Haiti Relief & Reconstruction Watch

Haiti Relief & Reconstruction Watch

Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch is a blog that tracks multinational aid efforts in Haiti with an eye towards ensuring they are oriented towards the needs of the Haitian people, and that aid is not used to undermine Haitians' right to self-determination.

The level of grant support is only marginally higher than in 2009, before the earthquake, while overall spending levels are actually below 2009 levels. Despite the billions pledged in aid, budget support for the Haitian government was lower in 2011 than it had been in 2009.

The January 12 earthquake, which caused an estimated $8 billion in damages, led the Haitian economy to contract by 5.5 percent in 2010. With the prospect of large reconstruction projects backed by donor pledges of $4.6 billion, the economy was expected to begin growing rapidly in 2011. The IMF projected growth of over 8.5 percent in their first review of Haiti’s economic program in May:

Real GDP is expected to grow by 8.6 percent, assuming concerted strong efforts by the authorities and the international community to speed up the reconstruction.

As we have written about previously, disbursements from donors have been slow to materialize, a problem only exacerbated by the five months it took to form a new government. In addition to the effects on the ground, over 550,000 still living in tarp shelters with little services, the slow pace of reconstruction is also slowing economic growth. Updated projections from the IMF now expect slower growth of 6 percent in 2011.

Surprisingly, given the immense needs, government spending contracted sharply in 2011 compared to 2010. In 2010, with substantial grant support (including direct budget support) from donors, government spending reached 27.5 percent of GDP. In 2011 expenditures were significantly lower at 19.7 percent of GDP as grants decreased by ten percentage points to just 7.5 percent of GDP in 2011. The level of grant support is only marginally higher than in 2009, before the earthquake, while overall spending levels are actually below 2009 levels. Despite the billions pledged in aid, budget support for the Haitian government was lower in 2011 than it had been in 2009. The decreased expenditure most drastically affected capital expenditures, which fell from 16 percent of GDP in 2010 to below 10 percent in 2011.

Table I. Economic Indicators (In percent of GDP)

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

Real GDP Growth

2.9

-5.4

6.1

7.5

Total Revenue and Grants

17.9

29.6

20.4

28

   Domestic Revenue

11.2

11.9

12.9

13.5

   Grants

6.7

17.8

7.5

14.5

      Of Which Budget Support

1.5

3.4

1.1

0.7

Total Expenditure

22.3

27.5

19.7

32.6

   Current Expenditures

11.5

11.5

10

11.1

   Capital Expenditures

10.8

16

9.8

21.5

As can be seen in Table I, the IMF is expecting a reversal of the decline in spending for 2012, with capital expenditures more than doubling as a percent of GDP. Certainly much of the responsibility will rest with President Martelly and the newly formed Conille government, but donors pledged significant support in March 2010, much of which has been slow to show up in Haiti. A recent World Bank report, while touting many successes of the reconstruction, acknowledges that:

[P]rogress has not kept pace with the expectations of the population, which increases the risk of volatility, and has led to criticism of the international community in the media.  

Based on the lowered projections for GDP growth, progress has not kept pace with the expectations of the International Monetary Fund either.

The level of grant support is only marginally higher than in 2009, before the earthquake, while overall spending levels are actually below 2009 levels. Despite the billions pledged in aid, budget support for the Haitian government was lower in 2011 than it had been in 2009.

The January 12 earthquake, which caused an estimated $8 billion in damages, led the Haitian economy to contract by 5.5 percent in 2010. With the prospect of large reconstruction projects backed by donor pledges of $4.6 billion, the economy was expected to begin growing rapidly in 2011. The IMF projected growth of over 8.5 percent in their first review of Haiti’s economic program in May:

Real GDP is expected to grow by 8.6 percent, assuming concerted strong efforts by the authorities and the international community to speed up the reconstruction.

As we have written about previously, disbursements from donors have been slow to materialize, a problem only exacerbated by the five months it took to form a new government. In addition to the effects on the ground, over 550,000 still living in tarp shelters with little services, the slow pace of reconstruction is also slowing economic growth. Updated projections from the IMF now expect slower growth of 6 percent in 2011.

