2010 Haiti Donors Conference and the Way Ahead

By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, April 1, 2010.

The 2010 Haiti Donors’ Conference concluded yesterday.  The last such conference was held almost a year ago under very different circumstances.  This was very much an international event with Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain actively engaged.  Over 130 nations, NGOs, and other organizations participated.  Fifty nine pledged 9 billion, of which 5 billion will be for 2010 and 2011 – provided that these pledges actually become contributions which is not always the case.  As Phillipe Matieu of Oxfam puts it, “…pledges need to turn into concrete progress on the ground.  This cannot be a VIP Pageant of half promises.”   Below is a summary of what we know about the way ahead as of April 1st.

 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the event by calling on participants to provide $11.5 billion over the next 10 years for the reconstruction of Haiti.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the U.S. pledge of $1.15 billion for Haiti's recovery and reconstruction.  The United States will not try to do everything but instead will focus on areas where it has a comparative advantage - health, agriculture, energy and security.  Other nations will focus on areas where they have more expertise such as Brazil and Canada with education. Participants acknowledged that without agriculture, there can be no decentralization.  Without disaster risk reduction, long term economic recovery will be tenuous at best.

 

Donors acknowledged that past strategies have failed.  All too often, when ill conceived development projects or initiatives thought up by people who only know the Haitian people from afar ultimately fail, the “beneficiaries” are called fatalistic, dependant, corrupt, or dysfunctional.  It is insulting.  All too often, the problem is us and our failure to listen, our failure to learn, and our failure to offer solidarity instead of charity.

 

Donors also acknowledged the balance between reconstructing Port au Prince and rebuilding the economy of the rest of Haiti where most Haitians live.  Donors noted the importance of addressing the humanitarian needs of the 1.3 million Haitians who still lack shelter.  So far, the humanitarian appeal had only been funded by 50 percent  Relief is needed so that a transition to development can become possible.

 

As Secretary Clinton said, “...aid is important but it never saved a country.  Our goal must be the empowerment of the Haitian people.  They are the ones who will carry on the work of rebuilding Haiti long after our involvement has ended.  Haiti does not only need medicines and surgeries, but it needs the doctors and nurses who can deliver the regular care and sustain a thriving health system.  Haiti not only needs new school buildings, but it needs teachers and administrators.  It needs the people of Haiti to be given the tools to be able to deliver on the promise of their own future. “  Over the long run, Haiti will need trade more than it needs aid.  Donors committed to use Haitian firms and workers whenever possible and to strengthen labor standards, and the Haitian government has committed to introduce reforms to make the investment climate more conducive to businesses, such as by establishing a clear land ownership policy and developing an up-to-date registry.

 

Clinton went on to emphasize the importance of innovation in developing the Haitian economy, stating Haiti could potentially be the first wireless country in the Caribbean or the first completely self-sufficient country in energy. John Holmes, the U.N. humanitarian chief, said investment would be the best sign of Haiti's recovery.  International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn predicted Haiti would see an average of 8 percent growth annually for the next five years – but only if the Haitian government is in the driver’s seat.

 

The Haitian government will be insistent from here on out that development projects be coordinated with its priorities. Participants want the Haitian government to take on this leadership role but there is also skepticism as to the extent to which it can do so in an accountability and transparent way.  For decades, donor nations have avoided direct aid to the government and its ministries.  Instead funds were provided to non governmental organizations and international organizations that substituted for the government ministries – doing what they should be doing if they had the will and the resources.  Donor nations intend to build up the collapsed Ministries, not just the buildings, but also the capacity of its staff to be efficient and accountable.  It will be a long a long and challenging process, but improving governance is key to reconstruction and one of the missing pieces of the development puzzle. 

 

An Interim Haiti Recovery Commission will guide construction over the next 18 months and lay the foundation for a Haiti Redevelopment Authority.  Bill Clinton accepted the Haitian government’s offer to co-chair.  He will play a major role in strategic planning and oversight.  Also of note, participants agreed to a robust internet-based tracking system to report on the delivery of their assistance and an emphasis on measuring performance and results.

 

The World Bank will play an important role in the reconstruction efforts.  It will manage a multi-donor trust fund, which will allow different countries to work jointly on projects.  The fund will provide as much as $479 million over the next 14 months.  Haiti's $39 million debt to the bank will also be canceled.  The funding will also include $151 million in grants, $100 million of which was announced in January, and $60 million for private-sector projects. An additional $229 million in grants to Haiti will come from money that was allocated for existing projects before the earthquake and has yet to be spent. The President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, proposed a division of labour among international agencies to avoid “tripping over one another.”  He recommended that all parties meet again in six months to assess progress made to date, or as he put it, provide an accountability report to the people of Haiti.  That accountability report should be in Haitian Kreyol as should all of Haiti’s laws, regulations, announcements, etc.

 

There is concern that the earthquake will jeapordize years of steady progress against HIV/AIDS.  The health system, including clinics where antiretroviral treatment was available, has collapsed.  Drug resistance, from beginning and ceasing treatment, is a real concern for patients being treated for HIV/AIDS and TB.  Pregnant mothers who are HIV positive require treatment in order to prevent their babies from contracting HIV.  Women and children in the camps require protection in order to reduce their vulnerability to sexual exploitation and gender based violence.  Without community empowerment and the presence of either UNPOL, MINUSTAH, Haitian National Police, or foreign military, women and children will only become more vulnerable as the rains fall - usually mid to end April, with rain falling hard every afternoon in May.

 

Women’s Groups were said to be largely absent from the conference.  More than 100 women’s groups attended an alternative conference hosted by MADRE, a New York-based organization The Haiti Gender Equality Collaborative, a coalition of civil society organizations, placed its own spin on the document, issuing a modified “gender shadow report” at the MADRE conference, hosted across the street from the United Nation Secretariat. It highlights the gender concerns absent from Haiti’s PDNA, and offers recommendations for gender-sensitive plans of action. The Haitian government is dominated by men, and this has been part of the problem.  Women have been holding the country together but are far under-represented in government – ranging from law enforcement to elected officials.  Haitian women leaders are sorely needed. Disenfranchisement of women is holding Haiti back. Some civil society groups also complained that the creation of the Haitian government action plans were not transparent and did not include enough ordinary people.

 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet as his Special Representative in Haiti, succeeding Hédi Annabi, who died in the earthquake.  Mulet said at a press conference last week that while the numbers are unknown, reports of sexual violence and rape are on the rise. The UN considers the matter “urgent,” he said, and plans on deploying an all-female Bangladesh Formed Police Unit (FPU) of military peacekeepers imminently.  It will be the second-ever all-female FPU the UN has deployed, and Mulet anticipated their presence in the often cramped, poorly-lit displaced camps would be extremely helpful.

 

Education did not fall of the radar as some feared it might.  In his remarks, President Preval stated no development was possible without education.  He appealed for the support of the Diaspora in rebuilding Haiti’s educational system.

 

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), of which the American and Haitian Red Cross societies are a part, pledged to extend the emergency phase of its work in Haiti for up to twelve months and committed more than $300 million towards Haiti's long-term recovery and reconstruction following the devastating earthquake of January., Collectively, more than 80 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have raised more than $700 million for earthquake relief, recovery and reconstruction since January 12.

 

What we don't know:  There was much talk about decentralization and also about foreign direct investment.  How can the government encourage companies to invest outside of Port au Prince in order to support decentralization?  Would companies really be interested in establishing operations in areas where roads are bad and electricity is minimal?  How can the perspectives and concerns of women be better incorporated into the reconstruction process?  Making better use of agriculture requires serious land reform - can we expect this before the end of Preval's term?  Can we expect movement on dual citizenship for the Haitian Diaspora? What is the government's stance on energy develoment, including alternative fuels such as jatropha, solar, etc.  Is the creation of a National Service Corps a priority for the Preval Administration?

 

Of course, you may have other questions and concerns.  Please feel free to post them below.  In the meantime, click here to view the documents that were discussed during the 2010 Haiti Donors Conference including the Action Plan, the Post Disaster Needs Assessment, MINUSTAH reports, updates on the economic and humanitarian situation, etc.  Ill continue to post updates as they become available.

 

Thanks for reading,

Bryan 

 

Haiti Can Return to Stability If Given Support (4/28/2010)

Security Council
6303rd Meeting (AM)
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As Special Representative Urges States to Honour Pledges, Speakers Stress Importance of Country Making Its Own Way Forward
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Given the enormous efforts undertaken by the international community since the tragic 12 January earthquake, Haiti could return to the path of stability in two years if it received assistance in weathering the critical risks of the next 18 months, the Secretary-General's Special Representative in the country told the Security Council today.
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"What Haiti needs now is a supporting arm of a companion, on which it can lean as it gets back on its feet," said Edmond Mulet, Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), during a briefing in which he was joined by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. "That is the role which we, the international community, can play," he added.
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The challenge for the United Nations was to help create an environment in which the great outpouring of international goodwill and generosity could be translated immediately into much-needed practical support, he continued. "With a little more of the support we are already providing, Haiti will be able to make its own way forward."
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Presenting the Secretary-General's latest report on the Mission (see Background), Mr. Mulet described the many ways in which the United Nations had responded to the tragedy, noting that MINUSTAH's military and police components, despite having suffered heavy losses, had ensured security across the country and provided logistical support for the distribution of aid to a million people in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Temporary lodging for the homeless and rubble clearance remained priorities as the rainy season approached, he said. The Mission had built camps and rehabilitated roads, while helping the Haitian National Police to get back on their feet and expanding community programmes for young people vulnerable to gang activity.
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He said the next 12 to 18 months would be a period of great challenge and risk, but if Haiti and its international partners could manage and mitigate those risks, the country could recover its position of 2009 -- relative stability and economic growth. "Then we could again start planning for the consolidation and drawdown of MINUSTAH," he said. The need to manage that critical period was why he and the Secretary-General were recommending a surge of effort in the areas of security, political assistance, humanitarian aid and capacity-building, as described in the report.
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Prime Minister Bellerive thanked Council members and others in the international community for their solidarity and encouraged Member States to deploy more engineers, given the major challenges of setting up camps and reconstruction. The deployment of additional formed police units, which was under discussion, would also be welcome, he said.
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Confirming that the coming 18 months would indeed present his Government with new risks while it recovered, he said the presence of MINUSTAH would remain necessary and the Mission would be even more helpful if it were augmented. In addition, consolidating the democratic process was necessary for the success of the reconstruction process and in order to attract investment. The Mission's support was also crucial for the free and fair elections that President René Préval was committed to holding before the end of his mandate. The solidarity of the international community in assisting Haiti in those areas gave the people hope that a brighter future was indeed possible, he added.
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Following those presentations, delegates praised MINUSTAH's work in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and generally expressed support for the Secretary-General's recommendations for the coming period. As the Council considered those recommendations, the representative of the United States said her country was prepared to support an increase in MINUSTAH's police capacity on the understanding that a police-to-task analysis show how the proposed increase in personnel was calculated. The United States would also appreciate more information on how long police reinforcements would be needed.
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Mexico's representative, noting that MINUSTAH had the capacity to deal with emergency humanitarian needs, said its mandate was balanced between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development elements. In that light, he welcomed the Secretary-General's recommendations, stressing, however, that any initiative begun in the next few months should provide the impetus for long-term development.
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Uruguay's representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said the Group shared the Secretary-General's assessment of the earthquake's impact on economic and political stabilization, pointing out, however, that the devastation provided opportunities for Haiti's transformation through decentralization, strengthened institutions and regional development.
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Also speaking today were the representatives of Brazil, France, China, Lebanon, Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gabon, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Austria, Turkey, Uganda, Japan, Dominican Republic, Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Spain and Norway.
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Others delivering statements were the Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of American States and the Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations. The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 1:16 p.m.

