[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#171: Political stalemate in Haiti halting aid (fwd)


Published Thursday, July 15, 1999, in the Miami Herald 

Political stalemate in Haiti halting aid

Herald Staff Writers 

A new United Nations report says that $570 million in aid for Haiti from
the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank had been held up at
the end of 1998 due to a two-year political stalemate in the country.

``As a result of the discords between the executive and legislative
branches,these new programs have still not been approved and will not be
until a new parliament is in place,'' says the report by an Ad Hoc
Advisory Group on Haiti from the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC).A new Parliament will not be in place until January 2000 at the
earliest even if elections are held as scheduled later this year, which
appears increasingly in doubt as President Rene Preval delays signing a
new electoral law.The report adds that ``many other [aid] partners are
in a similar situation which has had a very negative impact on the rate
of resource flows to Haiti. It is hoped that the upcoming elections will
provide the institutional framework required to ensure that aid flows to
Haiti can again become adequate.''The Advisory Group's report notes that
Haiti is the only country in the Western Hemisphere ranked as ``least
developed'' by the U.N. Development Fund.

Poverty study 

It cites a World Bank poverty study estimating that of the two-thirds of
the population that lives in rural areas, 80 percent are poor, and that
of those, about two-thirds are considered extremely poor. It also
estimates that 10 percent of the population is entirely destitute.
Haiti's development challenge, the report observes, ``is compounded by
the protracted political crisis that has further eroded the authority of
the state and its already diminished capacity to deliver basic social
services to the population.''The report is dated July 2, when it had
been widely expected that Preval would sign the new electoral law before
leaving July 4 for a Caribbean Community Summit in Trinidad. The law
would have provided for elections later this year.Instead, Preval
expressed concern about some provisions in the law prepared by
the country's Provisional Electoral Council, said he needed to study it
further and would announce a decision after he returned. 

The Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti also recommends that U.N. Secretary
General Kofi Annan maintain a special representative in Haiti along with
a political office with ``the responsibility of managing any new
civilian mission mandated by the United Nations.''

Missions near end 

The U.S.-led effort to have ECOSOC take over the umbrella role in Haiti
comes as two existing special missions -- a civilian police advisory
group and a joint U.N.-Organization of American States human rights
monitoring mission -- near the end of their mandates.
Neither is expected to be extended in its present form: the police
advisory mission because of resistance by China and Russia within the
U.N. Security Council, and the human rights monitoring mission because
of a hold on part of its funding by key Republican members of Congress.

There is, says the report, a ``recognized need to develop,'' in
collaboration with the rest of the international community, ``a
strategic and long-term U.N. program of support for Haiti which would
cover such areas as education, peace-building,poverty eradication,
durable recovery and sustainable development.''As part of that program,
the report cites a need for continued U.N. assistance for ``training and
professionalization'' of the new police force and renewal of a human
rights monitoring mission in Haiti that would ``reflect the challenges
of the next
two years.''