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#245: DEVELOPMENT: U.N. CHOOSES HAITI TO TEST LONG-TERM ... (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
DEVELOPMENT: U.N. CHOOSES HAITI TO TEST LONG-TERM ...
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
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.