Rebuilding Haiti: Dreaming beyond the rubble (4/15/2010)

For the hundreds of thousands of Haitians still living in tents or in the streets following the earthquake that devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince, on January 12th, life remains a thing of quiet anxiety. When rain falls, as it has most evenings this month, it turns ground to mud, buckles tarpaulins and bed sheets, washes possessions down slopes and creates toxic cesspools. Even when dry, the camps are hazardous. Although police have started to patrol the largest camps at night, residents still fear theft and rape, especially in unlit areas. Police have also evicted tent-dwellers from some parcels of private property, in some cases by force. Many Haitians would prefer to be somewhere else, especially by the time the hurricane season starts in June—but where?
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The government has at last found a place for some of them. This month it designated a large patch of land at Corail Cesselesse, near the sea north of Port-au-Prince, where it plans to relocate up to 50,000 families. It is starting with those living in the areas most susceptible to floods and disease. Their transfer may take months. Last weekend the first buses took just over 100 people from the Pétionville Club, an undulating golf course that was once a haunt of rich Haitians and where 45,000 people are now camped out in squalor. Aid workers complain that the government did not give them enough time to prepare the site at Corail Cesselesse by, for example, laying gravel to prevent dust storms and flooding. “Future moves cannot be done in this last-minute fashion,” said Marcel Stoessel, who heads Oxfam in Haiti.
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Still, the designation of the site is a milestone in a painfully slow process of rebuilding a country shaken to its core. It is the first significant act by Haiti’s government, which was disabled and rendered homeless and all but invisible by the quake. In the immediate aftermath, aid workers grappled with chaos unusual even by the standards of severe natural disasters: there were supply bottlenecks at airports and warehouses, communication networks were down, and mountains of rubble blocked roads. Aid agencies sometimes seemed keener to hoist their own flags than to work together, prompting Sir John Holmes, the United Nations emergency relief co-ordinator, to castigate them for their lack of co-ordination.
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These problems—a weak government and a welter of aid agencies with clashing agendas—predate the earthquake in Haiti, which long had a reputation as a “Republic of NGOs”. By some (inexact) counts, there are more than 10,000 of them operating there—more per head than anywhere else in the Americas. Only about 550 are registered with the government. Because of worries about government corruption and incompetence, donors have long tended to channel their aid through NGOs, which in turn provide the bulk of social services, from hospitals and sanitation systems to orphanages and schools.
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Aid dependence means that the government lacks the means to pursue development policies. Take the Ministry of Agriculture. Its sources of funding are so many, dispersed, small, and fickle that Michel Chancy, the deputy minister, says he is unsure of its total budget. “The entire structure of foreign aid must be overhauled” if rebuilding is to help, rather than hinder, Haiti’s development, Mr Chancy said.
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One of the few bits of good news for Haiti is that the urgent need to strengthen the public administration was recognised at a donors conference held in New York on March 31st, at which almost 60 countries and institutions pledged $9.9 billion. The question is whether good intentions can be turned into good public policy.
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The government asked donors for $350m in direct budget support between now and October (and a total of $1.2 billion over the next 18 months). That is because it has lost most of its meagre revenues, 85% of which came from in or near the capital. It needs the money to pay wages and an electricity subsidy and to invest in farming. Bill Clinton, the former American president who is the UN’s special envoy for Haiti, has urged donors to spend 10% of their grants on improving government capacity, including budget support.
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The New York conference also approved the setting up of a single authority to co-ordinate aid. The Interim Haitian Reconstruction Commission—chaired jointly by Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti’s prime minister, and Mr Clinton—has the authority to seek, approve and co-ordinate projects. The government hopes it will also blunt donors’ worries that their money might be stolen rather than spent. The committee will include eight Haitian government officials, representatives from trade unions and business, ten donor nominees and a Caribbean Community representative. Groups with observer status include the Haitian diaspora in the United States. A trust fund administered by the World Bank will manage the money.
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This structure echoes a plan drawn up for the government in 2008 by Paul Collier, an economist at Oxford University. It represents the best chance that this time Haiti will not be permanently weakened by natural disaster, as so often in the past. Whether it will be approved by the Haitian people remains to be seen. René Préval, the president, has been barely visible since the quake, and is now unpopular. A presidential election was due to be held in November; according to Mr Clinton, this should still be possible. Haitians and their outside helpers must urgently find a way to balance short-term survival and longer-term development

Haiti: Towards and Beyond the Donors' Conference (3/8/2010)

United States Institute of Peace • www.usip.org • Tel. 202.457.1700 • Fax. 202.429.6063
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“The aftermath of the earthquake should be an opportunity to address imbalances that have put Haiti in deep poverty, dependence and underdevelopment.”
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April 8, 2010
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Haiti: Towards and Beyond the Donors’ Conference
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Summary
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Haiti’s January 12 earthquake left up to 300,000 people dead, an equal number injured, and more than a million displaced; overall damage and loss are valued at $7.9 billion, or about 120 percent of Haiti’s 2009 gross domestic product.
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• The immediate international response focused on rescue, the provision of humanitarian relief and security, and cleanup.
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• The March 31 Donors’ Conference in New York yielded both a Haitian-led recovery and development plan supported by international donors and a mechanism for coordinating donor allocated resources.
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• Donors pledged more than $5 billion over the next 18 months.
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• Activities initiated over the next 18 months must support longer-term strategies to revitalize all of Haiti, including long neglected rural areas.
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• Haiti’s decentralized recovery and development must address its debilitating inequality and poverty while strengthening the capacity of the government.
.
The Immediate Aftermath of the Earthquake
.
The earthquake of January 12, 2010 left up to 300,000 people dead, an equal number injured, and more than 1.3 million displaced. Overall damage and losses have been estimated at $7.9 billion, or 120 percent of Haiti’s 2009 gross domestic product. The international response was quick and decisive, reflecting a commitment to the moral and humanitarian imperative posed by the catastrophe.
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For the United States, the response also reflected Haiti’s strategic importance. U.S. troops were rapidly deployed to restore and manage airport operations and communications, to provide humanitarian relief and to ensure security. They also oversaw the evacuation of U.S. citizens and severely injured Haitians. At peak deployment, there were more than 20,000 U.S. military personnel either in Haiti or off its coast. That rapid deployment addressed a potential security gap caused by the severe losses suffered by the United Nations Stabilization Mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the Haitian government, including the Haitian National Police (HNP).
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Stories of perseverance and successful coping amidst tragedy paralleled Haiti’s great devastation and loss. Its already weak government was decimated further when nearly 17 percent of civil servants perished in the earthquake. The Presidential Palace, parliament building and all but one government ministry were destroyed. Survivors regained their bearing as the government slowly reasserted itself both in Haiti and internationally. The people of Haiti demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of unspeakable disaster. They worked together to clear rubble and rescue survivors; found solace in fellowship and prayer; built temporary communities from the rubble of old ones; fled quake-affected zones in large numbers to rejoin family and friends throughout the country; persevered amidst uncertainty. Defying widely held post-quake fears, Haiti remained relatively peaceful after the earthquake.
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Transitioning Towards Recovery and Development
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There remains an immediate and compelling need to provide adequate and safe shelter, sanitation and health care to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced on January 12th. The advent of rainy season with the hurricane season to follow has underscored the urgency to meet these needs. Concurrent with the ongoing humanitarian focus has been the transition toward recovery and development. Of particular concern is to ensure in U.N. Special Envoy Bill Clinton’s phrase that Haiti is “built back better,” with a strengthened Haitian government as the lead entity. In addition to the necessity of rebuilding, Haiti faces an important political challenge. Parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of February had to be postponed. The terms of incumbents end in May.
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Additionally, the five-year term of President Rene Preval ends in early 2011 with a presidential election due in late 2010. Haitian leaders will have to determine when and how to hold these elections, or risk sparking political unrest. After the quake, the U.N. moved to augment MINUSTAH’s strength by adding 3,500 soldiers and police. With the U.N. Mission and Haitian National Police regaining their ability to provide security and oversee public safety, most U.S. military personnel have departed with the remainder shifting to more specialized roles such as engineering services, logistical support, and port management.
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The March 31 Donors’ Conference Pledges Billions in Aid
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Before January 12, 2010, Haiti was making progress toward political stability and economic growth. Even then, however, a major challenge remained to improve the social and economic conditions of Haiti’s poor, comprising some 80 percent of the population. Post-quake strategies must take into consideration not just rebuilding the damaged infrastructure, but ensuring greater inclusion, less inequality and sustainable growth. A Post-Disaster Needs Assessment identified needs and recommended priorities in advance of the International Donors’ Conference held on March 31 at the United Nations. At the New York conference, delegates from more than 50 countries and international organizations endorsed the Haitian government’s action plan for national recovery and development, pledging $5.3 billion in support over the next 18 months. The comprehensive plan sets forth parameters not just for rebuilding zones devastated by the earthquake, but also for rejuvenating all of Haiti through decentralized investment and national social recovery. Investing in agriculture and rehabilitating Haiti’s environment are key tenets of the recovery strategy.
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Improving governmental capacity and effectiveness is also a key element of the internationally endorsed plan. A literal aspect of Haiti’s ability to ‘build back better’ will be enabling the government to enforce the stricter and more costly building codes required to mitigate against future natural disasters. This will not be achieved unless there are functional and transparent public mechanisms for enforcing these laws. Although strengthening government also includes rebuilding the requisite physical infrastructure in the capital city, including the prospective restoration of the iconic National Palace, it also includes enacting provisions for the effective decentralization of the government’s ability to engage the population and deliver services to citizens throughout the country.
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To manage and direct the recovery and development process over the next 18 months, a joint Haitian and international Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, headed by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton, has been established. A multidonor trust fund managed by the World Bank has also been created, as a means of coordinating the allocation of donor resources to activities determined by the commission in accordance with the recovery plan. The subsequent creation of a Haiti Development Authority to continue the work of the commission has been proposed.
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Prioritizing Youth and Rural Development for Economic
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Recovery
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The underlying tenets of the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development are the necessity to address demographic and resource allocation imbalances and to develop mechanisms to promote rule of law and enable the Haitian government to fulfill its obligations to all Haitians. The important focus on developing Haiti’s rural economy and society has achieved added impetus by the fact that since January 12th some 700,000 people have left Port-au-Prince for cities, towns and villages throughout the country.
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Within weeks of the earthquake, the Haitian government pointed out the necessity of taking steps to reinforce rural economies and the capacity of the already impoverished countryside to accommodate this significant influx.
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It proposed investing in 200 towns and villages in rural Haiti, creating “welcome centers” to cluster relief, education, health, investment and decentralized government services, in agronomy for example. Without urgent attention
to these cities, towns and villages, those displaced by the earthquake will eventually return to Port-au-Prince, bringing others with them, to replicate the precarious conditions that resulted in such death, displacement and devastation on January 12th.
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The Haitian government’s action plan calls for the creation of jobs using labor intensive projects. The Haitian constitution provides a framework for mobilizing people not just to create these jobs, but also to achieve the country’s decentralized development. Discussions had begun among Haitians in 2007 to create a youth service corps that would undertake public works and environmental rehabilitation. The envisaged corps would also serve as a means to provide this large segment of Haiti’s population with opportunities for skill training and a cash-paying job and the dignity that accompanies it, as well as to form the foundation for natural disaster mitigation and response. In the aftermath of the earthquake, these discussions have accelerated, with national civic service viewed as a viable means for implementing recovery and development strategies.
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Rebuilding Haiti’s economy also requires ensuring that more resources are available to the country’s small and medium enterprises, particularly those in what has been called the informal economy. Microcredit finance is one means of financing grassroots capitalists, including small farmers. Another strategy is the adaptation of the conditional cash transfer approach that has been used successfully in such countries as Brazil and Mexico to alleviate poverty while investing in the country’s future human resources. Modest monthly cash transfers to the poorest families are conditioned upon attendance of their children at school and their receipt of regular health check-ups.
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In addition to small and medium enterprises, Haiti’s large enterprises have a key role to play in reconstruction, particularly through the creation or expansion of wage employment both in urban-based enterprises and in agribusiness ventures. Long-term economic sustainability will require not only the active engagement of all components of Haiti’s business sector, but also an approach toward investing and remuneration that enables workers to begin climbing a socioeconomic ladder. By promoting socially responsible approaches, investors, the Haitian government and donors can help to achieve this goal.
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Recommendations
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• The Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti endorsed at the March 31st Donors’ Conference calls for Haitians to be in the lead. A Haitian-led development plan is necessary to overcome the country’s history of poverty, inequality and dependence.
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• Haiti’s governmental institutions and capacity must be strengthened. Donor funding must support public institutions, rather than being channeled almost exclusively through nongovernmental organizations.
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• Political stability during recovery and development will be best achieved if the Haitian government is able to transition from being absent in the lives of most Haitians to being a visible and active partner in the delivery of services based on transparency, accountability, the rule of law, and broad-based inclusion.
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• To sustain a de-concentration of the population, schools, heath care facilities, economic opportunities, and infrastructure must be improved throughout the countryside.
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• A civic service corps should be created as an integral element of the country’s recovery and development strategy.
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• Rebuilding the economy will require opportunities for small, medium and large-scale entrepreneurs to have access to cash. For those traditionally excluded from access, expanded microcredit and implementation of a conditional cash transfer program are essential.
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• Rebuilding Haiti’s economy must focus on sustainable, grassroots efforts to give Haitians the skills and means to participate to their fullest extent in rebuilding their economy.