Surprisingly, given the immense needs, government spending contracted sharply in 2011 compared to 2010. In 2010, with substantial grant support (including direct budget support) from donors, government spending reached 27.5 percent of GDP. In 2011 expenditures were significantly lower at 19.7 percent of GDP as grants decreased by ten percentage points to just 7.5 percent of GDP in 2011. The level of grant support is only marginally higher than in 2009, before the earthquake, while overall spending levels are actually below 2009 levels. Despite the billions pledged in aid, budget support for the Haitian government was lower in 2011 than it had been in 2009. The decreased expenditure most drastically affected capital expenditures, which fell from 16 percent of GDP in 2010 to below 10 percent in 2011.

Table I. Economic Indicators (In percent of GDP)

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

Real GDP Growth

2.9

-5.4

6.1

7.5

Total Revenue and Grants

17.9

29.6

20.4

28

   Domestic Revenue

11.2

11.9

12.9

13.5

   Grants

6.7

17.8

7.5

14.5

      Of Which Budget Support

1.5

3.4

1.1

0.7

Total Expenditure

22.3

27.5

19.7

32.6

   Current Expenditures

11.5

11.5

10

11.1

   Capital Expenditures

10.8

16

9.8

21.5

As can be seen in Table I, the IMF is expecting a reversal of the decline in spending for 2012, with capital expenditures more than doubling as a percent of GDP. Certainly much of the responsibility will rest with President Martelly and the newly formed Conille government, but donors pledged significant support in March 2010, much of which has been slow to show up in Haiti. A recent World Bank report, while touting many successes of the reconstruction, acknowledges that:

[P]rogress has not kept pace with the expectations of the population, which increases the risk of volatility, and has led to criticism of the international community in the media.  

Based on the lowered projections for GDP growth, progress has not kept pace with the expectations of the International Monetary Fund either.

Haitian Cholera Victims Seek Justice

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) held a press conference today in New York regarding the complaint [PDF] they filed Thursday on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims seeking damages from the UN. The complaint states that

The cholera outbreak is directly attributable to the negligence, gross negligence, recklessness and deliberate indifference for the health and lives of Haiti’s citizens by the United Nations (“UN”) and its subsidiary, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (“MINUSTAH”).

IJDH Director Brian Concannon explained on Democracy Now! this morning:

“We’re hoping that this is the case that’s too big to fail. That the evidence against the United Nations is so overwhelming here that the U.N. will have no choice but to finally take responsibility for its malfeasance.” “What we’re asking for, what our clients are asking for, is the U.N. and international community to step up and to give Haiti the sanitation infrastructure it needs to stop the epidemic.”

The AP’s Trenton Daniel summed up the goals of the complaint in an article today:

Concannon said he hoped the U.N. mission would set up a tribunal to evaluate the claims filed on behalf of the cholera victims. He also said he hoped the U.N. force would fund and create a lifesaving program that would provide sanitation, potable water and medical treatment. He also said he wants a public apology.

“We’re obviously hoping that the U.N. will step up and do the right thing,” he said by telephone.

If that doesn’t happen, the group plans to file the claims in a Haitian court, he said.

As the complaint [PDF] notes, the UN has failed to provide Haitians with the mechanisms they need to seek redress that are required under the Status of Forces Agreement governing MINUSTAH’s legal status:

the UN has failed to establish a standing claims commission as required by the Status of Forces Agreement (“SOFA”).  Under the SOFA, the claims commission is the forum that has jurisdiction to hear  civil  claims of Haitians injured by MINUSTAH’s actions.  The UN has yet to establish this commission, leaving victims without a clear route to seek accountability and relief.

As ABC News’ Matthew Mosk and Rym Montaz reported, IJDH’s complaint was “filed with the UN under the rules established when the international body first deployed peacekeepers to Haiti.” The complaint

describes how cholera is endemic in Nepal, how new Nepalese troops arrived in the village of Meille in October of 2010, how the troops failed to maintain sanitary conditions at their encampment, how witnesses described dark plumes of refuse leaching into a major waterway, and how cholera exploded in the region near the Meille camp in the weeks after their arrival.

