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#233: From HOL: Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Partial Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti 

Economic and Social Council 

United Nations E/1999/103 
Economic and Social Council 

Distr.: General 
2 July 1999 
Original: English 

Substantive session of 1999 
Geneva, 5­30 July 1999 
Agenda item 7 

Coordination, programme and other questions 

Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti 

Note by the Secretary-General 

In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1999/4, the 
Secretary-General has the honour to transmit herewith to the Council, 
for its consideration, the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.
Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti 

I. Introduction 

II. General economic and national context 

III. Role of the United Nations system 

IV. Adequacy, coherence, effectiveness and coordination of the 
international community's assistance to Haiti 

A. Adequacy of assistance 

B. Coherence of assistance 

C. Effectiveness of assistance 

D. Coordination of assistance 
V. Supplementary observations 

VI. Recommendations 

A. Need for a long-term programme of support for Haiti 

B. Need for national stability 

C. Need for a secure domestic environment 

D. Need for a synthesis report on United Nations activities in Haiti 

I. Introduction 

1. In its resolution 1999/4 of 7 May 1999, the Economic and Social 
Council decided to create an Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti to submit 
recommendations to the Council, at its substantive session of 1999, on 
how to ensure that the assistance of the international community in 
supporting the Government of Haiti to achieve sustainable development is 
adequate, coherent, well coordinated and effective. 
2. In the same resolution, the Council decided that the Ad Hoc Advisory 
Group was to be composed of five Council members designated by the 
President of the Council on the basis of equitable geographical 
distribution and in consultation with regional groups and the Government 
of Haiti. Following those consultations, the Council approved the 
members of the Advisory Group as follows: 

Makarim Wibisono (Indonesia), Asian Group (Chairman of the Advisory 
Janis Priedkalns (Latvia), Eastern European Group 
Anund Briyay Neewoor (Mauritius), African Group 
Gelson Fonseca Jr. (Brazil), Latin American and Caribbean Group 
Michel Dubal (Canada), Western European and other States Group 

At some of the meetings of the Advisory Group, Mr. Fonseca was 
represented by Enio Cordeiro, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent 
Mission of Brazil to the United Nations. 

3. Haitian authorities were consulted by the Advisory Group at all 
stages in the preparation of the present report. In accordance with 
Council resolution 1999/4, operative paragraph 2, the Advisory Group 
sought to maintain a constant dialogue with the official representatives 
of Haiti and to involve them in all its activities. 

4. The first meeting of the Advisory Group was convened on Thursday, 13 
May 1999. The Chairman of the Advisory Group, Makarim Wibisono, convened 
and chaired a series of meetings and briefing sessions aimed at 
gathering information from various sources and for considering the most 
appropriate way for the Council to contribute to the ongoing efforts 
towards promoting sustainable development in Haiti. 

5. On 28 May 1999, the Group held its first briefing with officials from 
the World Bank; the United Nations Development Programme; and the 
Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping 
Operations, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and 
the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations 

6. A meeting was held on 7 June 1999 with the following representatives 
of the United Nations in Haiti: Julian Harston, representative of the 
Secretary-General in Haiti and head of the United Nations Civilian 
Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH), Colin Granderson, executive head of 
the International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH), a joint 
Organization of American States (OAS)/United Nations mission, and Oscar 
Fernández-Taranco, United Nations resident coordinator in Haiti and 
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative as 
well as deputy representative of the Secretary-General. 

7. On 15 July 1999, the Chairman of the Advisory Group convened a 
working lunch for its members, together with representatives of "Friends 
of Haiti" group of countries, namely Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, 
the United States of America and Venezuela. The discussions involved an 
exchange of views on the developments in Haiti and the future of the 
United Nations presence in that country. 

8. Following an invitation of the World Bank, which is mandated to 
coordinate donor assistance to Haiti, the Advisory Group went to 
Washington, D.C., on 18 June 1999 to take part in an informal Haiti 
donors meeting. The meeting, organized by the Bank, consisted of a 
series of presentations by the various stakeholders of development 
assistance, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the 
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Union, the United 
States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Canadian 
International Development Agency (CIDA). A UNDP representative also 

9. From 27 to 29 June 1999, the Advisory Group paid a visit to Haiti, 
organized by the office of the representative of the Secretary-General, 
with the help of the Haitian Government. The visit included: 

(a) A meeting with the President of Haiti, René Préval; a working 
session with the Prime Minister, Jacques Edouard Alexis, and Fred 
Joseph, Minister of the Economy and Finance; and working sessions with 
the Secretary of State for Public Security, Robert Manuel, as well as 
other authorities in Haiti; 

(b) Meetings with the Haitian political leaders and members of a broad 
spectrum of civil society; 

(c) Meetings with the "Friends of Haiti" group of countries; 

(d) Heads of the United Nations agencies involved in Haiti. 
10. The Advisory Group wishes to express its deep gratitude to all the 
entities at the multilateral and bilateral levels involved in assisting 
Haiti in completing its task, in particular the World Bank, the office 
of the representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti, and the office 
of the resident coordinator in Haiti. The latter, besides providing a 
continuos and multifaceted help, prepared a brief which constituted an 
important input for the present report. The Advisory Group also wishes 
to thank the Department of Economic and Social Affairs for its 
unstinting support. 