Haiti: Towards and Beyond the Donors' Conference (3/8/2010)

United States Institute of Peace • www.usip.org • Tel. 202.457.1700 • Fax. 202.429.6063
.
“The aftermath of the earthquake should be an opportunity to address imbalances that have put Haiti
in deep poverty, dependence and underdevelopment.”
.
April 8, 2010
.
Haiti: Towards and Beyond the Donors’ Conference
.
Summary
.
Haiti’s January 12 earthquake left up to 300,000 people dead, an equal number injured, and more than a million displaced; overall damage and loss are valued at $7.9 billion, or about 120 percent of Haiti’s 2009 gross domestic product.
.
• The immediate international response focused on rescue, the provision of humanitarian relief and security, and cleanup.
.
• The March 31 Donors’ Conference in New York yielded both a Haitian-led recovery and development plan supported by international donors and a mechanism for coordinating donor allocated resources.
.
• Donors pledged more than $5 billion over the next 18 months.
.
• Activities initiated over the next 18 months must support longer-term strategies to revitalize all of Haiti, including long neglected rural areas.
.
• Haiti’s decentralized recovery and development must address its debilitating inequality and poverty while strengthening the capacity of the government.
.
The Immediate Aftermath of the Earthquake
.
The earthquake of January 12, 2010 left up to 300,000 people dead, an equal number injured, and more than 1.3 million displaced. Overall damage and losses have been estimated at $7.9 billion, or 120 percent of Haiti’s 2009 gross domestic product. The international response was quick and decisive, reflecting a commitment to the moral and humanitarian imperative posed by the catastrophe.
.
For the United States, the response also reflected Haiti’s strategic importance. U.S. troops were rapidly deployed to restore and manage airport operations and communications, to provide humanitarian relief and to ensure security. They also oversaw the evacuation of U.S. citizens and severely injured Haitians. At peak deployment, there were more than 20,000 U.S. military personnel either in Haiti or off its coast. That rapid deployment addressed a potential security gap caused by the severe losses suffered by the United Nations Stabilization Mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the Haitian government, including the Haitian National Police (HNP).
.
Stories of perseverance and successful coping amidst tragedy paralleled Haiti’s great devastation and loss. Its already weak government was decimated further when nearly 17 percent of civil servants perished in the earthquake. The Presidential Palace, parliament building and all but one government ministry were destroyed. Survivors regained their bearing as the government slowly reasserted itself both in Haiti and internationally. The people of Haiti demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of unspeakable disaster. They worked together to clear rubble and rescue survivors; found solace in fellowship and prayer; built temporary communities from the rubble of old ones; fled quake-affected zones in large numbers to rejoin family and friends throughout the country; persevered amidst uncertainty. Defying widely held post-quake fears, Haiti remained relatively peaceful after the earthquake.
.
Transitioning Towards Recovery and Development
.
There remains an immediate and compelling need to provide adequate and safe shelter, sanitation and health care to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced on January 12th. The advent of rainy season with the hurricane season to follow has underscored the urgency to meet these needs. Concurrent with the ongoing humanitarian focus has been the transition toward recovery and development. Of particular concern is to ensure in U.N. Special Envoy Bill Clinton’s phrase that Haiti is “built back better,” with a strengthened Haitian government as the lead entity. In addition to the necessity of rebuilding, Haiti faces an important political challenge. Parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of February had to be postponed. The terms of incumbents end in May.
.
Additionally, the five-year term of President Rene Preval ends in early 2011 with a presidential election due in late 2010. Haitian leaders will have to determine when and how to hold these elections, or risk sparking political unrest. After the quake, the U.N. moved to augment MINUSTAH’s strength by adding 3,500 soldiers and police. With the U.N. Mission and Haitian National Police regaining their ability to provide security and oversee public safety, most U.S. military personnel have departed with the remainder shifting to more specialized roles such as engineering services, logistical support, and port management.
.
The March 31 Donors’ Conference Pledges Billions in Aid
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Before January 12, 2010, Haiti was making progress toward political stability and economic growth. Even then, however, a major challenge remained to improve the social and economic conditions of Haiti’s poor, comprising some 80 percent of the population. Post-quake strategies must take into consideration not just rebuilding the damaged infrastructure, but ensuring greater inclusion, less inequality and sustainable growth. A Post-Disaster Needs Assessment identified needs and recommended priorities in advance of the International Donors’ Conference held on March 31 at the United Nations. At the New York conference, delegates from more than 50 countries and
international organizations endorsed the Haitian government’s action plan for national recovery and development, pledging $5.3 billion in support over the next 18 months. The comprehensive plan sets forth parameters not just for rebuilding zones devastated by the earthquake, but also for rejuvenating all of Haiti through decentralized investment and national social recovery. Investing in agriculture and rehabilitating Haiti’s environment are key tenets of the recovery strategy.
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Improving governmental capacity and effectiveness is also a key element of the internationally endorsed plan. A literal aspect of Haiti’s ability to ‘build back better’ will be enabling the government to enforce the stricter and more costly building codes required to mitigate against future natural disasters. This will not be achieved unless there are functional and transparent public mechanisms for enforcing these laws. Although strengthening government also includes rebuilding the requisite physical infrastructure in the capital city, including the prospective restoration of the iconic National Palace, it also includes enacting provisions for the effective decentralization of the government’s
ability to engage the population and deliver services to citizens throughout the country.
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To manage and direct the recovery and development process over the next 18 months, a joint Haitian and international Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, headed by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton, has been established. A multidonor trust fund managed by the World Bank has also been created, as a means of coordinating the allocation of donor resources to activities determined by the commission in accordance with the recovery plan. The subsequent creation of a Haiti Development Authority to continue the work of the commission has been proposed.
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Prioritizing Youth and Rural Development for Economic
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Recovery
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The underlying tenets of the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development are the necessity to address demographic and resource allocation imbalances and to develop mechanisms to promote rule of law and enable the Haitian government to fulfill its obligations to all Haitians. The important focus on developing Haiti’s rural economy and society has achieved added impetus by the fact that since January 12th some 700,000 people have left Port-au-Prince for cities, towns and villages throughout the country.
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Within weeks of the earthquake, the Haitian government pointed out the necessity of taking steps to reinforce rural economies and the capacity of the already impoverished countryside to accommodate this significant influx.
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It proposed investing in 200 towns and villages in rural Haiti, creating “welcome centers” to cluster relief, education, health, investment and decentralized government services, in agronomy for example. Without urgent attention
to these cities, towns and villages, those displaced by the earthquake will eventually return to Port-au-Prince, bringing others with them, to replicate the precarious conditions that resulted in such death, displacement and devastation on January 12th.
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The Haitian government’s action plan calls for the creation of jobs using labor intensive projects. The Haitian constitution provides a framework for mobilizing people not just to create these jobs,
but also to achieve the country’s decentralized development. Discussions had begun among Haitians in 2007 to create a youth service corps that would undertake public works and environmental rehabilitation. The envisaged corps would also serve as a means to provide this large segment of Haiti’s population with opportunities for skill training and a cash-paying job and the dignity that accompanies it, as well as to form the foundation for natural disaster mitigation and response. In the aftermath of the earthquake, these discussions have accelerated, with national civic service viewed as a viable means for implementing recovery and development strategies.
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Rebuilding Haiti’s economy also requires ensuring that more resources are available to the country’s small and medium enterprises, particularly those in what has been called the informal economy. Microcredit finance is one means of financing grassroots capitalists, including small farmers. Another strategy is the adaptation of the conditional cash transfer approach that has been used successfully in such countries as Brazil and Mexico to alleviate poverty while investing in the country’s future human resources. Modest monthly cash transfers to the poorest families are conditioned upon attendance of their children at school and their receipt of regular health check-ups.
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In addition to small and medium enterprises, Haiti’s large enterprises have a key role to play in reconstruction, particularly through the creation or expansion of wage employment both in urban-based enterprises and in agribusiness ventures. Long-term economic sustainability will require not only the active engagement of all components of Haiti’s business sector, but also an approach toward investing and remuneration that enables workers to begin climbing a socioeconomic ladder. By promoting socially responsible approaches, investors, the Haitian government and donors can help to achieve this goal.
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Recommendations
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• The Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti endorsed at the March 31st Donors’ Conference calls for Haitians to be in the lead. A Haitian-led development plan is necessary to overcome the country’s history of poverty, inequality and dependence.
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• Haiti’s governmental institutions and capacity must be strengthened. Donor funding must support public institutions, rather than being channeled almost exclusively through nongovernmental organizations.
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• Political stability during recovery and development will be best achieved if the Haitian government is able to transition from being absent in the lives of most Haitians to being a visible and active partner in the delivery of services based on transparency, accountability, the rule of law, and broad-based inclusion.
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• To sustain a de-concentration of the population, schools, heath care facilities, economic opportunities, and infrastructure must be improved throughout the countryside.
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• A civic service corps should be created as an integral element of the country’s recovery and development strategy.
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• Rebuilding the economy will require opportunities for small, medium and large-scale entrepreneurs to have access to cash. For those traditionally excluded from access, expanded microcredit and implementation of a conditional cash transfer program are essential.
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• Rebuilding Haiti’s economy must focus on sustainable, grassroots efforts to give Haitians the skills and means to participate to their fullest extent in rebuilding their economy.

