Image: UN Hosts International Aid Conference On Haiti
Mario Tama  /  Getty Images
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval and former U.S. President and U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton attend the opening session of the Haiti conference on Wednesday.
updated 3/31/2010 7:03:49 PM ET 2010-03-31T23:03:49

Countries and international organizations pledged nearly $10 billion on Wednesday to rebuild Haiti after January's earthquake, going far beyond the government's expectations and providing new hope to the impoverished nation.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that nearly 50 donors pledged $9.9 billion "for the next three years and beyond," demonstrating that the international community had come together "dramatically and in solidarity with the Haitian people" to help them recover from the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Haiti had appealed for $3.8 billion for the next two years. The U.N. chief said the $9.9 billion includes pledges of $5.3 billion from governments and international partners for the first 24 months of reconstruction.

"We have made a good start," Ban told a news conference at the end of the daylong donors conference. "We need now to deliver."

‘An impressive sum’
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who co-chaired the conference, called the pledges "an impressive sum by any standard."

"To put this effort in perspective, after the 2005 (Indian Ocean) tsunami, more than 80 countries provided immediate humanitarian assistance and more than 20 countries pledged assistance for reconstruction," she said. "As of today, more than 140 countries have provided humanitarian assistance to Haiti and nearly 50 countries have made pledges of support for Haiti's rebuilding."

Haiti's President Rene Preval thanked donors, saying "this is a heartfelt effort that demonstrates that Haiti is not on its own."

The earthquake destroyed the government and commercial center of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, killed between 217,000 and 300,000 people, and left an estimated 1.3 million people homeless.

In the first minutes of the conference, the United States and the European Union pledged more than two-thirds of the $5.3 billion Haiti requested.

Clinton announced the United States' pledge of $1.15 billion over the next two years. Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign affairs chief, then announced the EU's pledge of 1.235 billion euros, equivalent to over $1.6 billion.

It was not immediately clear if all pledges were new money, as some delegates appeared to be describing existing aid projects.

‘Let us dream of a new Haiti’
Preval had asked donors to focus on education and help the country's 9 million people provide for their own future.

"Let us dream of a new Haiti whose fate lies in a new project for a society without exclusion, which has overcome hunger, in which all have access to secure shelter ... (and their) health needs provided," he told diplomats and ministers from more than 130 countries.

The $3.8 billion is just the initial part of a $11.5 billion package Preval's administration wants to rebuild schools, hospitals, courthouses and neighborhoods destroyed in the magnitude-7 earthquake.

Video: Seeking aid Haiti's government has detailed its plans for the money in a 55-page rebuilding plan that lays out the interim reconstruction committee. It includes requests for $350 million in direct budget support to the government, which Edmond Mulet, the top resident U.N. envoy there, said is crucial for the country's progress.

"We need Haiti to succeed," Clinton said. "What happens there has repercussions far beyond its borders."

She said the donors conference was not only to pledge financial support but "to offer support in a smarter way."

‘A transparent recovery’
Haiti's leaders must guide "a transparent recovery," Clinton stressed, and the international community must change its past practice of working around the government and ensure that it is working with the government.

At the core of the quake-ravaged country's request for help is the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, or IHRC, which will be co-chaired by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

The commission's two-dozen members will be tasked with coordinating and paying out the aid money expected to flow in. It is a key step to allaying donor concerns over Haiti's history of official corruption and political unrest who want assurances that the money will go where it is intended.

Video: Red Cross' efforts The former U.S. president was tapped for the role earlier this week, Bellerive said. Clinton, who as U.N. special envoy to Haiti visited three times since the earthquake, will likely be spending much more time in the impoverished country in his new role.

In keeping with his work as U.N. special envoy, Bill Clinton pushed private investment at the conference.

Most notably he helped shepherd a $7.5 million project with the Coca-Cola Company to help mango producers supplying the "Haiti Hope Mango Lime-Aid" made by its Odwalla brand.

The board Clinton will help lead is a source of consternation among some Haitian lawmakers, who are now considering a legislative package submitted by Preval to approve the commission's authority. Opposition lawmakers are threatening to block the bill unless Preval's administration first publishes a report on how aid money was spent in the initial aftermath of the disaster.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Photos: Haiti struggles to recover

