Give aid directly to Haitian institutions to build back better, says UN report

23 June 2011
Haitians participate in cash-for-work scheme in Canape Vert's communities

A new United Nations report says that the international community can help create jobs and support the Haitian Government in ensuring basic services by investing directly in the country’s people and institutions.

“To revitalize Haitian institutions, we must channel money through them,” states the report prepared by the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, which has been monitoring the international community’s financial commitments to recovery efforts in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake.

“This is the best way to ensure the strengthening of public systems, improved management of resources, increased accountability between the Government and its citizens, and greater collective impact of our efforts.

“Perhaps most important, it will create jobs and build skills for the Haitian people,” says the report, entitled “Has Aid Changed: Channelling assistance to Haiti before and after the earthquake.”

Headed by Special Envoy and former United States president Bill Clinton, the Office – which was originally set up in May 2009 to assist the Haitian Government and people in carrying out their priorities with the help of the international community – has also been assessing the effectiveness of the aid provided to Haiti in the aftermath of last year’s disaster.

Aid to Haiti tripled between 2009 and 2010, increasing from $1.12 billion to an estimated $3.27 billion, according to the report. Approximately 99 per cent of post-quake relief aid was disbursed to bilateral and multilateral humanitarian agencies, the Red Cross movement and international non-State service providers, including non-governmental organizations and private contractors.

Prior to the quake, most aid to Haiti was in the form of direct grants and technical cooperation, the report also notes. After the quake, more than 60 per cent of relief and recovery aid from donors was provided in the form of direct grants to various recipients. An additional 13 per cent is being channelled to grants through the Haiti Reconstruction Fund.

The quake killed more than 200,000 people and made 1.3 million homeless, in addition to damaging public infrastructure and institutions. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted a few months ago, important progress has been achieved over the past year and a half. However, the small Caribbean nation continues to face daunting challenges, including a struggling economy, high unemployment and public institutions that are barely able to deliver essential services.

“We have heard from the Haitian people time and again that creating jobs and supporting the Government to ensure access to basic services are essential to restoring dignity,” states the report.

“And we have learned that in order to make progress in these two areas we need to directly invest in Haitian people and their public and private institutions.”

The report states that close partnerships between donors and Haitian institutions, based on open discussions, will be crucial so that the international community can invest a much greater proportion of its resources directly in the Haitian public and private sectors.

The Office of the Special Envoy says it will continue to explore innovative ways that donors can channel assistance to Haiti in order to “truly accompany the Haitian Government and its citizens in their efforts to build back better.”


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