The environment of Haiti is faced with huge problem. The total forest cover was approximately 2% in a country where 75% of energy demands were satisfied by wood fuel, and a lack of trees had in turn caused significant soil erosion.
On the 24th and 25th of November, Worldwatch Institute, an international team of researchers based in Washington DC, exhibited their project to bring renewable energy to Haiti, especially the rural areas that have, for too long in our modern world, remained largely in the dark. They made this presentation at a Rural Energy of Haiti Forum, held in Petion-Ville at the Royal Oasis Hotel. There for the presentation on the study known as "Haiti Sustainable Energy Roadmap," was the Minister of Public Works, Jacques Rousseau. The minister and the other attendees listened to the presentation made by the Director of Climate and Energy at the Institute, Alexander Ochs.
Much emphasis is placed upon the canopy cover of Haiti which covers only 4% of the island and many reforestation projects have been implemented to address this issue, but just as serious a problem in the deforestation of Haiti is the depletion of the coastal mangrove forests.
Mangroves are a naturally-occurring ecosystem crucial in maintaining a free flow of nutrients for the habitat of the large marine biodiversity, breeding and living in coastal waters. The mangrove is a thriving ecosystem. But climate change, causing a rise in sea levels, and the wide-spread cutting of mangroves are contributing to their gradual disappearance. Approximately 1% to 2% of mangroves are lost each year.
Following pressure from the unions with a threat of major public strike, the government of Martelly has decided to decrease fuel price.
Following negotiations with several union groups, the Ministry of Economy and Finances has made the following revision in the price of petroleum:
- Gasoline 95 went down in price by 7.5%, from 215 to 210 gourdes (-15 gourdes)
- Diesel fuel down 9.27%, from 177 to 167 gourdes (-15 gourdes)
The countries of the Caribbean should, in theory, be at the forefront of the renewable energy movement what with the abundance of sun, wind and water available for their harnessing. Yet, the region is plagued with having some of the highest electricity bills, sometimes as high as four times that of richer countries. It is agreed that this dependency on fossil fuels needs to change for the Caribbean to realize its economic potential, and in the last week of January 2015, a meeting of the region's leaders at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit, along with United States representation from Vice-President Joe Biden, was held in Washington D.C. with the purpose of facilitating talks about the development of renewable energy sources in the Caribbean.
Haiti continues to receive help from international entities seeking to bring the country out of the dark through advancements in the field of clean energy. The latest to join the objective is China, which has pledged to the Caribbean country 240 million to finance the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The dam, which will be situated on the Artibonite river, is expected to supplement the aged infrastructure that currently runs, quite inefficiently, the power needs of the country.
The agreement between the two countries was signed on February 9 between Prime Minister Evans Paul and the Chinese firm Sinohydro. The memorandum of understanding details the building of the 4C dam that will give an extra 32MWs to the country's current 270MWs. This increase should give electricity to approximately 200,000 homes, affecting millions. This is the same dam that the country has being trying to build for the past nearly 40 years with little success. It's completion now, according to the Prime Minister, will be a great economic boon to the country.
You might think that the decision of the Haitian government to increase the prices for distributors and consumers of petroleum products today is the end of the story. Not at all. Beginning 2015, these prices will go even higher. Gasoline price is expected to increase to 228 gourdes by January and 243 gourdes by September 2015.
Reducing or eliminating fuel subsidies is a politically sensitive issue in Haiti, a country where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line
These increases will immediately be felt, affecting products of basic necessity such as food, transportation just to name a few. However, economists agree that phasing out the subsidies in Haiti is necessary if the government wants to continue with much needed infrastructure projects and other social programs.
The public is advised that effective Friday, October 10, 2014, there will be a significant increase in the price of petroleum products in Haiti. In a joint statement issued by Marie Carmelle Jean Marie, Minister of Economy and Finance and Wilson Laleau, Minister of Commerce and Industry, they want to inform the public that effective today, the prices for distributors and consumers of petroleum products will be set as follows:
Gazoline 95 : 215 Gourdes (+ 15 Gdes : 7.5%)
Gasoil : 177 Gourdes (+15 Gdes : 9.27%)
Kerosene : 171 Gourdes (+ 10 Gdes : 6.3%)
There have been concerns about the degradation of environmental resources in Haiti in recent years. In this respect, the President of Haiti, Michel Martelly, launched the campaign of aerial seeding in the south at the diplomatic lounge of the Toussaint Le'Overture International Airport. He was accompanied by Ache Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),Jean Francois Thomas, the Minister of Environment,Representatives of UNESCO, Canada, Norway, and Inter-American Development Bank and Ms. Sandra Honour, Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, and the Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to studies of experts in reforestation from Haiti and Cuba, aerial seeding is the only method that will stop the degradation of the environment in the mountainous areas which are inaccessible.
After the end of second level talk between Haiti and Dominican Republic in Jimani, the capital and the second largest city of the Independencia Province in the Dominican Republic, the two neighboring nations have agreed to protect the surrounding environment of Hispaniola Island which they jointly occupy. Though they share an island, they have remained worlds apart so far. This has played a direct role in adverse climate changes and its consequences in the area. The environment ministers from the two countries have agreed upon the urgent need to save the island's natural resources and environment. They will work under joint programs to manage cross-border natural resources and improve undivided watersheds. The two countries will deploy funds, manpower and work with the local communities in a collaborative way. Some international organizations will be engaged to find solution for environmental deterioration.
Cote Sud Initiative to Bring Electricity Service to Southern Region. Haiti's first electric cooperative, Electric Cooperative Borough Coteaux (ECBC) is being administered by the UN Coalition, the Cote Sud Initiative, for the district of Cote, which includes the communes of Roche-a-Bateau, Coteaux, and Port-a-Piment. The ECBC convened its first meeting to elect its Board of Directors (BOD).
The BOD is charged with handling a power grid that consumes 125-135 kilowatts of solar power and 200 kilowatts of generator-produced diesel. The power load will provide electricity to 580 members of the electric cooperative and service approximately 1,600 homes. It also has a mandate to construct and renovate low and medium voltage lines in rural areas.
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