Haiti aid efforts should focus on stability, development

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A roadmap for rebuilding earthquake-ravaged Haiti has been endorsed by major donor countries, and regional and multilateral partners. That's good news.

However, the agreement reached in Montreal, Canada on Monday only marks the very first step for Haiti's reconstruction, which will be a tremendous, time-consuming task.

It's also evident that international aid efforts need to focus on Haiti's stability and development.

Without stability, relief plans will be very hard to be implemented and the rebuilding process will be just a "pie in the sky."

With the current absence of law and frequent armed robberies in many parts of the poor Caribbean island nation, maintaining basic social stability in post-quake Haiti poses a grave challenge to relief efforts.

Looking at Haiti's history, which has been filled with constant internal conflicts, and its long-term development, many will agree that stability will be the foundation for the island's rebuilding.

It's for the same reason that the UN Security Council recently adopted a resolution, pushed by China, the council's rotating chairman, and other sides, to send 3,500 more peacekeepers to Haiti.

It is a timely decision that will help stabilize the security situation there and enhance relief and rebuilding efforts.

Chinese peacekeepers' blood-and-life contributions to Haiti vividly speak to the fact that many countries, including China, care about the security and stability of the Caribbean nation and have taken concrete actions.

The first decade of this century has seen a lot of natural disasters in various countries, and how to respond to those disasters challenges all countries and the international community as a whole.

The issue of disaster-response capability is in fact a development issue.

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, a stream of international aid workers and supplies has been pouring into Haiti. That demonstrates the further development of globalization as well as the mutual support between members of the international community in time of disaster.

It should also be viewed as the result of the common progress and development in material and spiritual aspects of human civilization.

Meanwhile, Haiti's disaster shows that a nation's self-aid and self relief capabilities right after an earthquake will be crucial. Equally important is the ability to maintain social order after an earthquake.

Having such capabilities in a time of emergency requires the accumulation of social and economic development over many years.

For Haiti, a poor nation located on a huge ring of volcanic and seismic activity, international aid efforts first need to focus on helping locals to rebuild their homeland and strengthening the country's disaster management capabilities.

Secondly, from a long-term perspective, the international community also needs to help Haiti, one of the poorest nations on earth, to walk down a path of right development.

Without those steps, it will be difficult for the current international rebuilding investments and aid efforts to yield long-term benefits.

From a broader perspective, the international rebuilding efforts for Haiti will test the developed nations' commitments in fulfilling the UN Millennium Development Goals for developing nations.

It will also prove whether the developed nations are just paying lip services in helping the developing nations and whether international humanitarian and human rights ideals can be truly fulfilled.

Peace and development are the two major issues for all mankind. The tragic earthquake in Haiti adds a sense of urgency to meet the two challenges.

After all, rebuilding Haiti requires the international community to solve the most essential issues -- stability and development.

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