Purse strings in Haiti (Chicago Tribune - 4/12/2010)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently signaled a new way of thinking about Haiti when she said that its government would be key in dispersing nearly $10 billion in aid pledged at an international donors conference. It might seem obvious to expect that Haiti's government would control Haiti's redevelopment. But Haiti's government has been corrupt and dysfunctional for a long, long time. As a result, it often has been forced to stand aside and watch as internationally backed aid projects go forward there.
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Nonetheless, Clinton signaled faith. "It will be tempting to fall back on old habits — to work around the government rather than to work with them as partners … We cannot retreat to failed strategies," she said. Sorry, but the failed "strategy" in Haiti has been the government. Now, as Haiti sees more money than it has ever imagined — tens of billions of dollars flowing into the country in response to the devastating January earthquake — isn't the time to let hope trump reality.
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There is too much at stake — not just in life-and-death needs but in rebuilding Haiti's credibility — to hand billions to the government and hope for the best. Last year, Transparency International ranked Haiti near the bottom of the world's nations in its efforts to control corruption. There has been some progress: the World Bank recently cited reform efforts there when it forgave some Haitian government debt. But we're talking billions of dollars … and hundreds of thousands of Haitians who have been devastated.
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The vision for Haiti's reconstruction should come from its leaders. That will give them a political stake in its success and make it tougher to blame any failures on meddling foreign interests.
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But the international community will have to retain strong oversight of the funds. That won't go over well in Haiti. Raymond Joseph, Haiti's ambassador to the U.S. (and a University of Chicago alum), complained recently that Haiti has become "a republic of NGOs." It rankles Haitian leaders that foreign nations and nongovernmental organizations play such a heavy role in its development.
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Are we talking a new form of colonialism? Hardly. The world can blunt that argument by creating a well-defined path to letting Haiti's government assume greater control of funds only as it meets benchmarks of transparency and competence.
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A commission governing reconstruction will be led by former President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. That's a sound idea. Clinton has pushed tirelessly for many years to promote business investment in Haiti, and Haitians trust his commitment to their country. Bellerive is a common-sense technocrat with reform credentials. In the wake of the earthquake, he has appeared far more competent than embattled President Rene Preval.
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Americans want this effort to succeed. They have generated more than $1 billion in private donations through text messages, organized raffles and high-profile fundraisers. The U.S. government has pledged $1.1 billion. That money, and billions more, can't go to waste.

Renew Haiti from the ground up (NY Daily News - 4/12/2010)

BY Amy Wilentz
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Everyone was talking about reimagining Haiti at the UN donors' conference two weeks ago. Haitian representatives and Haiti's friends, as they are called - including the U.S., France, Brazil, Canada, the UN and the Red Cross, as well as the two global development banks - got together to decide what to contribute and how those funds should be apportioned in the wake of January's catastrophic earthquake. All told, they pledged some $11 billion.
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That's a lot of money, which is to be invested in nation building, infrastructure, education, health care, agriculture, etc. But even with that aid package on its way (which it is not yet - for the moment, much of this is only pledged), it's hard to imagine what Haiti, reimagined, will look like.
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Haiti before the earthquake was already unimaginable. It was an unprecedented state, the product of the world's only successful slave revolution, invented out of bloody revolt and French ideals and thin air. As two postrevolutionary centuries passed, the country, long shunned by the world economy, sank slowly into a mire of financial and political lethargy and corruption, punctuated by short periods of hope. Its zigzagging history, and its tormented relationship with the United States, ended up - in the first days of 2010 - with Haiti a precarious electoral democracy with a tiny national coffer and deep social and economic fissures that have only been exacerbated by seismic ones.
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Yet Haiti, in the runup to geological destruction, was also a place of unimaginable beauty and delicacy, where cornmeal curlicues laid out in the dirt summoned up gods who descended into men's souls, where gorgeous artworks decorated not just the walls of galleries but the doors and sides of shacks, and where you could come around a corner in Port-au-Prince to find a copper-colored rooster standing on the edge of a blue wall in the late afternoon sun.
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The real question for Haitians and others who love Haiti goes beyond issues of appropriation and pie-dividing and asks, instead, whether what was special and unimaginable about Port-au-Prince and the country as a whole can be retained while building something new in its place. While donors talk about "building back better," old Haiti hands and skeptics secretly chortle at the phrase. There can be no thought, for example, of building Port-au-Prince back, better or worse. What is gone, a heart-tugging city of surprising beauty and terrible, ruthless privation, cannot and should not be reinvented. Only sentimental foreigners and perhaps its elderly residents can long mourn the city's demise.
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Instead Haiti needs a Pretoria or a Brasilia in its stead, a clean, sturdy and perhaps sterile city of civic buildings, with housing and a support system for the government, and another town nearby, perhaps somewhat less neat and clean, to serve the national port. The capital can also provide the nation's connection to the rest of the world. This may be unsentimental, but it's true.
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And then everything and everyone needs to be swept back to the countryside - already this movement of internal refugees has begun, and some country towns have nearly doubled in population since the earthquake. The donors in New York last month recognized this, and many proposals brought to the conference emphasized decentralization and aid to the provinces. Seeds, fertilizer, new schools, country clinics, strong, efficient provincial governments, organized local tax collection - these are the new watchwords. Real jobs with pay in the countryside - now that would be an innovation.
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For those who hope that the Haiti of the imagination can be retained and reinvented, a new life in the countryside holds out the greatest promise. It was after all in the mountains and fertile valleys of this magnificent piece of land that, at least according to legend, the Haitian slaves conspired to invent Haiti. In the countryside, too, the gods of Africa have never ceased to be worshiped under broad mapou trees and the crashing cascades of waterfalls.
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It was this countryside - reimagined as lush, bountiful and verdant - that the great Haitian artists of the 1940s through contemporary times used for many of their most astounding tableaux. Here, also, the coumbite - or cooperative work group - was an everyday organization that, with no help from the outside, constructed houses and farm buildings, and raised roofs, and planted seed. Out of such materials - a revolutionary spirit, the strength of traditional belief, and cooperative endeavor, which are the very life and breath of the countryside - Haiti may rise from the rubble of this latest, and most profound, national disaster.
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Wilentz is the author of "The Rainy Season: Haiti Then and Now," which is being reissued with a new postearthquake introduction.