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  1. Children train at L'Athletique d'Haiti sports center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on July 3. The center is run by former Haitian athlete Robert Duval, who aims to give children and young people a structured environment that steers them away from crime. After the Jan. 12 earthquake, the center had hundreds of people camping on its training fields. The quake killed as many as 300,000 people and destroyed about 105,000 homes, 1,300 schools and 50 hospitals. About 1.5 million Haitians remain homeless. (Andres Martinez Casares / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A man walks amid rubble and damaged buildings in downtown Port-au-Prince on June 30. Haiti has made little progress in rebuilding in the five months since its earthquake, because of an absence of leadership, disagreements among donors and general disorganization, a recent U.S. Senate report says. (Alexandre Meneghini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. People scavenge for items of value in the garbage as a truck empties its contents in the Truitier garbage dump in Port-au-Prince on June 23. The poor look for metal and plastic objects to sell to recyclers for a few cents a pound. (Alexandre Meneghini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A woman tries to repair her tent at a refugee camp in Cite Soleil on June 23, a day after a storm hit. Cite Soleil is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-Au-Prince. (Andres Martinez Casares / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Two men are detained during a security operation at a refugee camp next to La Saline neighborhood in Port au Prince on June 18. Police joined U.N. officers to detain more than 20 people and seize several weapons. (Andres Martinez Casares / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A boy covers his head with a T-shirt as a storm hits the refugee camp of Tapis Verts in Cite Soleil, Port au Prince, June 8. (Andres Martinez Casares / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. People pray in front of the destroyed national palace during a Corpus Christi procession in Port-au-Prince on June 3. (Alexandre Meneghini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. People run from tear gas thrown by riot police during a protest May 25 against Haiti's President Rene Preval and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in front of the National Palace in Port-au-Prince. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Students take part in a Haitian Flag Day celebration in Arcahaie on May 18. Haitians celebrated the 207th anniversary of the creation of their flag. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A woman jumps along a wall to reach an outdoor slaughterhouse, top right, at La Saline market in Port-au-Prince on May 15. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Goats hang for sale at La Saline market on May 15. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. People are sprinkled with holy water during a catholic ritual honoring the Virgin of Fatima outside a church in Port-au-Prince on May 12. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Doctors look at an X-ray using sunlight coming through a door's window in an emergency room at the General Hospital of Port-au-Prince on May 7. Medical workers are treating patients in damaged hospitals and tent-camp clinics. Despite international pledges of some $5.3 billion over two years at the United Nations donors' conference for Haiti in March, by mid-June only a fraction had actually been delivered — just $40 million from Brazil. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Three-day-old premature baby Jessica Thelusma rests in a bed made out of a cardboard box in the emergency room of General Hospital in Port-au-Prince on May 8. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A Spanish army soldier jokes with a Haitian child before departing on the Spanish ship Castilla in Petit Goave beach, Haiti on May 3. Some 150 Spanish soldiers are leaving Haiti after finishing their humanitarian mission. (Esteban Felix / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A group of 250 Haitians, affected by the earthquake, arrive on 'humanitarian visas' to the port of Veracruz, Mexico, on April 25, aboard the Usumacinta ship. After a five day travel, the Haitians are hoping to meet their relatives who live in Mexico. (Saul Ramirez / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Children eat at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince on April 23. (Ramon Espinosa / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Sun breaks through the clouds over the destroyed National Palace at left and a tent camp for earthquake victims at right in Port-Au-Prince on April 17, four months after the quake. (Orlando Barria / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. The bodies of dead Haitian children are wrapped in the morgue of St. Damien Pediatric Hospital on April 14 in Port-au-Prince. The U.S. Congress approved a debt relief measure for Haiti in order to help the country recover from the January earthquake that took an estimated 230,000 lives. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. First Lady Michelle Obama dances with children during her visit to Port-au-Prince on April 13. Obama made an unannounced visit to disaster-stricken Haiti on Tuesday and said she was struck by the devastation inflicted by the Jan. 12 earthquake. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Earthquake survivors unload food donated by World Food Program from helicopters in Leogane on April 12. (Felix Evens  / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. An aerial view of camps set up by earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince on April 12. Haiti's government and foreign aid agencies started an operation on Saturday to move thousands of earthquake survivors to a safer refuge to avoid the risk of mudslides and flooding during the rainy season. (Felix Evens  / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. A woman argues with a Brazilian UN peacekeeper during food distribution at a camp in Port-au-Prince on April 12. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12 left more than a million people homeless. (Ramon Espinosa / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A Haitian woman, who lost her leg in the devastating earthquake, practices walking at Albert Schweizer hospital in Deschapelles, Haiti on April 10. (Andres Martinez Casares / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. People left homeless by the earthquake are processed to be evacuated from the Petionville golf club in a suburb of Port-au-Prince where they had set up a makeshift camp. The UN began moving 8,000 Haitians out of the camp to a new site. (Thony Belizaire / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. A man relocated from the Petionville Club camp, washes outside a tent near the Port-Au-Prince area of Corail Cesseisse on April 10. Residents of the Petionville Club camp are being relocated to a new camp at Corail Cesselesse due to risks of flooding and landslides. (Lee Celano / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Honor guards stand at attention on April 9 as the Haitian flag is hoisted at Presidential Palace that was destroyed in the earthaquake. (Thony Belizaire / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. A man lies down after being arrested while a police officer points a weapon during a gang operation in Port-au-Prince, on April 8. Haitian authorities are trying to take control of Port-au-Prince's slums from heavily armed gangs. (Ramon Espinosa / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Students stand in line during gym class in the courtyard of Ecole Frere Andre in the Champs des Mars area of Port-au-Prince on April 6. Some schools reopened in the wrecked Haitian capital, nearly three months after the earthquake. (Sophia Paris / United Nations via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Workers set up the Sacred Heart of Turgeau school in Unicef tents in Port-au-Prince on April 6. (Ramon Espinosa / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. School girls pray before class at the Sacred Heart of Turgeau school set up in Unicef tents in Port-au-Prince on April 6. (Ramon Espinosa / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Workers rebuild the destroyed College St. Jean l'Evangeliste in Port-au-Prince on April 5. (Thony Belizaire / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. A student and a teacher speak during a class at the Ecole Mixte Jericho School, in the Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince on April 5. (Jorge Saenz / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. People cross the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic at the border in Mal Pass, Haiti on April 1. (Jorge Saenz / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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