The Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved today US$4.5 million in new funding for a climate resilience project that will provide 90,000 Haitians with access to safe drinking water.
Implemented by Haiti’s Ministry of Environment, the 60-month United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-supported project develops capacities, tools and infrastructure that will provide 86 communities with reliable access to drinking water throughout the year.
The project benefits from an additional US$30 million grant from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) and US$1.1 million of in-kind contributions from the Government of Haiti.
In protecting watersheds and the environment, the project promotes the adoption of improved water management and conversation practices across a 700-hectare area in the Southeast region of the small island developing state.
“Taken together with other initiatives, this project supports our vision to improve the living environment of poor people by increasing access to safe drinking water in a sustainable manner, improving health, well-being and livelihoods, protecting our environment and our citizens from the potentially deadly risks of climate change,” said Astrel Joseph, Director General of Haiti’s Ministry of Environment.
Haiti is part of the most beautiful island in the Caribbean but yet the most vulnerable to Climate Change combined with economic and social issues that includes problem of access to safe drinking water. The problem will only get more critical with higher temperatures, decreased precipitation, and a rise in extreme weather events.
The water issue affects the safety and health of Haitians and can be attributed in part to the Cholera outbreak that began in 2010 as well as reduced resilience to prevent the spread of other bacterial and viral diseases. Over 80 percent of Haitians have limited access to sanitation, while 18 percent have no access to sanitation services at all. Only 1 in 4 Haitians have access to basic water services, while 22 percent have no access at all.
“Safe and reliable water and sanitation services are essential in reducing the spread of diseases such as COVID-19 and cholera. By working in coordination with other national water and climate initiatives, this innovative project works to advance progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals and targets outlined in the Paris Agreement for low-carbon climate-resilient development,” said UNDP Resident Representative Bruno Lemarquis
Addressing the impacts of climate change
In Haiti, precipitation is expected to decrease by 5.9 to 20 percent by 2030. The people of Haiti are already feeling the impacts, with severe droughts in 2013 and 2016 putting millions of people at risk. Climate change-related wildfires, floods and landslides will also further impact water availability.
The ‘Strengthening the climatic resilience of the drinking water sector in the South of Haiti’ project will focus on improving understanding of the underlying vulnerabilities of the water sector, strengthening regulations and policies, and identifying and promoting improved conservation and management practices.
Project outputs will include the protection and reforestation of water sources and aquifer recharge zones, and establishment and expansion of cisterns, small storage reservoirs, wells and other measures to promote healthier integrated water resources management. Water capture systems will be installed on rooftops to capture rainwater, and filters will be used to allow for the recycling of grey water.