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From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>


GENEVA, (Jul. 27) IPS - The United Nations has selected Haiti, a Caribbean
nation marred by decades of dictatorship and economic  crises, as a test
case to experiment with new policies for  political and social recovery. 
   The U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) decided today to 
recommend that the U.N. establish a long-term aid program for Haiti  in
areas of education, peace-building, poverty eradication, durable  recovery
and sustainable development. 
   The U.N.'s focus for dealing with the problems of nations in crisis 
would now take a comprehensive approach, incorporating national 
authorities, the U.N. system, financial donors and non-governmental 
organizations. National authorities would be expected to take the  lead
role in all areas of the plan. 
   ECOSOC's 54 member nations chose Haiti as the first country for  the new
policies because it is "a model of the coordination of U.N.  work, which is
considered exemplary," explained Makarin Wibisono,  Indonesia's delegate to
the council. 
   In other countries, international organizations follow separate  plans
without the coordination that, surprisingly, is found in  Haiti, observed
Wibisono, an ECOSOC vice president. 
   The international community came together to help Haiti in 1994,  after
the restoration of the constitutional government led by  Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, who had been overthrown three years earlier  in a military coup. 
   Haiti, the only "least developed country" in the Western  hemisphere,
received approximately $534 million in foreign aid in  1995. 
   The total flow of foreign money fell to $423 million in 1996 and  to
$351 million in 1997, stabilizing last year at $353 million. 
   Janis Priedkalns, ECOSOC representative from Latvia, estimated that  aid
totals from recent years could serve as a reference point from  which to
calculate the total assistance required in a long-term  plan. 
   The annual per capita income of Haiti's population of nearly eight 
million is less than $250, much less than the $3,320 average income  of the
rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. 
   There is urgency in implementing the program because U.N.  assistance is
needed for the electoral process this year, said  Wibisono. Parliamentary
and local elections are slated for  December. Elections to choose the
successor to current President  Rene Preval are scheduled for November
   Representatives from international financial institutions stated  in
informal conversations that the flow of funds to Haiti would  increase
after the new parliament is installed, said Priedkalns,  a member of the
U.N. assessment team for Haiti. 
   The new Haitian parliament is expected to be in session by next  Jan. 11
at the latest. 
   ECOSOC plans to maintain the current Resident Coordinator mechanism  as
it has been "very effective in coordinating the activities" of  U.N.
agencies in Haiti. 
   The ECOSOC resolution asks the UN.. General Assembly to revise the 
orders for the International Civilian Mission in Haiti, a joint  mission of
the U.N. and the Organization of American States (OAS). 
   ECOSOC calls for the renewal of U.N. leadership in the mission. 
   The assessment team believes that another U.N. mission, the  Civilian
Police Mission in Haiti, should continue working in the  areas of
consolidating democracy, training the Haitian national  police and turning
it into a professional force. 
   The U.N. Civil Police Mission's new role would include supervising  the
Haitian experts who train new police officers. 
   ECOSOC President Paolo Fulci supported the choice of Haiti as the  first
country to receive this type of U.N. assistance because it  is an
especially difficult time for the island nation. 
   Haiti is a founding member of the U.N. and will celebrate its 
independence bicentennial in five years, the longest independence  in the
Americas after the United States, said Priedkalns.