Core Reform Principles for Rebulding a Stronger Haiti (MFAN)

U.S. efforts to support Haitian reconstruction will be most successful if they build on the best practices currently emerging from the Washington debate on how to more broadly reform U.S. global development policy and practice. Specifically, our efforts to support reconstruction in Haiti must:
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• Be designed, allocated, and spent transparently and accountably, both to U.S. taxpayers and Haitian citizens;
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• Make long-term, strategic investments in the capacity of the Haitian national government, local government, and local civil society to meet the needs of Haitian citizens; and
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• Give the Haitian government and all citizens the lead role in setting priorities and managing the effort to rebuild their country, and build an inclusive, pluralistic society and economy that respects Haitian human rights and can fulfill Haitian human needs. In order to accomplish these goals, our efforts to support Haitian reconstruction should adhere to the following principles:
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1. Ensure reconstruction is Haitian-led and -owned. A reconstruction effort that is purely driven by donor priorities is at risk of collapsing when donor attention turns elsewhere, forsaking critical needs and priorities as well as generating resentment among the Haitian people. Furthermore, it suspends the moment when Haitians can look to their own government and hold it accountable for meeting their needs and respecting their rights. An effort that is clearly seen to be Haitian-led and -owned can build the foundation for more effective governance.
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2. Invest in the capacity of Haitians to take a lead role in implementing recovery and reconstruction. Much has been rightly said about the lack of capacity within the government of Haiti and Haitian civil society. International capacity has been massively deployed to compensate for these gaps, but an international effort on this scale risks displacing the development of indigenous Haitian capacity. As the center of gravity shifts progressively to Haitian leadership while indigenous capacity is restored, the U.S. should support efforts — with appropriate oversight, monitoring, and accountability — to build and improve the long-term capacity of the Haitian government (at all levels), and civil society to plan, implement, coordinate, and monitor recovery and reconstruction.
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3. Provide development expertise for reconstruction. The challenge in Haiti is primarily a development challenge. That means our approach is more likely to be effective when informed by — and led by — development professionals. The main repository for development expertise within the United States government remains the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The President acknowledged this fact early in the current crisis when he named USAID as the lead agency for the U.S. response in Haiti. This needs to remain the case over the longer term as the focus of U.S. efforts shifts from relief to reconstruction.
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4. Support continued consultation and collaboration with civil society in formulating Haiti’s plans for reconstruction. The Haitian government’s Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (DSNCRP) and National Recovery and Development Action plan should serve as guides for donors’ pledges and commitments. The process of public consultations in the development of the DSNCRP has helped to build trust between state and society — something that has been sorely lacking in Haiti for some time. The U.S. should support this continuing dialogue and efforts to expand it. At the same time, USAID must work conscientiously to engage other U.S. government agencies that have certain skills and expertise that are needed in the development of Haiti.
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5. Promote transparency and accountability to U.S. taxpayers and Haitians. Transparency will ensure U.S. taxpayers know how their money is being spent, thereby supporting efforts to sustain longer-term U.S. engagement in Haiti. Transparency also means the Haitian government will be able to explain to Haitians the progress of U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts, allowing Haitian citizens to better hold their government accountable. Finally, Haitian entrepreneurs and civil society will have the opportunity to plan their own investments to take advantage of U.S.-funded investments, as well as provide input and feedback that can ensure U.S.-funded efforts are best tailored to meet local needs.
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6. Provide long-term and predictable support. Haitian recovery will take many years, both because of the scale and scope of destruction, as well as the scale and scope of Haiti’s pre-existing poverty and social challenges. The United States should commit to long-term engagement with the government of Haiti by making assistance predictable and more flexible, and by building national and local capacity development into all U.S. plans and budgets.
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7. Raise the role, voice, and concerns of women in reconstruction and integrate gender across all programs and strategies. Reconstruction provides an opportunity to reduce the severe gender inequality between Haitian women and men. To achieve this, and ensure that such efforts are effective and sustainable, will require gender integration across all relief and reconstruction efforts — governance, security, and development — so that both women’s and men’s needs and contributions are taken into account.
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8. Coordinate aid with other actors to ensure that reconstruction and development plans are implemented. One proposed mechanism for coordination is a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Haiti. A MDTF makes sense in principle, but, in fragile states, such mechanisms have encountered practical challenges relating to the balance between local and international roles and capacities. To make this approach legitimate in the eyes of the government and the people of Haiti, both the government and civil society organizations must have clear and visible roles in the MDTF, while ensuring that consultative processes do not act as a bottleneck in the implementation of assistance.
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9. Integrate activities that span the continuum from relief to development. As reflected in the development of the DSNCRP and the upcoming donors’ conference, Haitians and donors are already shifting their focus from saving lives to restoring livelihoods. The U.S. should focus on supporting the Haitian government as it restores and improves its capacity to govern, as well as Haitian civil society’s efforts to hold the government accountable for investments in development. Also, there must be a deliberate process of engaging the community and improving the ways of measuring community recovery so that aid providers aren’t pressured into producing easily quantifiable outputs at the expense of results that may be more relevant to long-term development.
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10. Be flexible, responsive, and accountable, allowing integration of work across multiple sectors. Too often, most or all of the aid monies the U.S. offers a recipient country are already designated for particular causes—regardless of whether these causes align with the country’s developmental priorities. Furthermore, they can limit the United States’ ability to invest in priorities that have an impact across sectors. Implementers must be rigorously held accountable for the principles by which they operate and the outcomes they achieve, but given flexibility with respect to how they achieve those outcomes. This flexibility should also allow the U.S. government to consider non-aid avenues to achieving development outcomes, such as rethinking the trade relationship between the U.S. and Haiti.
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The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) is a reform coalition composed of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens and private sector organizations. MFAN’s goal is to promote critical foreign assistance reform that will help build a safer, more prosperous world by strengthening the United States’ ability to alleviate extreme poverty, create opportunities for growth, and secure human dignity in developing countries. For more, please visit www.modernizingforeignassistance.net.

Canadian Cash Will Help Build Hospital (3/8/2010)

By Kathleen Harris
kathleen.harris@sunmedia.ca
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Canadian cash will help build a hospital, train police and provide ongoing humanitarian assistance in Haiti, International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda said during a visit to the earthquake-ravaged country. "In witnessing the devastation and the needs of the Haitian people after the earthquake, Canada's commitments and pledge to Haiti will play a big part in meeting its needs," Oda said in a news release. "I am proud that Canada is responding to Haiti's immediate needs, as well as helping to build the future of a new Haiti through the construction of a new hospital and police academy."
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Signing a $20-million memorandum of understanding with Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, Oda said Canada will help build a provincial hospital in Gonaives. Bellerive thanked Canada for its support to help the most vulnerable in his country.
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"Canadians are making a real difference in Haiti and today's announcement is further testimony of Canada's strong commitment to the special relationship between our two countries," he said in the release. Oda also announced funding for the National Police Academy in Ganthier, located near the capital of Port-au-Prince. The project, worth an estimated $18.1 million, includes infrastructure and equipment to train Haitian National Police inspectors and commissioners.
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Another $16.5 million will be used for training and professional development of senior officers.

Rebuilding Waits on Promised Aid (IPS - 3/8/2010)

By Armin Rosen
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A week ago, 59 U.N. member states, international institutions and NGO coalitions pledged nearly 10 billion dollars towards rebuilding Haiti over the next decade. But the self-congratulation ended with the conference's upbeat closing press conference, as NGOs and activists are now questioning both the reconstruction plan and the likelihood that nations will follow through on their financial commitments.
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At the meeting, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon promised to create an online database that would track the amount of money that countries had actually contributed to reconstruction efforts.
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Since conference pledges are non-binding, there is concern that other international priorities and attrition will stymie fundraising efforts. For instance, in a press release before the conference, Oxfam's Philippe Mathieu noted that only 30 percent of the relief money pledged for Haiti after Hurricane Mitch in 1998 actually materialised.
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And at the conference itself, former U.S. president and current U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton admitted that he had "failed" in his fundraising efforts prior to the earthquake, and said that he had only raised 30 percent of his pre-quake target.
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"Oxfam has witnessed other huge pledging conferences," said Nicole Widdersheim, the director of Oxfam's New York office. "At the end of the day when the cameras turn off and everyone goes home, these are promises. They're not real cash yet."
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She said that it was up to "media organisations and advocacy organisations" to hold donor nations accountable for their promised reconstruction spending. Questions about both the dispersal of aid money and the framework for reconstruction planning and implementation have also muted any celebration of the conference. While the meet succeeded in doubling its goal of raising 3.8 billion dollars for the next 18 months of reconstruction work, a Time magazine piece found that Haitians were sceptical as to whether that money would produce any benefits for them.
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Time reporter Jessica Desvarieux wrote from Port-Au-Prince that "Haitians are concerned that aid money will not trickle down to the people but instead be used by the government to take care of its own." This echoes pre-conference concerns over using reconstruction funds to prop up a government that has historically been wasteful and corrupt.
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On the other hand, Widdersheim said that the reconstruction process has excluded Haitians, and explained that the government's post-disaster relief assessment was made with virtually no input from earthquake survivors.

"A lot of Haitian organisations on the ground feel that the consultative process was null and void," she said. "The average person sitting under a plastic sheet in a camp around Port-au-Prince wasn't really asked what they wanted to see."
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According to Widdersheim, the Haitian government rushed the post-disaster assessment in order to finish it in time for the donors' conference, which meant that relatively few earthquake survivors were even aware that the reconstruction process had begun.
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"Most of the people in the camps where we work didn't even know [the needs assessment study] was going on," Widdersheim said. City University of New York sociologist and Haiti expert Mark Schuller, who returned from Haiti this past week, echoed many of Widdersheim's concerns, and said that the reconstruction has "clearly" bee a "top-down process".
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He said that grassroots groups in Haiti have been conducting their own surveys of what quake refugees say they need for the coming months. "I've seen databases that were carefully constructed that have been totally ignored," he said, describing one detailed census that covered over 11,600 people in a single camp.
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Schuller fears that the failure to include Haitian organisations and the survivors themselves in reconstruction efforts echoes major mistakes of past development efforts. "What you're seeing is a repeat of the same process of exclusion," he said, warning that "donors that have little to do with the reality on the ground" could dictate a redevelopment process that entrenches many of Haiti's pre-quake problems.
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Before the quake, Haiti suffered from an over-centralised population and economy, with the Port-au-Prince area producing nearly 80 percent of the country's GDP. Right now, there are plans to move the country's governmental apparatus out of the city. Meanwhile, Patrick Duplat of Refugees International expressed some optimism at the role Haitian civil society has already played in reconstruction efforts. But a week after the donors' conference, there is still almost no sense of what the nation's rebuilding - or what the nation itself - will actually look like a decade from now.

