H.E. Denis Regis
 H.E.-Denis-Regis

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Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Haiti to the UN

H.E. Denis Regis was the Coordinator of the Haitian Coalition for the International Criminal Court prior to his appointment as the Permanent Representative of Haiti to the United Nations. Mr. Regis served in turn as Director of Consular Affairs, Director of Cultural Affairs and Director of Political Affairs. In the External Service, he was Minister Counsellor at Haiti’s embassies in the United States and Canada.

In his parallel career as a professor and researcher at the State University of Haiti, Mr. Regis taught public international law, private international law, as well as international criminal law, diplomatic and consular law. He was the Dean of the National Institute of Management and International Studies, an autonomous entity of the university.

Mr. Regis is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Maryland, United States, and the Toussaint Louverture Center for Human Rights in Haiti. He was the Founding President of the Center for Diplomatic and International Studies, a private institution of higher learning that he headed until recently.

 Event Title Date
 Haiti Today, the World Tomorrow: GeoDesigning Haiti to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals  11/12/2014

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Speech:

At the outset, I would like to than you and your organization most sincerely for inviting me to be your keynote speaker at this conference this evening. The topic under discussion today, “GeoDesigning Haiti to achieve the sustainable development goals”, is indeed timely and I hope to make a modest but useful contribution.

Mr. Director,

As you are certainly aware, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set to get us “half way” to the goal of ending hunger and poverty, with similar proportional goals in other fields. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are designed to finish the job – to get a statistical “zero” on hunger, poverty, preventable child deaths and other targets and to enhance the ability of countries to address social challenges largely through improving their own revenue generating capabilities. These goals should address and incorporate in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Critical to their success will be learning lessons from the MDGs and addressing the challenges of implementation.

In Haiti, significant progress has been made to achieve most of the eight MDGs, having reached – or almost reached – several development targets. The country has steadily boosted net enrollment rate in primary education from 47 percent on 1993 to nearly 90 percent in 2013, achieving equal participation of boys and girls in education (MDG 2). Since taking office in May 2011, President Michel Martelly has increased his efforts to facilitate enrollment of close to a million children who have been deprived from receiving the benefits of a free education.

Haiti has also halved the number of underweight children under five years old (MDG 1) three years ahead of the 2015 deadline. The Government of Haiti has been paying increased attention to extreme poverty and implementing several cash transfer programs targeting the poorest. Through these programs, for example, students can receive direct subsidies and poor mothers whole children attend schools are supported. The appointment of a Minister in charge of the fight against extreme poverty and human rights, and the establishment of a National Social Assistance Program, commonly called “EDE PEP” are encouraging signs that indicate the willingness of leaders to improve the situation of vulnerable groups, visibly affected by extreme poverty and social exclusion.

Haiti has also made notable progress in health indicators, with infant mortality (MDG 4) decreasing 44 percent since 1990, faster than the global average, Additionally, the number of pregnant women participating in at least one antenatal visit rose from 68 percent in 1990 to 90 percent in 2010 which contributed significantly to the reduction of maternal mortality (MDG 5). The policies put in place for the geographical expansion and the increased resources for reproductive health, have clearly substantially improved both maternal and child health care.

Moreover, more than 65 percent of households currently have improved access to water, compared to only 36.5 percent in 1995. Cholera rates are declining and the battle is slowly being won. The Government of Haiti together with the United Nations will continue to intensify its efforts to ensure access to safe drinking water and adequate to the population in order to sustainably eradicate cholera.

HIV/AIDS prevalence has stabilized between Haitians aged 15-24 years, from one percent in 2006 to 0.9 percent in 2013. Additionally, 46 percent of women know that HIV can be transmitted through breastfeeding. The positive results obtained for several years in the fight against other infectious diseases were also maintained.

With regard to gender equality, women occupy more than 20 percent of government positions on Haiti, but only 4.3 percent of seats in parliament.

Mr. Director,
While the growth rate and newly released statistics on poverty are encouraging in Haiti, time is needed before growth can be significantly reflected in the standards of loving of the population. Nevertheless, a momentum is under way in Haiti that needs to be supported in an appropriate manner.

Through an ambitious and clear program summarized in French by the 5E (Education, Employment, Environment, Energy and Rule of Law), the Government of Haiti has defined its priorities in agreement with the MDGs and this holistic planning should be strengthened with the SDGs. The outlines of a strategic readjustment include, among others, projects in the following areas:

• Education: Extension of equal and universal access to secondary education;
• Infrastructure: Completion of a road network across the country; development of the sanitation and drinking water systems; construction and renovation of facilities external transport (ports, airports); greater coverage of energy needs prioritizing renewable resources;
• Sustainable Agriculture and food security mostly through the critical increase of the very low agricultural productivity an measures in favor of family farming;
• Protection of the environment, with a goal of increasing the forest coverage, from 2% currently to 4% in the medium term;
• Establishment of a basin of decent and diversified jobs through sustainable investment in labor intensive sectors, those for which Haiti has a demonstrated comparative advantages such as tourism, crafts or subcontracting, and those with significant business opportunities such as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and mining;
• Decentralization and territorial planning focused on multiple poles of regional development, surely an interesting path to explore in the context of “GeoDesigning Haiti”.

To conclude, Mr. Director, I would like to emphasize that this ambitious post-2015 development agenda will not be achieved without the support of our international partners, particularly the agencies and programs of the United Nations system. We are grateful for their historical cooperation. The country`s current mantra: “Haiti is Open for Business” clearly indicates that the Haitian Government is committed to economic reform with a view to making the country an investors` destination. We are standing ready to welcome the vital and increased participation of the local and international private sector, including the Haitian Diaspora.

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