47 local and international NGOs and civil society groups held a meeting last week to comment on the upcoming donor conference in New York. Afterwards 26 groups signed a statement that decried the absense of local input in the reconstruction plans that are being put forward. The statement is available online here (in Spanish). The full text of their statement follows:

Haitian NGOs Decry Total Exclusion from Donors’ Conferences on Haitian Reconstruction

March 18, 2010

SANTO DOMINGO .- More than 26 organizations and social movements in Haiti reported that the process established for formulating the “Plan for Reconstruction of Haiti” at the donors' conference that concluded yesterday in Santo Domingo has been characterized by an almost total exclusion of Haitian social actors and civil society, and very limited participation by uncoordinated representatives of the Haitian State.

The path set for the reconstruction of Haiti in the National Plan of Post-Disaster Assessment may not meet the expectations of the Haitian people as it fails to address sustainable development needs, and instead focuses on restoring old development plans, rather than complete reorientation of the Haitian development model.

“We regret that this document, produced by a group of 300 technocrats, is presented to donors first, without first having exhausted a broad process of consultation with Haitian civil society.

We believe that the meeting scheduled for March 19 with some organizations of civil society in Port au Prince is no substitute for the actual mechanisms of participation of the various components of Haitian society in defining their collective future.

The crisis generated by the earthquake challenges us to initiate an alternative process aimed at defining a new national project, envisaging serious strategies to overcome exclusion, and economic and political dependence. Through this new orientation it is possible to move toward a new era of prosperity. We need to part with the old paradigms that have been followed up until now and develop an inclusive process of mobilization of social actors. To achieve this it is necessary to do the following:

1. Break with exclusion. Breaking this dynamic is an essential condition for true integration, based on social justice and for the strengthening of national cohesion. This involves the participation and mobilization of social forces traditionally excluded such as women, peasants, youth, artisans and so on. It also means targeted investment on the part of official institutions associated with current exclusion, and the reinvention of the Haitian state, whose practice should be geared towards transparency, institutional integrity, social justice, respect for diversity, and human rights.

2. Break with economic dependence. Build an economic model that encourages domestic production, with emphasis on agriculture and agro-industry turned first to the satisfaction of our food needs (cereals, tubers, milk, fruits and fish, meat etc.).

This new model should not be dominated by the logic of excessive accumulation of wealth or speculation, but oriented towards the welfare of the people, appreciation of national culture and the recovery of our national forests. It should also reduce dependence on fossil fuels by promoting a shift towards the use of the vast reserves of renewable energy available in our country.

3. Break with the excessive centralization of power and utilities. Develop a governance plan based on decentralization of decisions, services and resources and strengthening the capacities of local governments and the establishment of mechanisms to ensure the direct participation of actors of civil society in Haiti.

4. Break with the current destructive land ownership policies. Implement a process of reorganizing the physical space in rural areas and cities, allowing the development of public spaces and social institutions and resources, such as public schools, public parks, housing, etc.. This involves conducting comprehensive agrarian reform and urban reform which would enable solutions for the hundreds of thousands of people who are homeless. To meet these challenges it is necessary to redefine the role of the state and its functioning.

Building a new model of development requires a comprehensive, consistent and widespread mobilization of popular sectors with an interest in decentralization and greater access to public resources and services (health, education, clean water, sanitation, communication, power and housing). Those who were traditionally exploited and excluded should be the main protagonists in this process.

This national project that we foresee for the sustainable development of Haiti, must allow a new system of public education that facilitates access to quality education for all children, without discrimination, valuing the Creole language spoken by all people, raising awareness in favor of strong environmental protection, focusing on the preventing further vulnerability to natural disasters.

It is necessary to reorganize the health system with hospitals in various departments, valuation of traditional medicine, and particular attention to women's health.

Reorganization of the justice system will facilitate access to justice for all and will fight against corruption. We want a state that has the ability to manage and direct the country, a state capable of taking the lead and coordinating international aid efforts.

In terms of international relations, the country must develop new relationships with friendly countries, strengthening our ability to defend our interests and fostering friendship among states and peoples. With the Dominican Republic we must formalize relationships around various issues, including trade, binational markets, and migrants rights.

We request the cancellation of all of Haiti’s debts. The tragedy of the earthquake should not cause Haiti to spiral into greater indebtedness.

The social institutions and NGOs that have signed this statement call for mobilization and soon will undertake to organize an Assembly for the Haitian People to address the challenges and to define strategies for the alternative and sustainable reconstruction of our country.

PAPDA, JURISHA, ENFOFANM, GAAR, Fondation TOYA, AFASDA, Gammit Timoun, GIDH Group entevansyon, MPP, CROSE, KSIL, KONAREPA, PADAD, MOREPLA, SOFA, Mouvement scolaire Foi et Joie, Media Alternative, Comission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix, CHANDEL, ICPJLDH,REBA, TKL, Cellule Réflexions et d’Actions Sj, Confédération des Haïtiens pour la Réconciliation, VEDEK, CODHA

Participants in the March 13-14 Conference
5. Fondation TOYA
7. Gammit Timoun
8. GIDH Group entevansyon
9. MPP
11. KSIL
15. SOFA
16. Mouvement scolaire Foi et Joie
17. AlterPress
18. Comission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix
21. REBA
22. TKL
23. Cellule Réflexions et d’Actions Jésuites
24. Confédération des Haïtiens pour la Réconciliation

Dominican Republic

27. Centro Cultural Poveda
28. Red Ciudadana
30. Plataforma Ayuda Haití
31. SJRM
32. Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo
34. Cuidad Alternativa
35. Comité Dominicano DDHH
36. Red Urbana Popular
37. Confederación Nacional de Unidad Sindical
38. Redesol - IDEAC
40. Cooperativa Unión Integral
42. Foro Social Alternativo
43. Articulación Campesina (ANC)


44. Alianza International de Habitantes (AIH)
45. Asamblea de los Pueblos del Caribe
46. CASAL de Solidaritat con America Central de Prat de Llobregat.
47. Manos Unidas España