Support for climate change integration in Haiti’s national development

Haiti is considered one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, as a result of the significant environmental degradation caused by the over-exploitation of forest resources, soils, water, quarries and coastal waters. This degradation reduces the country’s ability to absorb the effects of extreme weather events and manifestations of climate change, which is expected to result in reduced water resources, increased soil erosion and the intensification of coastal erosion and coastal ecosystem degradation. In such conditions, adaptation requires actions aimed at reducing and reversing the trend to ecosystem and natural resource degradation.

Climate change mainstreaming in poverty reduction efforts requires a long-term, comprehensive vision to be implemented through improved planning and organisation of space and society – whereas the most vulnerable populations, in both urban and rural areas, are focused on the short-term satisfaction of essential needs to the detriment of natural resource sustainability. Experience has shown that efforts to improve environmental and climate governance need to be complemented with field activities aimed at satisfying the needs of communities, in particular with regard to livelihoods and disaster risk reduction.

Strengthening capacity to mainstream environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation

Overall objective:

Reduce Haiti’s vulnerability to climate change.

Specific objective:

Strengthen the government’s capacity to mainstream environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation into Haiti’s development policies, strategies, programmes and projects.

Main expected results and activities: 

Strengthened institutional mechanisms, capacities and means are available to Haiti’s government for environmental management and consideration of climate change in the planning and implementation of reconstruction, development and energy-related activities.

The capacities of Haitian stakeholders, in particular the Ministry of Environment, will be strengthened to enable them to implement, supervise and validate strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) and environmental impact assessments (EIAs) that integrate climate change adaptation considerations – in the context of the implementation of a few such assessments with project support. Support will also be given to the monitoring of the actual implementation of the environmental and adaptation measures recommended by SEAs/EIAs; the setting up of an enabling institutional and budgetary framework for the replication of successful experiences and the dissemination of practices and techniques that promote enhanced resilience to climate change and climate risks; and the development and implementation of an advocacy, communication and awareness raising strategy and plan.

Practices and techniques with a low environmental impact, enabling enhanced resilience of the population to climate risks and climate change, are tested and demonstrated in the field and evaluated with a view to their dissemination and adoption on a larger scale.

Innovative adaptation and vulnerability reduction actions, to be selected on the basis of a call for proposals, will be developed and implemented in three types of climate-vulnerable zones (urban, rural and coastal areas). Indicatively and subject to confirmation, they could bear on improvements in the resilience of housing to climate risks, the substitution of charcoal with other sources of energy, the sustainable management of woodfuels, the development of environment-friendly, climate-resilient farming practices, the protection and/or rehabilitation of important coastal ecosystems, resettlement in areas that are less vulnerable to sea level rise, etc. The experience from these projects will be consolidated with a view to sharing results and disseminating knowledge on the piloted practices and techniques.

Key achievements: 

For Result 1, achievements are as follows;

  • Strengthening the Direction of climate change through the recruitment of technical staff;
  • Support to the Ministry of the Environment in advocacy for climate change in Haiti's development, the preparation of the INDC, the representation of Haiti in COP21, COP22 and the ratification of the Paris agreement;
  • Strengthening of study and programming units in all ministries with a view to integrating climate change into planning;
  • Close collaboration with all partners in environmental and climate change sector especially UNDP, IDB, USAID and World Bank, in order to ensure the complementarities of the different programs building a global strategy for climate change integration by the Ministry of Environment;
  • Support to the establishment of the National Environmental Assessment office, strengthening technical frameworks and reviewing environmental assessment legislation;
  • Signature of two contracts for EIA and SEA integrating the aspects related to climate change. 

For Result 2:

  •  Signature of two grants for innovative projects in two watersheds vulnerable to climate change. 
Lessons learned: 
  • The objective of the programme, i.e. mainstreaming environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation into Haiti’s development policies, strategies, programmes and projects is mostly a matter of behavioural change from what was and still is mainly an adaptation perspective to climate change. This shift is a long-term process.
  • Despite awareness raising and training offered by the program, technical services of Haiti's institutions need time to assimilate the necessary knowledge in the field and integrate the fight against climate change into planning and policy development.
Way forward: 
  • Continue to develop best practices in the management and supervision of environmental assessments and climate change integration within the Ministry of Environment through its reinforced Climate Change Unit.
  • Strengthen inter-institutional relations regarding climate change integration.
  • Support the Haitian government to respect the commitment to the Paris agreement.
  • Follow-up implementation of innovative projects, EIA and SEA studies;
  • Strengthen other units of the Ministry of Environment like BNEE (Environmental assessment service), DEPREED (environment education service), and ONEV (National observatory) in order to mainstreaming climate change in their planning.

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