The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently announced the approval of two grants for Haiti totaling US $90 million. One grant is devoted to the development of an industrial park between Ounaminthe and Cap Haitian while the other is devoted to modernizing Haiti's energy sector. This is worth noting as investment outside of Port au Prince is unfortunately still rare. The IDP's support for the energy sector will allow for upgrading the Peligre Hydroelectric Dam and promotion of solar energy projects.
Any discussion on transitioning from emergency relief to development in Haiti must take into account environmental issues. Environmental degradation is a major factor behind decreasing agricultural productivity, hunger and malnutrition, urbanization, and vulnerability to natural disasters. Since the earthquake, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has been working with the Haitian government to build its capacity to address environmental challenges such as marine management, clean energy promotion, and trans-boundary reforestation. A brief summary of UNEP's activities in Haiti follows below.
The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has announced that it will significantly expand investment in renewable energy throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB intends to spend one billion in Haiti to help develop a new energy infrastructure powered by wind, solar, and hydroelectricity. The current fuel shortage in Haiti underscored the importance of renewable, domestic energy for the country's long term development. Click here for a video clip of IDB President Moreno explaining the new initiative. A fact sheet is also attached. I'll include more information as I find it.
Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald wrote a very interesting piece on the UNDP facilitated program in Carrefour Feuilles that turns trash into an alternative, affordable fuel source in the form of briquettes. This initiative, featured in the BBC 2009 World Challenge, cleans up Port au Prince while creating jobs, including for former charcoal vendors. Simply put, there is no solution for rural deforestation without addressing Port au Prince's energy needs. Until that time, cargo truck after cargo truck of wood charcoal will travel to Haiti's largest city every day. This program is ripe for expansion, and eventually, replication. Click here for the article and videos.
Earthspark International, formerly InterIntel, is developing a Jatropha economy in Coteaux, Haiti. Known colloquially as Mestiyen, Jatropha has several unique qualities. It grows where other plants will not, can be used as a “living fence” because it is inedible, benefits crop growth by retaining water and providing shelter from winds, and yields large quantities of plant oil. Can Jatropha be profitable for small farmers in Haiti? Earthspark intends to prove that it can.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization's International Centre for Science and High Technology (UNIDO/ICS) reports it is preparing an initiaitve to promote next generation biofuels and biofuel refinery in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. As part of this initiative, UNIDO seeks 35 partners in 25 countries. More details are below. Please pass this on to any potential candidates operating in Haiti.
The Decheteries De Carrefour Feuilles factory, founded by CASCAF, was selected among 12 finalists in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Challenge 09 Competition. This project has created jobs, cleaned up neighborhoods, and made available a reasonably priced alternative to the wood charcoal that has left Haiti's hills and mountains largest deforested. If you also feel that this program deserves to be expanded and replicated, vote for it at the BBC World Challenge website. Bon Chans!
InterIntel, an organization devoted to the diffusion of alternative energy technology in Haiti, recently released its first quarterly report, copied below. InterIntel has developed a number of interesting, new partnerships with the private sector and other non profit organizations operating in Haiti. If you would like to learn more after reading the update, take a look at the InterIntel website/blog, which covers a number of issues related to alternative energy in low resource settings.
Copied below is an article published last year in Biodiesel Magazine. It may be worth revisiting given several interesting videos that Haiti Xchange noticed on the Haiti Biodiesel Industry website. The first video concerns a group in Port au Prince that is converting used cooking oil into biofuel. One of the members is using it in Haiti's first biofuel powered truck. Another demonstrates a fully functional bio-stove. Finally, there is a video of a biofuel powered generator. Readers can discuss biofuels in the Haiti Biodiesel Forum. Dialogue is needed given the many unanswered questions concerning the potential of biofuels in Haiti. What is the position of the goverment? How best to coordinate among the grassroots organizations, government ministries, and private sector? What do pilot projects require to be brought to scale? Perhaps the June Jatropha conference that CHIBAS is hosting can shed light on these issues.
CHIBAS is a non profit organization dedicated to developing the bio-fuel sector in Haiti. From June 24-25, CHIBAS will host Haiti's first Jatropha Stakeholders Conference in Port au Prince. This confrence will bring together NGOs, the private sector, and the government to help build partnerships needed to make jatropha a viable biofuel for Haiti. An invite to the event is attached. If you need further information, you can reach founder Gael Pressoir at firstname.lastname@example.org