At a meeting of donors in Washington, DC, Haitian government leaders will seek to establish a “new paradigm of cooperation.” Why?
In spite of the manifest good will and the continued work on both parts, the Government does not fine in the provided aid the necessary resources to execute its program of action in favor of the population even when the international community is short of necessary directions, particularly in the chapter of governance, to draw out the full potential of the mechanisms of available aid.
According to the Government of Haiti, the “new paradigm” will permit:
- “Creation of a political forum which must serve Haiti and its partners to develop the common understanding of the situation and of the stakes to emerge permanently from the crisis.
- Launching a process of alignment of the existing projects and programs of cooperation with the governmental priorities.
- Adoption of a matrix of mutual commitments in matters of governance.
- Making functional the Framework of Partnership on the budgetary Support and application of a common matrix for all the backers participating in this form of aid.
- Revitalization of the joint sector planning in the priority sectors.”
I have read the government’s paper both the French original and the extremely poor English translation, a preview of which I gave you in the 2 quotes above. The documents can both be found on the website maintained by Relief Web. To access the French version click this link. The English version can be accessed through this link.
I take away from the document the following:
- Haiti desperately needs to fill a budget hole of $125 Million for the current fiscal year that ends in about 5 months. Finance Minister Daniel Dorsainvil said as much last week to a visiting Congressional delegation headed by Rep. John Conyers, and which included among others Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Jan Schawkosky (D-IL). According to Weiner, Dorsainvil stated that his dream budget would amount to $125 million.
- Haiti seeks more of a say in what international donors fund and how the funds are disbursed. It’s a tall order given that the government has made not enough efforts to stem corruption and inefficiency. Most recently the Haitian Social Security Agency – Office Nationale d’Assurance Vieillesse – came under serious scrutiny when investigations revealed that its served as a cash cow for government cronies and members of parliament who received sizable loans.
- Plans placed before the donors on April 14 do not amount to an economic strategy. In fact, Haiti admits just as much.
We must make a rendezvous in one year to make clear the lessons of the execution of this program and to then adopt a veritable strategy for growth, and doing that for the reduction of poverty.
There are many more things to say about the plans and projects outlined in the document. Donors will most likely paper over its intrinsic weakness, credit it to a government that is still not yet ready for prime time, but pressed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, President Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton, they will at the very least meet the Finance Minister’s “dream budget” and vow to keep talking while keeping their fingers crossed that major political, economic or natural disasters stay clear of Haiti’s path.
To make the point, Secretary Clinton will stop in Haiti before moving on to the Dominican Republic and then Trinidad which hosts the Summit of the Americas. Haiti is to hold elections on April 19 to fill a third of the seats in the Senate.