“I am pleased that my colleagues agreed to conduct oversight over the dire economic situation facing the people of Haiti and the efforts of international donors to rebuild the country. Unfortunately, one year after Haiti’s tragic earthquake, the country is still devastated. More than 800,000 displaced people are still living in tent camps, and the conditions in many of these camps are appalling. A cholera epidemic has spread across the country. Mountains of rubble are piled in the streets, and there is a critical need for food, clean water and sanitation facilities. Meanwhile, little if any of the money that was pledged by international donors has reached the people of Haiti,”
The release notes further that
Following last year’s earthquake, an international donors’ conference was convened to raise funds for Haiti’s reconstruction. World governments and international organizations pledged $9 billion to rebuild Haiti. The World Bank pledged $399 million, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pledged $170 million, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) pledged $2.2 billion. Within the House of Representatives, the Financial Services Committee has oversight responsibilities over the IMF, the World Bank, and the IDB.
“Effective oversight is critical if the billions pledged by the IMF, the World Bank and other international donors are to be disbursed in a timely manner and used effectively to improve the lives of the Haitian people,” said Congresswoman Waters.
The office of the UN Special Envoy to Haiti reported last month that international donors had disbursed only 63.6 percent of their 2010 pledges by the end of the year: “Of the $2.01 billion pledged, $1.28 billion (63.6 percent) was disbursed by year-end.” Of this, there was only $223.6 million “in pooled grant” funding to the UN, IDB and World Bank. Considering this slow rate of disbursement, as well as these institutions’ problematic history in making funds available for much-needed humanitarian needs, this new oversight and accountability could be an important and welcome step forward.