II. General economic and national context 

11. As noted in the last report of the Secretary-General to the Security 
Council on the situation in Haiti (S/1999/579), the country has been 
slowly recovering from its most recent political crisis since April 
1997. In March 1999, a new Prime Minister was appointed, and in April 
1999 a new transitional Government was formed. A new Provisional 
Electoral Council has also been created, and has started work on 
preparations for legislative and local elections, which are expected to 
take place by December 1999, with a new Parliament scheduled to be in 
place by 11 January 2000. Legislative elections will be followed by 
Presidential elections, which are planned for November 2000. 

12. The Secretary-General has characterized as encouraging the steps 
taken so far by the Haitian political leadership in its efforts to 
resolve the protracted political crisis through elections, and has 
called on all Haitian political leaders to participate constructively in 
the electoral process to ensure its success. In recognition of the fact 
that the forthcoming legislative and local elections are the only viable 
way to resolve the present crisis, the transition Government, in its 
recently issued plan of action, announced plans to work closely with the 
Provisional Electoral Council to ensure free, fair and transparent 
elections, and to seek to revive the interest in participation of the 
Haitian population in the democratization process. For their part, the 
donor community and the United Nations system have pledged to actively 
support the electoral process through direct financial, logistical and 
technical support, on the provision that the Government takes adequate 
measures to ensure security and transparency. This support is being 
provided in conjunction with the role of political facilitation being 
played by the "Friends of Haiti" Group of Ambassadors, the 
representative of the Secretary-General, and a number of personalities, 
including the former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias. 

13. Haiti continues to be a least developed country, the only one in the 
western hemisphere. Its indicators on situational development compare 
poorly at both regional and interregional levels. Haiti's annual per 
capita income of US$ 250 is significantly below the average of US$ 3,320 
for Latin America and the Caribbean region. Based on its assessment in 
March 1998 of poverty in Haiti, the World Bank estimates that about 80 
per cent of the approximately two thirds of the population that live in 
the rural areas are poor, with about two thirds of those considered to 
be extremely poor. In addition to the low gross domestic product (GDP) 
per capita, Haiti also has serious wealth distribution issues to 
address. It is estimated that about 4 per cent of the population own 66 
per cent of the country's entire resources, 16 per cent own 14 per cent, 
70 per cent own barely 20 per cent, while 10 per cent of the population 
is considered to be entirely destitute. 

14. Despite these negative social indicators, trends in overall economic 
performance since the return from exile of the constitutional Government 
in 1994 show some positive achievements. The latest IMF economic 
performance review mission conducted in March 1999 highlighted some of 
these achievements. 

15. The current IMF-monitored economic programme put in place in 
November 1998 as a follow-up to the 1997/98 programme is designed to 
maintain macroeconomic stability and make further progress in the area 
of structural reform while the political situation settles, and while a 
possible new enhanced structural adjustment facility programme is being 
considered. The 1998/99 programme was formulated taking into 
consideration the negative effects of hurricane Georges. It aims to 
promote output growth, contain inflation and central government budget 
deficits, strengthen international reserves and continue support for 
structural reforms in the public enterprise sector. The programme also 
takes into account and endorses donor-supported sectoral policies to 
improve efficiency in the areas of education, health, justice, 
infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance. 

16. These relatively positive trends must however be viewed within the 
framework of enormous development challenges, particularly the need to 
combat extreme mass poverty while uniting the country around a shared, 
positive and long-term vision of its future. This challenge 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. At another level, the 
challenge is that of managing the development process to ensure that 
immediate national and international actions to alleviate extreme and 
massive poverty do not lose sight of the need to build strong national 
governance institutions in the medium and long term. 

17. Beyond the fundamental requirement to reinstate and significantly 
improve upon the basic functions of the State and the institutions of 
government, the World Bank poverty assessment report (1998) also 
recommended a number of measures that would need to be taken to ensure 
sustainable economic and social development in Haiti. These include (a) 
strengthening macroeconomic stability and reducing distortions so as to 
encourage private sector investment; (b) improving the quality of 
government spending in order to invest in basic social services and 
raise the level of human capital; and (c) rationalizing the assistance 
provided by external donors. 

18. The mandate of the newly formed transitional Government, installed 
in April 1999, is limited to facilitating the organization of the 
upcoming general elections and identifying short- and medium-term 
priorities that a subsequent government could start to address on a more 
sustainable basis. Given the present situation in which the Government 
is called upon to operate, its actions at the time can only be of a 
short-term nature, with its first priority being given to organizing 
free and fair elections as soon as possible to help guarantee 
institutional stability. Its action in the above-mentioned sectors will 
thus consist of short-term projects and policy reflections to identify 
viable approaches for subsequent governments. 

