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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

SUNY Hosts Haiti Funds Conference in Manhattan

The SUNY Office of Global Affairs hosted the third Annual Haiti Funders Conference – “Achieving Sustainability in Haiti” at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan on November 8th and 9th. Jointly funded by the Haiti Development Institute, FOKAL and SUNY, the purpose of the conference was to encourage increased integration among the many donors and NGOs who offer technical assistance to Haiti. The organizers envision this as a first step in leveraging technology and relationships to map the flow of private and philanthropic capital and identify areas for collaboration and coordination.

A major theme of the conference was the importance of collaborative planning and implementation. This was underlined in the keynote address of the Haitian Ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor, who spoke frankly and forcefully about the limited impact of development programs in his country. Despite enormous effort and excellent intentions, all the individual initiatives have yet to add up to a successful “development whole”. The Ambassador attributed this to what he referred to as the “missionary approach” adapted by agencies that come to the country with “problems already diagnosed and the medicine in hand… leaving no space for collaboration”. Both he and most of the other speakers at the conference stressed the importance of collaboration with local communities and active participation by Haitians in voicing specific needs in order to achieve successful and sustainable development.

More than 150 representatives of organizations – national and international - working across Haiti in virtually all fields of development participated. A dozen panels and discussions focused on programs to promote the sustainable development goals for food security; health; availability and management of energy and water; infrastructure; gender equality; equitable and inclusive governance; and economic growth that support local solutions and “echo the voices of the people we are working for”.

The SUNY Office of Global Affairs played a key role in the organization of the conference which was attended by a number of representatives of SUNY’s campuses including Rockefeller College’s Center for International Development, the University at Buffalo, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Nassau Community College, and the Community and Public Affairs Program at Binghamton University.

Posted December 3, 2016