Haiti progressing toward stability, but requires sustained work – Ban Ki-moon
The leaders of Haiti and the international community must persevere in their efforts to help restore stability to the impoverished country, which has made significant strides but “the potential for regression remains,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report released today.
“It is imperative that all those involved in the stabilization of Haiti redouble their efforts to enable the country to seize this historic opportunity to emerge from the destructive cycles of the past,” Mr. Ban writes in his latest report on the activities of the UN Stabilization Mission for Haiti (MINUSTAH).
In the report, Mr. Ban notes that collaboration among the political leadership has led to progress in judicial reform, an agreement on the establishment of a new Provisional Electoral Council and other compromise measures.
The security situation, he says, has also improved considerably, thanks in part to the support provided by the UN to the Haitian law-enforcement authorities. In addition, the economy is at its best in decades.
However Mr. Ban cautions that tensions between political actors and among branches of the Government have distracted from the reform agenda.
“The institutions of governance continued to suffer from a lack of qualified personnel, poor infrastructure and limited resources,” he says.
And, despite the improvement of security since 2007 – when major operations were undertaken against gangs – the potential for volatility remains, he stresses, citing an increase in criminality in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
According to the report, the average number of reported kidnappings per month for the period from December 2007 to February 2008 reached 28, up from 11 six months earlier. There are also indications that gangs may be trying to reorganize themselves.
In addition, the report says that anti-Government demonstrations have increased, many of them focusing on the rising cost of living.
Because of these challenges, Mr. Ban says that MINUSTAH’s assistance in security, rule-of-law reform and other key areas remains central to the successful strengthening of State institutions.
He adds that institutional reform cannot succeed without extensive bilateral support, expressing hope that the establishment of a “rule-of-law trust fund” will be useful for channelling assistance in this area.
The coordinated efforts of donors, together with those of the UN country team and the international financial institutions, are also vital to improve socio-economic conditions, which are inextricably linked to the achievement of stability, he maintains.
To keep the international community engaged in Haiti – and avoid a reversal of recent gains – the Secretary-General says that he will soon introduce a plan for the next phase of work, with measurable benchmarks.