III. Role of the United Nations system 

19. The United Nations system in Haiti is made up of: 

(a) Two missions, MIPONUH, in charge of the civilian police, and 
MICIVIH, a human rights observation mission. These missions report 
through the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of 
Political Affairs, respectively, to the Security Council and the General 

(b) Seven agencies (UNDP, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Food Programme 
(WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 
(FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural 
Organization (UNESCO), the Pan American Health Organization/World Health 
Organization), who report through their respective governing bodies and 
the Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly; 

(c) The Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank and IMF). 

In addition, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is 
permanently associated with all United Nations system activities in 

20. Unlike the bilateral and other multilateral institutions represented 
in Haiti, the United Nations agencies have a degree of flexibility that 
has enable d them to work closely with both the Government and NGOs in 
assisting the population at the grass-roots level, both during and after 
the embargo that followed the 1991 military coup. The areas of 
assistance include the following: 

(a) Good governance, including support to the democratization process, 
police mentoring, judicial system reform, human rights, state 
modernization and reforms, decentralization, participatory local 
governance and electoral support; 

(b) Universal health care, including the fight against human 
immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and 
population issues; 

(c) Disaster prevention, preparedness and management; 

(d) Promoting productive employment; 

(e) Basic education for all; 

(f) Protection and restoration of the environment; 

(g) Food security; 

(h) Cultural development and tourism; 

(i) Culture of peace and migration; 
(j) Support for coordination mechanisms of Governments, donors, and the 
United Nations system. 

21. Excluding the World Bank and IMF, the United Nations system's 
disbursements in Haiti in support of socio-economic development 
objectives stand at US$ 127.8 million since the return of the 
constitutional Government. During this period, UNDP has been the largest 
United Nations system donor, with US$ 54 million disbursed between 1995 
and 1998. Since 1998, however, UNDP disbursements have greatly 
diminished, due in part to an overall drop in UNDP resources at the 
central level. Other important United Nations system donors include WFP, 
WHO and UNICEF, with disbursements of more than US$ 10 million each 
between 1995 and 1998. 
22. At a meeting held in April 1999 chaired by the resident coordinator, 
who also acts as the UNDP resident representative and deputy 
representative of the Secretary-General, it was agreed that progress 
achieved in the field of inter-agency coordination be further 
consolidated through the preparation of a common country assessment by 
the end of 1999. This is a key step under the Secretary-General's reform 
programme as it will lead to the formulation of a United Nations 
development assistance framework in 2000, as well as harmonized 
programming cycles by 2002. It should also complement the World Bank's 
country development framework. Thanks to the common country assessment, 
the United Nations agencies will have the elements necessary to define a 
long-term United Nations development assistance programme for Haiti, and 
to further harmonize and integrate their operations. 
23. In response to the more urgent requirements for disaster 
preparedness, regular meetings of the disaster management team have been 
held in order to prepare for the hurricane season. In 1999, such 
activities by the United Nations system in Haiti will benefit from a 
newly approved UNDP-financed technical assistance project, which in 
collaboration with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian 
Affairs will reinforce the capacity of the Haitian authorities to 
prevent and manage disasters. 

IV. Adequacy, coherence, effectiveness and coordination of the 
international community's assistance to Haiti 

A. Adequacy of assistance 

24. The international community, including the United Nations system, 
responded to the return of the constitutional Government from exile at 
the end of 1994 with a resumption of official development assistance, 
beginning in 1995. The total volume of aid, however, has been dropping 
quite significantly. Ongoing programmes are currently limited to levels 
formulated and approved before the June 1997 electoral controversy and 
subsequent resignation of the Government. As shown in table 1, total 
bilateral and multilateral assistance to Haiti has dropped by about 35 
per cent between 1995 and 1998. Far from signifying a deliberate 
decision by donors to reduce aid to Haiti, this drop is directly linked 
to absorptive capacity constraints and non-approval of available loans 
by the Haitian Parliament. As of December 1998, IDB and the World Bank 
alone has a combined total of over US$ 570 million worth of new 
programmes and projects awaiting approval by the Haitian Parliament or 
finalization by the formulation missions. As a result of the discords 
between the executive and legislative branches, these new programmes 
have still not been approved and will not be until a new parliament is 
in place. Many other 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 
25. Although Haiti's foreign assistance needs are enormous, it should be 
said that despite this significant drop, Haiti is still a major 
recipient of development assistance, with a per capita aid of $74 in 
1995, $57 in 1996 and $47 in 1997, compared to an average $12 per capita 
for the developing world at large. 

B. Coherence of assistance 

26. On the whole, it can be said that external assistance to Haiti since 
the return of the constitutional Government has sought to respond to 
national development needs identified by the Government and the 
international community. The framework within which most of these needs 
were identified at the time was the emergency recovery programme to 
which donors pledged funds. So far, the areas of concentration of 
foreign assistance have addressed the priority areas contained in this 
programme, as well as in other jointly formulated bilateral and 
multilateral programmes. However, the aid policies of some partners have 
required them to work directly at the grass-roots level, using 
international NGOs as executing agents. While this approach has helped 
achieve significant results at this level ...