This report was prepared in response to a Congressional directive that, “after consultation with appropriate international development organizations and Haitian officials, organizations and communities, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations setting forth a plan for the reforestation of areas in Haiti that are vulnerable to erosion which pose significant danger to human health and safety.” This launched an iterative process that has encompassed analyses and consultations, and follow-up recommendations.
For this report, which contributes to furthering the response to this mandate, USAID contracted a multi-disciplinary team of experts to assess environmental vulnerability in Haiti. The assessment team has interpreted its scope broadly to include not only vulnerability to erosion but also an array of land-use practices and related concerns, such as better management of critical watersheds, improved rural livelihoods, sustainable forest management, and reduction in the vulnerability of the Haitian populace to natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes.
The team was composed of nine international and Haitian specialists with advanced degrees in cultural anthropology, natural resource management, agronomy, GIS analysis, public health, and biofuel technologies. Five team members are well known Haiti specialists with extensive field experience in research and program implementation. To carry out its study, the team consulted widely with the government, the private sector, major international donors, and grassroots organizations. In May 2006, the team carried out two weeks of fieldwork in Haiti. The team presented its preliminary findings for feedback and discussion at workshops in Haiti (July 2006) and Washington (August 2006). An earlier study, which reviewed Haiti’s public sector capacity for natural resource management and disaster preparedness, and current activities of other major environmental donors in Haiti, laid the ground for the present report.