The HAWG Heads to Haiti: Firsthand Perspectives on Haiti’s Environmental Needs
We sat three abreast in the back of a jeep, speeding through mountainous roads toward the southern tip of Haiti. Sitting between by my Haiti Advocacy Working Group colleagues, I could hardly believe that we were finally here, investigating the crucial sustainability issues for which the HAWG has advocated over the past several years.
In January 2017, the HAWG organized a series of meetings for Haitian civil society and government leaders with U.S. and multilateral policymakers to discuss strengthening Haiti’s applications for climate finance and environmental assistance. Following this week of meetings, the Haitian Minister for the Environment invited members of the HAWG to travel to Haiti and view firsthand sites of environmental devastation and ecological sustainability on a five-day trip aimed at strengthening the HAWG’s environmental advocacy for Haiti.
During our time in Haiti, we visited a variety of sites ranging from the administrative offices of Parc Macaya (where we learned about the devastating impacts of Hurricane Matthew on this national park) to the Wynne Farm (a sustainable agriculture education center). We absorbed the criticality of advocating for value-chain food production, climate change finance, and for agricultural practices that emphasize ecological preservation. You can read the full list of advocacy recommendations from our delegation here: (https://haitiadvocacy.org/report-back-hawgs-trip-haiti-environmental-challenges-opportunities/ ).
As Chair of the HAWG’s Climate Change Committee and a Haiti advocate, I found this trip to be immensely useful. Our four days in Haiti yielded relevant perspectives from Haitian government officials and civil society leaders, raw data to inform our advocacy campaigns, and strengthened relationships between the HAWG and key environmental change-makers in Haiti. In forthcoming blog entries, you will hear from other HAWG delegation members about how this trip influenced their Haiti advocacy perspectives. We hope that you will stay tuned for these posts and join the conversation through submitting comments or sharing your perspectives here (https://haitiadvocacy.org/contact/ ).
Jayce Hafner is Domestic Policy Analyst in the Office of Government Relations of the Episcopal Church. She chairs the HAWG’s Climate Change Committee.