Fatal magnetism of the city (Port au Prince)

4/8/2010
Boston Globe
Ellen Ruppel Shell
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‘WHAT WE envision today is wholesale national renewal, a sweeping exercise in nation-building on a scale and scope not seen in generations,’’ UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed in his paean to Haiti at a recent confab of 120 countries, international organizations, and aid agencies.
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Pledges dribbling in from the United States and Europe were horrifyingly low, adding up to a mere fraction of the tens of billions required to allow Haiti to stagger free of its painfully entrenched predicament. Put simply, Haiti collapsed rather than merely buckled in the earthquake last January because it had packed too many people into too small and fragile a space.
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With so little aid in the offing, hopeful calls for the country’s decentralization, of somehow magically relocating Port au Prince residents to small cities and towns scattered throughout the country, are at best utopian and at worst terribly naive.
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“There is this nostalgic notion of reclaiming Port au Prince, which 30 years ago was a nice, tropical city,’’ said Enrique Silva, an assistant professor of urban planning and urban affairs at Boston University. “They want to clear out the slums, send the poor into the countryside, and reclaim the city for the elites, make it an elite capital. But they cannot sanitize the city and keep the poor out.’’
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City residents require services of housekeepers, gardeners, drivers, and garbage collection that the poor are only too happy to provide. So soon enough the poor will return in droves, and the cycle will begin again. But it is not only the wealthy of Haiti who are powering this problem. American and European NGOs tend to cluster in the capital, as do most of their employees. It’s tragic but also telling that so many aid and government workers were killed when the Hotel Montana collapsed in the earthquake. A four-star luxury hotel in the capital, not a hut in the countryside or an apartment in a small town, was their home.
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While it’s understandable that diplomats might chose to live in the capital, even most agronomists live in Port au Prince rather than in farming regions such as Thomonde, the nation’s bread basket. “In Haiti, there are very few services outside of the capital,’’ Silva said. “There are no universities, few schools, very little culture, very little going on. Not many people are willing to rough it outside the city.’’
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So, how can residents be drawn away from dangerously crowded city centers? Certainly, true decentralization requires more than plunking factories in the countryside and hoping that people will flock to them like bears to a picnic. Studies in Brazil and elsewhere show that while some people leave city centers to work in newly-built, far-flung factories, they do not stay. Without a full fledged effort to support provincial governments, and to provide schools, cultural institutions, hospitals, and other services, such efforts gradually lose traction, and the people return to their lives in the big city slums.
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Haiti is not alone in this dilemma. The planet is pockmarked with unstable places — from Shanghai to Nairobi to Los Angeles — where people live far too close together for safety, let alone comfort. According to a UN report published last year, at least 900 million people now live in shantytowns. The World Future Fund predicts that this number will more than double to 2 billion by 2030.
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Such unchecked growth of urban slums around the world, coupled with climate change powered weather extremes, have dramatically increased the risk of floods, earthquakes, and other acts of nature building from relatively confined events to full-scale disasters. Haiti is hemorrhaging, and the Band-Aid we’re offering to apply will barely slow down the flow. For that country’s health and our own, it’s time to rethink policies — economic and political — that encourage the congregation of so many people in such small, vulnerable spaces not only in Haiti, but in urban centers around the globe.
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Ellen Ruppel Shell, a professor of journalism at Boston University, is author most recently of “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture.’’

Rebuilding Haiti: A Global Response to a Global Crisis

4/7/2010
U.S. Department of State
Esther Brimmer
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As a participant at the recent International Donors' Conference for Haiti, I was heartened to see the overwhelming show of support for the people of Haiti as they work to rebuild their nation.
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Over 150 nations and institutions were present at the Donors' Conference, and all listened intently as Haitian officials, including President René Préval, laid out an Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti. We were reminded that in only 35 seconds, on January 12, one of the worst natural disasters in modern times occurred in Haiti killing over three hundred thousand, wounding hundreds of thousands of Haitians, leaving more than a million homeless and Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince in ruins.
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The strong outpouring of international support for Haiti over the past two months has been extraordinary, and represents a global response to a global crisis. Since January, over 140 nations, including the United States have provided immediate assistance and relief to millions of Haitians. In cooperation with the Haitian government, the UN and international community have moved quickly to help provide temporary shelter, food, sanitation and medical assistance.
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We have seen again how important the United Nations and global institutions are to addressing serious crises around the world, whether they are natural or man-made. While not perfect, the response of the United Nations, including by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which lost 100 peacekeepers to the earthquake, has been inspiring, and it is a glimpse into the true potential of the international community to respond to global disasters and conflicts.
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At the Donors' Conference, we witnessed the same spirit of cooperation, resolve and support for Haiti. Over 60 countries and institutions pledged to assist Haiti during its long-term recovery process. The conference, yielded close to $10 billion for Haiti's reconstruction. Of this amount, more than $5 billion was pledged for 2010 and 2011 -exceeding the target of $3.9 billion
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The United States expressing support for Haiti's long-term recovery pledged $1.15 billion over the next two years. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, "This money will go toward supporting the Government of Haiti's plan to strengthen agriculture, energy, health, security, and governance."
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Remarkably in a show of solidarity with Haiti, several of the world's poorest countries, also stepped forward and announced their nation's pledges. As President Preval stated at the Donors' Conference, "Small and large countries contributed, demonstrating that Haiti is not on its own."
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Clearly Haiti is not on its own. The pledges of assistance at the conference, including from the U.S., and conference Co-Chairs Brazil, France, Canada, Spain and the European Union, will support the Haitian Government's Action Plan and its focus on building Haiti back better. We know from previous natural disasters that Haiti's - short and long-term recovery will not be easy - its infrastructure and economy are destroyed. Even with the goodwill of the international community, generous pledges of assistance and support for Haiti, the challenges facing the Haitian Government and people are substantial, the road ahead difficult, and we must guard against complacency, failures to coordinate and consult and a lack of transparency.
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At the Donors' Conference, Secretary Clinton spoke about reconstruction and these challenges and avoiding failed strategies in Haiti. She presented two dramatically different paths Haiti can take in the coming months and years, one of progress, revitalization and prosperity or a path where Haiti slides backwards, reconstruction is haphazard, disorganized and decades old problems resurface.
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To that end, as Haiti's leaders assume responsibility for their nation's reconstruction, the UN and international cooperation with the government of Haiti must be closely coordinated, their action plan sustainable, accountable and inclusive of all Haitians. We must also continue to focus on the immediate humanitarian assistance in Haiti - that will help provide a stable environment for Haitians and allow for long-term rebuilding efforts.
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Avoiding failed strategies means working shoulder to shoulder with the Haitian people and government, to build back Haiti better and incorporate disaster risk reduction and mitigation and environmental protection as new homes, churches, schools and factories are built to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural hazards. This is particularly important as thousands of Haitian children go back to school this week.
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Building back a better Haiti also means; ensuring human rights, greater economic, political and social opportunities for all Haitians, addressing security needs and preventing sexual violence, and creating the conditions conducive for civil society and the economy to thrive. Despite difficult challenges and recognizing the long road to recovery we join with the Haitian government, the UN and international community in looking forward with hope to a new future for Haiti. There is a window of opportunity for Haitians to take hold of their destiny, rebuild their country and transform their nation. The United States, the UN and the international community, as articulated in the final statement of the conference co-hosts and co-chairs, "are invested in Haiti's long-term success," and will be with the Haitian government and people every step of the way.

IDB Directory of Civil Society Organizations in Haiti

In order to ensure that this directory contains the most complete and up-to-date information, we need input from civil society organizations working in Haiti. http://csohaiti.org/

Spending so That Haiti Is Built Back Better (3/7/2010)

Brookings
Kara C. McDonald,
International Affairs Fellow in Residence
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PORT-AU-PRINCE - The rainy season fast approaching will be the first test of the effectiveness of international assistance that has poured into Haiti since the January 12 earthquake that claimed a quarter of a million lives. Much has changed in the capital since the earthquake's early aftermath. Markets and street vendors line the streets, local transportation called Tap-Taps are crowded with Haitians on their daily errands, and businesses are reopening. Yet while roads are passable, imploded buildings and piles of rubble still pock the city. Over one million people are still living under bed sheets and plastic tarps held up by sticks and poles. While food is abundant, jobs and housing are not. And the psychological suffering is extreme: Almost everyone has experienced loss, and those who haven't wrestle with guilt.
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Now that the March 31 donors' conference in New York City is over and officials have returned to Port-au-Prince, the real work begins to ensure that the $9.9 billion in conference pledges result in a Haitian state and society "built back better" (in the words of a now-clichéd mantra), and that they do not become just another crest in the waves of international assistance to Haiti.
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Speed, Results, and Transparency
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By all accounts, the donors' conference was a success, with the $9.9 billion pledged over the next three years exceeding the Haitian government's appeal for an initial tranche of $3.8 billion. Now the challenge is to match dollars to the pledges, to sustain that commitment over the ten-year $11.5 billion reconstruction plan for Haiti established by the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, and to ensure that assistance dollars meet their aims. Devising programs that achieve concrete, sustainable results on a nation-wide scale remains a mark that has yet to be hit in Haiti.
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The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, co-chaired by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and Special Envoy Bill Clinton, will monitor donor disbursements and attempt to stem corruption, a perennial thorn when donor funds flood a country and made more likely by longstanding profiteers and trafficking networks in Haiti.
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The donor community must acknowledge that short-term and long-term objectives are not zero-sum. Approaches to short-term needs, like shelter and job creation, must complement a wider state-building strategy and be measured by their salutary impacts on these longer-term goals.
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The commission will face the dual challenge of ensuring accountability for the billions of dollars moved through its coffers while resisting the deceleration or bottlenecking of funds. It will also have a critical role in improving donor coordination. International and non-governmental organizations and donors have saturated Port-au-Prince and overwhelmed Haitian institutions--all the more reason that the international donor community take responsibility for coordinating itself and easing the burden on local counterparts.
Priorities on the Ground
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While shelter, jobs, and education remain the most pressing needs, assistance must fit into and contribute to strategic goals of political and economic stability.
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Between 1.1 and 1.5 million people are still living in makeshift shelters. In the immediate term, the donor response will be judged by its ability to secure between 9,000 and 37,000 people deemed most at risk during the rainy season, which starts in early May. But it would be myopic not to think about the long-term consequences of these humanitarian efforts and a large population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who will likely remain in such camps for months if not years to come. So there must be a focus on ensuring that the camps do not settle into large slums, like Cite Soleil, which harbored Haiti's notorious gangs and thugs.
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To achieve this, the donor community must acknowledge that short-term and long-term objectives are not zero-sum. Approaches to short-term needs, like shelter and job creation, must complement a wider state-building strategy and be measured by their salutary impacts on these longer-term goals. For example, programs that put restless youth to work rehabilitating infrastructure, the environment, and farming simultaneously improve the security environment, economic development, and political stability. Cash-for-work programs have been highly praised and should be expanded to leverage results in other areas, like school attendance. Providing schools and cash-for-work jobs near new resettlement camps and outside Port-au-Prince could help expedite relocating people camping on the flood plain and bring stability to the half million people who have already fled Port-au-Prince.
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Avoiding a Political Earthquake
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Civil unrest in Haiti has historically been tied to one of two social triggers--the holding of elections and the reopening of schools after crisis. Haiti now faces both. The announced reopening of schools on April 5 has many here asking, "What schools?" But resuming normal life and getting kids into school, even under makeshift tents, is precisely where international assistance should be focused to promote social stability.
Perhaps most important to the reconstruction strategy is wedding development assistance to the effort to build the public administration of the Haitian state and an accountable system of service delivery.
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While most agree that holding an election in the aftermath of an earthquake should not be a top priority, international donors and the Haitian government understand that a peaceful transition next February to a duly-elected president is vital to the country's economic development and stability. Pulling off an election is daunting in a country whose voter lists have largely been destroyed, where nearly one-quarter of a million dead lie in makeshift graves or are still buried under rubble, and where 40 percent of Haitians do not have identity documents.
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Yet as challenging as elections may be in the post-quake environment, the institutional challenges are harder. Perhaps most important to the reconstruction strategy is wedding development assistance to the effort to build the public administration of the Haitian state and an accountable system of service delivery. At the local level, development assistance must be reinforcing of and coordinated with support to state decentralization. Development assistance that misses this tie will only perpetuate the cycle of crisis and dependence.
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The United States and other countries are setting aside past criticisms of widespread corruption in Haitian politics and longstanding concerns about the sustainability of direct budgetary support to provide money to the Haitian government to create jobs, deliver services, and pay its civil servants. This necessary step will need to include X-ray oversight to ensure that funds provided to the government do not inadvertently reinforce the predatory structures rampant throughout Haitian society.
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Understanding how these multiple priorities intersect, both near and long term, is pivotal to a successful international effort in Haiti. Looking around Port-au-Prince, the term "reconstruction" seems inadequate to describe the rebuilding of Haiti's infrastructure as well as a functional Haitian state and society. Without accountability toward this ambitious state-building objective, donors and Haitians alike will continue to be trapped in a cycle of crisis, assessment, and response. But for many in post-quake Haiti, it is no longer just an opportunity to get state-building right, it is an imperative.
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Kara C. McDonald is an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is currently on leave as the U.S. Political Counselor in Haiti. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State or government.

