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From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Dec. 27) IPS - Desperately needed foreign aid has  been
withheld from Haiti by some donors due to the country's  failure to
consolidate its political infrastructure, according to  a new report on
international development released here. 
   The report presented last week by the resident representative of  the
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Oscar Fernandez  Taranco, and
the Haitian Minister for Planning and Foreign  Cooperation, Anthony
Dessources, noted that in 1998 Haiti received  $356 million in development
aid from the international community,  far less that it received four years
   The continued failure to name a prime minister or establish a  working
parliament created a political crisis here which dragged  on from June 1998
to March 1999 and made the international  community disinclined to provide
much aid to Haiti, the report  states. 
   The 1998 disbursements for development aid by the international 
community were substantially less than the grants made to the  country in
the years following the return to power of former  President Jean-Bertrand
   Between 1995 and 1996, the Haitian government received about $957 
million from the international community for development programs,  not
counting additional monies provided by some non-governmental  organizations
   The breakdown of 1998 assistance showed that multilateral  contributions
amounted to about $187 million, bilateral aid  accounted for $167 million
with just under $3 million coming from  NGOs, the report said. 
   The report indicates that the institutional vacuum in both  executive
and legislative branches made it difficult to approve  cooperation
activities in the country. Because the crisis was so  persistent, some
grantors did not approve new projects applied for  by the Haitian
   Others, while continuing their assistance, removed Haiti's name  from
the list of priority countries, the report revealed. 
   "Development aid," said Fernandez Taranco, "is an important element  in
helping developing countries and plays an even more decisive  role for
countries with the smallest revenues, such as Haiti." 
   However, he added, efforts by Haiti's international partners can  also
have a considerable impact if they respond to the clear  political and
strategic choices made by the country itself, and are  fully briefed about
them by Haitian authorities. 
   During the course of his presentation, Fernandez Taranco called on 
Haitian leaders to create an environment favorable to formulating  and
implementing development policies and strategies, beginning,  he said, by
making sure that the coming legislative, municipal and  local elections
take place on time and without any hitches. 
   Planning Minister Dessources expressed the government's  disappointment
at the shortfall in funding being provided by the  international community
for the Government Action Plan (PAG),  presented last May by Jacques
Edouard Alexis, the country's prime  minister. 
   The Minister said that financial aid from the international  community
was not enough to effectively implement the PAG's  programs, which include
a plan to substantially boost living  conditions for the Haitian
   "At the official presentation of the plan by Prime Minister  Alexis,"
Dessources indicated, "we knew that international  financial assistance was
going to be limited because the parliament  had not yet ratified certain
lending agreements." 
   He lamented the fact that new accords signed by the government and 
international grantors, including the Inter-American Development  Bank
(BID) had been blocked in parliament. 
   However, he added, the government had believed that the  international
community, which had been enthusiastic about the  plan, was going to make a
special effort to help the newly  installed government meet its goals. 
   Unfortunately, said the Planning Minister, "we have not obtained  this
hoped-for assistance seven months after the PAG was officially  presented."

   While saying the amount was insufficient, Mr. Dessources would not 
reveal exact numbers regarding the contribution of the  international
community toward the PAG. 
   According to Dessources, Prime Minister Alexis had hoped to improve 
living conditions for the population and to create a favorable  climate for
the coming elections through full implementation of the  PAG.