Recently the Brookings Institution hosted a panel that examined Haiti’s political and humanitarian developments since the January 2010 earthquake. A theme that came up regularly was that of competing priorities such as turbulent elections, a cholera outbreak, a lack of dependable energy supply, and gender-based violence.

As the Worldwatch Institute prepares to develop a Low-Carbon Energy Roadmap for Haiti, some have questioned whether limited donor resources should be channeled into something more pressing than assessing and improving the country’s energy infrastructure. Is an energy roadmap really needed right now, or are other matters more important?

Departments of Haiti

Haiti: Many sections, many challenges.

The cholera outbreak in Haiti is an urgent matter that deserves all the attention it is currently receiving. However, we must keep in mind that a lack of proper sanitation – due to a lack of electricity – helped cause the recent outbreak. Had the country’s energy infrastructure been more robust and sustainable, basic sanitation and electricity in hospitals might not have been lost and the current epidemic might have been avoided.

To be clear, Worldwatch is not suggesting that the Low-Carbon Energy Roadmap project we are undertaking is more important than addressing the cholera outbreak. But we believe that keeping an eye focused on the long term – while simultaneously addressing immediate concerns – can start a process that will help prevent such outbreaks in the future.

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developing countries, energy efficiency, energy security, Haiti, low-carbon, Low-Carbon Development, Low-Carbon Energy Roadmap, renewable energy, Small-Island Developing States (SIDS)