MADRE Gender Shadow Report on 2010 PDNA

A Gender Shadow Report of the 2010 Haiti PDNA
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On January 12, 2010 the worst earthquake in 200 years struck Haiti causing catastrophic destruction in the hemisphere's poorest country. The quake struck near the capital of Port-au-Prince, the most densely populated part of Haiti. The death toll has been estimated at over 200,000. In fact, Haiti was devastated even before the earthquake struck. Nearly 80 percent of Haitians live in extreme poverty, and more than half suffer from malnutrition. Unemployment is a staggering 70 percent, and tens of thousands of people die each
year from preventable illnesses related to a lack of clean water. Average life expectancy at birth is only 50 years, and one in 16 women faces a lifetime chance of dying during childbirth.
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These grim indicators stem from policies—many implemented at the insistence of donor
countries—that have propelled poverty, social inequality and environmental destruction in Haiti. These policies have enabled the richest one percent of the population to control nearly half of the country's wealth; and have rendered the agricultural nation of Haiti dependent on importing half of all its food—the highest percentage in the hemisphere. The women of Haiti, who are both over-represented among the poor and responsible for meeting the basic needs of the vast majority of the population, have suffered
disproportionately in this policy environment.
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Today, as the international community pursues recovery for Haiti, the country is at a
crossroads. It could recreate the status quo ante of widespread misery or rebuild in ways that promote human rights and sustainable development, including much-needed resiliency to disaster. Realizing the latter vision requires, above all, that Haitian women's and grassroots organizations participate effectively and play leadership roles in ongoing relief and reconstruction processes. It is these organizations that represent the majority
of the population and those most deeply impacted by the disaster.

More information at: http://www.madre.org/index/where-we-work-9/haiti-23.html

Promises for and from Haiti (NYT - 4/3/2010)

This week’s donors conference for Haiti at the United Nations was strikingly hopeful, in good part because of what participants pledged not to do. The promises of action were important: Nearly 60 nations and organizations said they would give $5.3 billion in the next two years, and almost $10 billion in the next decade, to help Haiti rebuild from the Jan. 12 earthquake. The United States committed $1.15 billion, in addition to the $900 million it has already spent.
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Along with that generosity, major donor countries promised not to repeat the old failed strategy of poorly coordinated projects that wither through waste and neglect. Nongovernmental agencies, which — often for sound reasons — are used to bypassing the Haitian government, pledged to channel their efforts through a redevelopment plan proposed by Haiti and jointly administered by Haitian officials and the largest donors. Haiti’s president, René Préval, and prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, acknowledged the need for their notoriously ineffective and corrupt government to do things very differently. They promised to work with the international community to create, and then abide by, new structures to track the billions being given.
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The promises are accompanied by an ambitious plan to build new roads, ports, bridges and desperately needed housing outside the shattered capital of Port-au-Prince. It also calls for building the necessities of a functioning society: systems of justice, policing, education. There are still a lot of buts. Pledges need to turn into donations. While billions of dollars are needed for the future, the government needs hundreds of millions now to meet its payroll and other expenses in the coming year. We, too, are leery of handing cash directly to Haiti’s government, but the call for budget support has the persuasive endorsement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the
International Monetary Fund.
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Many excellent-sounding ideas have not yet been fleshed out. One is the plan to create an interim reconstruction committee led by Mr. Bellerive and former President Bill Clinton, a United Nations envoy to Haiti, that would evolve into a Haitian-led Haitian Development Authority — how will that work? How will the diaspora be able to contribute, beyond sending cash? And, perhaps mostimportant, when and how will the system for following the money and the projects be put in place? The plans are complicated, too, by the deeply inadequate relief effort. More than a million earthquake survivors are homeless. They want to see a new Haiti someday, but right now they need safe shelter, food and water. And they know that the same leaders who are hatching ambitious plans now were also overwhelmed and distressingly absent in the quake’s horrific aftermath.Haiti is awash in promises. Haitians need to see results. If dismal history repeats itself, this week would be the high point of optimism, followed by a long slide into disillusionment and failure. That mustnot happen again.

In Haiti, Deep Skepticism About a U.N. Rescue Plan (3/3/2010)

Time
By Jessica Desvarieux
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A simple turn of the radio dial, and news of the reconstruction plan dominates Haiti's airwaves. At the U.N. donor conference on Wednesday, the international community pledged more than $5 billion dollars to support Haiti for the next 18 months and almost $10 billion for the next five years. These are enormous figures aimed at transforming the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, which has become even more dire after the catacylsmic Jan. 12 earthquake. But as crucial as the donor news was, many Haitians made homeless by the temblor, like Patrick Nordeuse, 43, have simply tuned out. "I used to listen to the radio after the earthquake, but it would just depress me when I saw nothing was being done," says Nordeuse.
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It's been more than two and a half months since the earthquake shook every fiber of Haitian society. I was here on a trip from the U.S. to visit my family when it hit and have stayed for most of the aftermath. But when I look at the streets of Port-au -Prince, the catastrophe still seems so much closer in time, as if it has just happened. Monstrous piles of rubble still hold the remains of thousands of earthquake victims. Haitians drift with no purpose during the day,returning to insecure shelters at night.
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Haitians have waited patiently during the planning phase for reconstructing this Caribbean nation. And now plans reveal that a joint commission between Haitian authorities and the international community, co-chaired by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, will manage the funds. When I revealed the news to a family member, she jokingly said, "They're giving the money to the state! Good, I work for the state." It is a very serious joke. Haitians are concerned that aid money will not trickle down to the people but instead be used by the government to take care of its own.
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"If it's Haitian people taking care of the money, they will only take care of their clan," says Osnel Smythe, 37, a security guard who earns a decent wage of about $200 a month. "The international community could put $8 billion into Haiti and nothing will work correctly." This was exemplified with reports after the earthquake of government-affiliated community leaders selling coupons for food aid intended to be free. Haiti is one of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International's world index of corruption. The government has yet to earn the trust of the people. It cannot simply be placed at the helm, expecting citizens to believe in it.
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"We Haitians live in the belly of the beast," says another man made homeless by the quake who wanted to remain anonymous. "You have to be in the belly to understand the system. The people outside don't understand." Despite this record, the international community has decided to switch gears. Instead of funneling aid through non-governmental organizations, they say they will not bypass the bureaucracy of Port-au-Prince, hoping to strengthen it. Clinton recently called on all NGOs to "work ourselves out of a job" and make the Haitian government more self-sufficient.
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Plans for self-sufficiency include boosting the economy, by focusing on agriculture and tourism development. There are plans to expand roadways and increase transportation capabilities with the addition of two more international airports. Clinton also says Haiti should be transformed into a wireless country with Internet access throughout. But the feeling at large in Port-au-Prince itself is that, with the Haitian government in charge, all the talk of development is a distant dream, hardly a possible reality for citizens living in makeshift tents awaiting the rainy season.
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To be fair, the Haitian government has committed itself to transparency and Prime Minster Jean-Max Bellerive has agreed to the idea of posting financial documents online. But as Nordeuse sees it, the Haitian government is in a lose-lose situation. If the government succeeds, the international community will get the glory and if it fails the Haitian government will be blamed for corruption. Says Nordeuse, "Clinton has placed Bellerive in front to follow him, but Bellerive is the one who is going to take the fall when it goes wrong."

A strong CARICOM needs a strong Haiti, says PJ Patterson

4/3/2010
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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) had a vital interest in the welfare and development of Haiti and saw its rebuilding as a priority issue for all CARICOM Member States, Percival J Patterson said Wednesday. “A strong Caribbean Community needs a strong Haiti,” the former Jamaica Prime Minister and current Special Representative of the Heads of Government of CARICOM to Haiti pointed out in an address to the International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
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Former Jamaica Prime Minister, PJ Patterson
The Conference was co-hosted by the United Nations and the United States in cooperation with the Government of Haiti and with support from Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain.
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Member States of the UN and international financial and development agencies pledged US$5.3B over the next 18 months towards the reconstruction of Haiti. The CARICOM Member State was devastated after a massive earthquake on 12 January 2010. Actual losses from the disaster that claimed more than 200 000 lives and left more than one million homeless, were pegged at US$7.9B or 120 per cent of Haiti’s GDP.
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A Post Disaster Needs Assessment presented to the Conference by the Haitian Government estimated that US$11.5B was needed to rebuild the country. Fifty per cent of the estimated resources were earmarked for social programmes; 17 per cent for infrastructure and 15 per cent for the environment and disaster preparedness and management. CARICOM, Patterson said, was committed to assisting Haiti in the reinforcement of a governance process where transparency, accountability, compassion, efficiency and vision predominated. He added that the capacity of CARICOM had been placed at the disposal of Haiti.
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He said CARICOM believed that it could make a tremendous difference in Haiti through the skills the Community could bring to bear in human resource development and institutional capacity-building.
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“The Community stands ready to make available its capacities in administrative reform; in education and training, including vocational education and certification; in engineering and construction for earthquake and hurricane resistance, in providing solutions for low and middle income populations; and in agriculture, tourism research and development,” Patterson told the Conference.
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Patterson also said that CARICOM welcomed the establishment of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF). All Donors, he said, most now commit to that Fund and its joint management. “The arrangements for the Fund, and more generally for support to Haiti, must facilitate, encourage and recognise this collaborative approach. This Donors’ Meeting is a good place to begin to recognise that all donors and donations, big and small, in kind or in cash are important,” Patterson said.

