Below is a blog by Brookings Institution Fellow Megan Bradley concerning her most recent trip to Haiti. She reminds us that even now 369,000 Haitians remain displaced. Finding durable solutions for their plight is a critical element of Haiti's ongoing recovery and long-term development. While NGOs can help, doing so requires, above all, a stronger Haitian state.
Mason Robbins is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the Grande Anse region of Haiti from 1999-2001. He lives in Cary, North Carolina and works as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist for a medical device manufacturer. In his spare time, he wrote a book about his Peace Corps experience in Haiti and will be self-publishing it, with all proceeds going to Haiti-related charitable causes. Below are some initial excerpts. We will post regular updates on the status of his book. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Since 2004, MINUSTAH has played a central but controversial role in maintaining stability in Haiti. However, MINUSTAH should not and is not going to be in Haiti forever. The International Crisis Group (ICG) describes steps that can prepare Haitian authorities for when they are fully in the lead without MINUSTAH support. Key to this effort will be doubling the number of police, with adequate vetting and training, so greater responsibility can be transferred to them over time. Until then, all plans for reconstituting the army should be tabled. A summary follows below.
As a result of Constitutional amendments published Tuesday, Haitians abroad now have the right to own land and run for lower levels of offices. Another amendment specifies that 30% of all government workers should be women. A new electoral council is also to be created. The hard work now comes in implementing these changes. An Associated Press article by Evens Sanon concerning the amendments follows below.
The U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) is mandated to release annual country-specific human rights reports that address individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2011 Haiti Human Rights Report is copied below. Haiti's development depends in large part upon the extent to which human rights are protected, especially for the vulnerable. That takes the engagement of civil society and a government with the capacity and political will to do so. As the report makes clear, much remains to be done before we get there.
Haitians may yet have a stadium to match their passion for soccer. Below is a New York Times blog about a stadium scheduled for construction in Cite Soleil. The majority of the $5 million dollar project will be financed by Delos LLC as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. The stadium will seat 12,000 but could be expanded to 20,000 over time. Best of all, it will be built with local materials and by local workers, maximizing the economic impact.
There have been a number of articles recently about Haiti's emerging mining industry. However, mining legislation has not been revised since 1976. The Associated Press article below notes that the Haitian government is presently drafting new laws concerning foreign investment in mining. Haiti could certainly use the jobs - but also needs protection against labor abuses and environmental degradation. I'll be watching this with interest and will post any updates in the comments section.
Below is a guest blog from Esther Smitheram, who visited Port au Prince to work with FONDAPS, a charity founded by CNN hero Patrice Millet. She describes her trip, the FONDAPS mission, and passes on a request by Patrice for volunteers with backgrounds in administation and/or project management. An appreciation for soccer is a plus! Please share with good candiates you may know.
Internet availability has come a long way since 2000, when a small number of cyber-cafes catered mainly to UN staff. Broadband availability will increase significantly as a result of Digicel's latest project - financing the construction of a USD $16m 200 km undersea cable to Haiti. For a Caribbean country with a large Diaspora, the internet helps people stay connected and do business. It also has untapped potential as a learning tool, helping students to be active rather than passive learners. More information follows.
The response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010 was exceedingly complicated and much did not go well. According to ALNAP, over 45 evaluations to date have examined why. The attached report by the Brookings Institution examines one shortcoming in particular - the failure to protect women and children in an urban environment. Haitian cities remain vulnerable to natural disasters - women and children should be at the forefront of prevention and response.