energy use by 2024.Moreover, Latin America and the Caribbean has become a hotbed of innovation, focusing investment on green transportation systems, clean energy, as well as payments for environmental services and forest conservation programs, that combine advanced technology with the knowledge of local communities.Innovations such as climate-smart agricultural practices offer promise to Latin America and the Caribbean to manage the climate risks to agricultural productivity, ensure food security, and advance the region’s potential as a global ‘bread-basket’.On the governance agenda, Latin America is leading in legislation to prevent or mitigate the effects of atmospheric change. We find examples in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. Brazil has also shown leadership by enacting one of the world’s most effective conservation regimes in the Amazon, greatly containing deforestation.In summary, many countries in the region have shown that they are willing to take action today. The fact that the COP negotiations are taking place in Lima shows not only the leadership Peru has taken, but also that the entire region seeks to find, incubate, pilot, and apply solutions to climate change that are globally replicable. Latin American and Caribbean countries are not alone in advancing the agenda. My third key message is that there are partnership structures in place to support countries’ action agendas.Multilateral development banks like the IDB and the WBG, national development banks, and international funds like the Global Environmental Facility, and the Adaptation Fund have been crucial partners in providing financial and technical support for country-led action. An example would be an innovative weather insurance mechanism for Uruguay that we presented to our Board this morning. This new hedging instrument protects the country’s energy sector against climate and oil price vulnerabilities.The Climate Investment Fund, a joint fund by the World Bank Group and other multilateral development banks for country-led investments in clean technology, renewable energy, and climate resilience, co-finances investments in 13 countries of the region.The Green Climate Fund, once operational, is envisaged as a mechanism for scaled-up financial support to enable countries meet the additional costs that climate change places on economic growth.The region has made incredible advances on the socio-economic front in the last decade. It has achieved steady and dramatic declines in poverty, cutting extreme poverty by half since 2003.Since 2011 and for the first time in recorded history, there are more people in the middle class than in poverty in Latin America.The rise of the Latin American middle class represents a historic achievement for a region long associated with wealth inequality, especially at a time when other regions have become more unequal.All these gains, however, may be jeopardized by the hazardous effects of climate change. Climate change is not only an environmental challenge, it is a fundamental threat to Latin America’s development that risks undoing the hard won achievements of the recent decades.To quote World Bank Group President Jim Kim: “We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change.”To conclude I would like to reiterate that there are options at our disposal to avoid the most disastrous impacts of climate change. We also know that the window for action is rapidly closing.Emission reductions are urgent, especially in the world’s largest economies and the recent agreement between the US and China is a first promising step in this direction.The report launched today is a reminder for everyone that the benefits of strong, timely action on climate change, to promote clean, low-carbon pathways and avoid locking in unsustainable growth strategies, far outweigh the costs.Seeing the track record of Latin American and Caribbean countries, I am confident we can scale up successes achieved to date to guarantee a climate-resilient region for future generations.I am also confident that the region will continue to set a high bar for international action to minimize future climate risks and maximize future climate resilience.Thank you. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, December 2, 2014 – As the planet warms further, heat-waves and other weather extremes that today occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, would become the “new climate normal,” creating a... Show More + world of increased risks and instability. The consequences for development in Latin America and the Caribbean would be severe as crop yields decline, water resources shift, sea-levels rise, and the livelihoods of millions of people are put at risk, according to the World Bank Group report Turn Down the Heat III: Confronting the New Climate Normal. The Latin American and the Caribbean Chapter of the global report was launched today in Washington, coinciding with the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Lima, Peru. The regional report is an analysis of the impacts of present day (0.8°C), and likely future 2°C and 4°C warming above pre-industrial levels on agricultural production, water resources, ecosystem services, and coastal vulnerability across Latin-America and the Caribbean. It builds on a 2012 Bank global report, which concluded the world would warm by 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take concerted action immediately. Climate change impacts such as extreme heat events may now be unavoidable because the Earth’s atmospheric system is locked into warming close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century, the report says. Even very ambitious mitigation action taken today will not change this. “The report confirms what scientists have been saying – past emissions have set an unavoidable course to warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “We’re already seeing record-breaking temperatures occurring more frequently, rainfall increasing in intensity in some places, and drought-prone regions becoming drier.” “These changes make it more difficult to reduce poverty and put in jeopardy the livelihoods of millions of people,” Kim said. “They also have serious consequences for development budgets, and for institutions like the World Bank Group, where our investments, support and advice must now also build resilience and help affected populations adapt.” In Latin America and the Caribbean, heat extremes and changing precipitation patterns will have adverse effects on agricultural productivity, hydrological regimes and biodiversity. In Brazil, without additional adaptation, crop yields could decrease by up to 70 percent for soybean and up to 50 percent for wheat at 2°C warming by 2050. Ocean acidification, sea level rise, tropical cyclones and temperature changes will impact coastal livelihoods, tourism, health, food and water security, particularly in the Caribbean. Melting glaciers would be a hazard for Andean cities. The economic effects, not to mention the human suffering, could be severe. By 2050, under a 4-degree scenario, coastal flooding could cause losses of about $22 billion in storm and infrastructure damages and tourism losses in the region.“This report makes it clear in a scientifically rigorous way why tackling climate change is so important for Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Jorge Familiar, Vice President of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, speaking at the launch in the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. “It helps us understand the challenges to the region and its development. Being aware of these challenges is a necessary first step to prepare and implement policy responses to avoid the most severe impacts from a changing climate.”The report, prepared for the World Bank Group by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, reveals how rising global temperatures are increasingly threatening the health and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations, crucially magnifying problems the region is struggling with today. Even below 2°C warming, most countries in LAC will need to implement significant adaptation interventions to achieve the goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. “However, governments in the region are at the forefront when it comes to investing in adaptation to climate change and also setting policies that try to mitigate it, such as encouraging renewable energy use, which helps to reduce carbon emissions and to keep the world from reaching the 2-degree warmer threshold,” said Jorge Familiar. “Innovations such as climate-smart agriculture help Latin America and the Caribbean to manage the climate risks and ensure food security, advancing the region’s potential as a global ‘bread-basket’.” Contacts:In Washington: Mauro Azeredo, (202) 458-0359, email@example.com; For more information, please visit: www.worldbank.org/climate Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbankBe updated via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/worldbankFor our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/worldbank News Release2014/XXX/GCC 4 degrees Celsius = 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit Show Less -