Q&A - Hopes battle fears in Haiti reconstruction challenge

4/2/2010
By Pascal Fletcher and Joseph Guyler Delva
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Nations, multilateral institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world have pledged nearly $10 billion for Haiti's reconstruction following the Jan. 12 earthquake. World leaders say the commitments expressed at Wednesday's donors conference in New York give the Western Hemisphere's poorest state an historic opportunity to escape its poverty trap and "build back better" from the natural disaster.
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Here are some questions and answers about the challenges involved in rebuilding Haiti:
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DID THE DONORS' PLEDGING CONFERENCE MEET EXPECTATIONS?
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In terms of promised financing, it exceeded them. The total pledged, $9.9 billion for the next three years and beyond, $5.3 billion for the next two years alone, was well over the initial short-term target of nearly $4 billion being sought by the United Nations, the conference organizer.
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Haiti's government has talked of a global needs figure of $11.5 billion, but donors seem to have heeded the appeal to deliver substantial sums quickly to tackle both continuing humanitarian needs and long-term reconstruction requirements.
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Of course promises are one thing and delivery another, as shown by many donor pledging conferences that responded to other world disasters and conflicts.
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"These pledges will need to turn into concrete progress on the ground. This cannot be a VIP pageant of half promises," Philippe Mathieu of Oxfam said in New York.
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WHO WILL LEAD HAITI'S RECONSTRUCTION?
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The United Nations and major donors have all been careful to stress that the reconstruction will be Haitian-led, respecting the sovereignty of the world's first black independent republic born in 1804 following a slave revolt.
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But this is something of a diplomatic fig leaf as donors recognize that the administration of President Rene Preval, a mild-mannered agronomist, was crippled by the Jan. 12 quake, losing ministries and scores of trained civil servants.
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An Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) is being co-chaired by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy for Haiti, and by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.
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On the Haitian side, the commission's members include legislators, government officials, local authorities, union and business representatives.
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International members include the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Community and donor states and institutions contributing more than $100 million to the recovery effort. These include the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Venezuela, the European Union, the World Bank, the United Nations and the Inter-American Development Bank.
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The IHRC will operate for 18 months before handing over to a Haitian Redevelopment Authority to be set up by the Haitian government. The World Bank will monitor the Multi-Donor Trust Fund created to pool the financial contributions.
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How much say will ordinary Haitians have in the reconstruction? Probably very little. Most quake survivors sheltering in camps in and around the wrecked Haitian capital had no idea the donors conference was even taking place.
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WERE WORRIES OVER TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY ADDRESSED?
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Yes, but this does not mean these worries will go away. Over decades of unrest and chaos in Haiti, the specter of corruption has become closely associated with the country's unenviable image as an economic basket case located just two hours flying time from the richest nation on the planet.
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Pressed about this at the post-meeting news conference, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other international figures took pains to stress that the reconstruction plan would have monitoring mechanisms to ensure funds were well supervised and spent.
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Ban announced a "robust" Internet-based tracking system to report on the delivery of financial pledges, emphasizing performance and results. Each pledge would be published and assistance flows tracked through the web-based system being established by the United Nations with Haiti's government.
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This should allay some fears over corruption and misuse but they are likely to hang over the reconstruction effort.
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WILL THE INITIATIVE FINANCE DEVELOPMENT, NOT DEPENDENCY?
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This is the real test of the reconstruction initiative, to turn Haiti from an aid-dependent "Republic of NGOs," as some derisively call it, into a viable sovereign state that can feed itself and stand on its own two feet economically.
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Suggested strategies abound, including emphasizing the private sector in the reconstruction, but whether these can really unlock Haiti from its poverty trap remains to be seen.
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"We need investment in the private sector in Haiti, both within Haiti and also from the diaspora, and also foreign investment," President Preval said in New York.
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Regine Barjon of the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce believes the army of foreign NGOs that have dominated development efforts in Haiti for decades should make way for private entrepreneurs, or concentrate on job-creating economic projects in agriculture or energy renewal.
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Some fear Haiti's reconstruction may trigger a free-for-all scramble by foreign companies looking to snap up lucrative rebuilding contracts in rubble removal, water and sewage, health, communications and other areas.
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"If you don't control the profiteering, some things will get done, but most money will go into non-Haitian pockets, or go only to some Haitians," said Dr. Enrique Ginzburg, chief medical officer of the University of Miami's Medishare and Global Institute initiatives.
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The University of Miami has operated a multi-purpose intensive care unit in Haiti since the quake and has a proposal to rebuild the country's health system. One of the university's doctors, Barth Green, has suggested a cap on profits for reconstruction projects so Haiti can reap the major benefit.
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There are doubts too about whether Haiti's government can absorb and handle a flood of rebuilding contract proposals.
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ARE ORDINARY HAITIANS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT RECONSTRUCTION?
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They are hopeful but wary. Too many are used to seeing past foreign aid disappear into the pockets of corrupt politicians or pay the salaries of foreign consultants and experts.
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"We hope the money will be used to really rebuild the nation ... Otherwise, we'll be saying the New York conference never took place," said Alvin Morisseau in Port-au-Prince. "I'd like to see Haiti transformed, with houses, roads, and all Haitians living better and together," said St. Cyr Guerline Occeda, a nurse. But she added: "Only God can change Haiti."

Donor nations help Haiti with earthquake reconstruction, debt

4/2/2010
Washington Post
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/01/AR201004...
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The budget of Haiti, a country of more than 9 million people, is slightly smaller than that of the Fairfax County school system, which has 173,500 students. Yet without urgent international aid for the earthquake-ravaged nation, Haiti will be unable to meet even its modest current annual expenditures of about $2.2 billion; at the moment, it is some $320 million short.
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That might not sound like much, but if the government is forced to print money to meet its immediate obligations, it will add inflation to the toxic mix of destabilizing forces it already faces. As Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, put it to a United Nations conference Wednesday: "There will be no medium term if we aren't able to manage the short term, which is mainly a question of budget support."
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That was among the more sobering topics in an otherwise hopeful U.N. conference of international donors for Haiti. Donors led by the United States, Europe and Brazil exceeded the goal of about $3.9 billion in pledges for reconstruction aid over the next two years. Since the Jan. 12 earthquake, donors have delivered faster and more fully on their promises of emergency relief than they did after a series of hurricanes and major storms in Haiti in 2008. So hurray for that.
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Still, there remains the urgent challenge of covering Haiti's deficit, which will require additional commitments by countries wary of giving directly to the Haitian government. After that, the broader agenda for lifting Haiti from its current wretched state remains daunting, long and complex. What follows is a primer on the good and the bad facing Haiti.
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The good. Donor nations have forgiven around 80 percent of Haiti's outstanding debt, which was well over $1 billion before the quake. That's a significant burden lifted from a country whose ministries, capital city and already severely limited infrastructure were badly damaged or destroyed in the temblor. Still, a number of creditors, including Taiwan, have not yet excused Haiti's remaining debt, which still totals several hundred million dollars.
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There are encouraging signs that Haiti's government and interim reconstruction agency, which is to be co-chaired by Bill Clinton, U.N. special envoy for Haiti, and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, a competent technocrat, will incorporate tough anti-corruption measures pushed by World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick and others. These include internal audits, an anti-corruption unit within the reconstruction agency, a commitment to expose malfeasance as it arises and a requirement that any official who handles relief funds make a full declaration of assets.
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Haitian officials also say they are prepared to accept an important role for outside experts in the reconstruction agency and to adhere to strict rules for transparency and accountability so that the allotment and status of funding is available online. Such steps will promote trust among Haitians, who have so far seen only modest results from emergency aid delivered. They should also help provide confidence for donors.
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The bad. It remains unclear to what extent non-governmental aid organizations in Haiti -- a huge but fractured sector and a critical part of relief and rebuilding -- are prepared to coordinate their efforts with the government and the interim reconstruction agency. Without such cooperation, Haiti's reconstruction could devolve into islands of development amid a sea of desperation.
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Moreover, as the rainy season begins, hundreds of thousands of people remain homeless and living in jury-rigged camps and shelters in the streets in and around Port-au-Prince. Of those, an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 are at immediate risk when ravines and hillsides turn to mud; avalanches are a particular worry. Haiti's government and international relief agencies must rush to relocate them and provide at least temporary dwellings before a new tragedy unfolds.
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Haiti's supine government, under the uncertain leadership of President René Préval, possessed limited administrative abilities even before Jan. 12. After the destruction of most of its agencies and departments and the deaths of rank-and-file officials, it is barely functioning. Critical records and databases such as voter rolls have been destroyed. Elections, crucial for the government's legitimacy but costly and complex to organize, are on hold. Tax collections, never robust, have fallen off to a trickle. Without dramatic improvement, the government will remain unable to meet its basic obligations. And land ownership is shrouded in confusion, inadequate or nonexistent documentation and fuzzy laws. That discourages foreign investment, hampers watershed management and interferes with resettling the homeless.
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The bottom line. Mr. Clinton, who has taken a personal interest in Haiti for decades, brings energy and his usual political savvy to the project of rebuilding Haiti -- or, as donors like to say, "building it better." He is enormously popular in Haiti. His efforts, and those of international donors, must be matched by those of Haiti's government and the hundreds of nongovernmental organizations operating there. Without that, this hopeful moment will pass, and Haiti's misery will deepen.

Haiti leader calls for 'red helmet' UN force (AFP - 4/2/2010)

In a speech before an donors conference at the UN headquarters on Wednesday to pledge help for his quake-hit nation, Preval argued there was a "need for creating a humanitarian intervention force under the auspices of the UN to coordinate response to disasters, which are bound to occur."
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Along with the January 12 quake that left over 220,000 people dead, Preval said recent major natural disasters such as the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean and 2008's Cyclone Nargis that struck Myanmar highlighted the need for rapid intervention to save the maximum numbers of lives. Preval was backed in his call by former French minister Nicole Guedj, who founded the "Red Helmet Foundation," to lobby for the humanitarian force.
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Guedj told AFP the aim for pushing the concept involves a vote of the UN General Assembly on establishing such a force. Having the 192 member states decide the issue would provide them "indisputable legitimacy," said Guedj.
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UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called the goal "a good project that deserves study and reflection,"she added.Wednesday's conference ended with some 50 international donors making 9.9-billion-dollars in pledges in a bid to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake.

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