Pilot Project to Address Environmental Degradation in Haiti

Pilot Project to Address Environmental Degradation in Haiti

Latin America and the Caribbean
Disaster Risk Reduction

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world with a Gross Domestic Product per capita of $868 (USD) and also the third most affected country by disasters and climate change. It is sadly remembered by its devastating 2010 earthquake that took around 250,000 lives. In 2020, the risk remains the same in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. According to the World Bank, 78 per cent of built-up land is exposed to high seismic risk and the city continues to grow intensively in high-risk areas. The urbanization rate in the country rose from 29 per cent in 1990 to 57 per cent in 2014 and it is projected to reach 76 per cent by 2050, which represents one of the fastest urbanization rates in the world. The level of waste pollution is also worsening.

These circumstances compound a strong exposure and vulnerability to disasters, and represent important push factors for migration in Haiti. Addressing this situation requires great efforts to reduce risks and prevent the high losses and displacement rates that have been reported in previous events.

This project aims to contribute to addressing the environment degradation as a push factor for migration, by improving access to sustainable and safe housing solutions through the development of an innovative and sustainable construction material and plastic waste management in Haiti.

The project will include a six-months research study to gather strategic information on the current management of plastic waste in Haiti and the construction market. The study will include an economic, technical, gender-sensitive and socio-cultural analysis prior to implementation, in order to identify potential challenges, and suggest solutions to overcome them. Secondly, the plastic-recycled construction material will be developed to reduce the risk of disaster and address consequent displacement and migration push factors. IOM key partners for this initiative are the National Laboratory of Public Works for the technical assistance and approval of the newly-created construction material; and Plastic Bank Haiti, which is the local branch of a Canadian social enterprise in charge of collecting plastic waste in Haiti.

By analyzing the impact and challenges of this initiative through an holistic study and materializing the results in a pilot project, IOM aims to identify and promote an alternative and sustainable solution to increase the quality of construction in Haiti and build population resilience against climate change through an easy house model that can be adopted and scaled up. This will ultimately contribute to reduce the vulnerability of communities in Haiti to environmental degradation, housing related challenges, natural disasters, and displacement.