Further, it cites numerous independent studies that match the strain of cholera to the one in Nepal using DNA and other evidence. One study, published in the medical journal The Lancet in July, found that all the evidence pointed to the Nepalese UN troops.

The UN’s response to the evidence that MINUSTAH troops had introduced the cholera strain, as we’ve noted over the past year, has been one of denial. Even in September, as ABC News reported, Anthony Banbury, the assistant secretary general for field support said, “We don’t know if it was the U.N. troops or not. That’s the bottom line.”

But the complaint does not equivocate on MINUSTAH’s responsibility, and it also suggests that more complaints are to come:

The conduct of the UN and MINUSTAH has  caused severe injury to and death of the country’s citizens.  In this petition and others to follow, the victims seek effective remedy.  They seek a fair and impartial hearing.

For their part, the cholera survivor petitioning the UN constitute a diverse group. From the complaint:

They are individuals who are filing a claim (a) for their own injuries from cholera; (b) as parents on behalf of their minor children who contracted cholera; or (c) as next-of-kin on behalf of family members who died from cholera. Most Petitioners are from the Mirebalais,  St. Marc, Hinche, and Port-au-Prince regions of Haiti.

They include, for example,

the daughter of a man who was the sole provider for her family. The father fell
sick in the middle of the night with continuous diarrhea. His family rushed him to the Cholera Treatment Center in Mirebalais. After three days, his condition worsened and he was transferred to the hospital. There, the daughter watched as her father lay still for hours until he died.  The daughter and her family are now struggling to survive without any financial support.

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) held a press conference today in New York regarding the complaint [PDF] they filed Thursday on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims seeking damages from the UN. The complaint states that

The cholera outbreak is directly attributable to the negligence, gross negligence, recklessness and deliberate indifference for the health and lives of Haiti’s citizens by the United Nations (“UN”) and its subsidiary, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (“MINUSTAH”).

IJDH Director Brian Concannon explained on Democracy Now! this morning:

“We’re hoping that this is the case that’s too big to fail. That the evidence against the United Nations is so overwhelming here that the U.N. will have no choice but to finally take responsibility for its malfeasance.” “What we’re asking for, what our clients are asking for, is the U.N. and international community to step up and to give Haiti the sanitation infrastructure it needs to stop the epidemic.”

The AP’s Trenton Daniel summed up the goals of the complaint in an article today:

Concannon said he hoped the U.N. mission would set up a tribunal to evaluate the claims filed on behalf of the cholera victims. He also said he hoped the U.N. force would fund and create a lifesaving program that would provide sanitation, potable water and medical treatment. He also said he wants a public apology.

“We’re obviously hoping that the U.N. will step up and do the right thing,” he said by telephone.

If that doesn’t happen, the group plans to file the claims in a Haitian court, he said.

As the complaint [PDF] notes, the UN has failed to provide Haitians with the mechanisms they need to seek redress that are required under the Status of Forces Agreement governing MINUSTAH’s legal status:

the UN has failed to establish a standing claims commission as required by the Status of Forces Agreement (“SOFA”).  Under the SOFA, the claims commission is the forum that has jurisdiction to hear  civil  claims of Haitians injured by MINUSTAH’s actions.  The UN has yet to establish this commission, leaving victims without a clear route to seek accountability and relief.

As ABC News’ Matthew Mosk and Rym Montaz reported, IJDH’s complaint was “filed with the UN under the rules established when the international body first deployed peacekeepers to Haiti.” The complaint

describes how cholera is endemic in Nepal, how new Nepalese troops arrived in the village of Meille in October of 2010, how the troops failed to maintain sanitary conditions at their encampment, how witnesses described dark plumes of refuse leaching into a major waterway, and how cholera exploded in the region near the Meille camp in the weeks after their arrival.

Further, it cites numerous independent studies that match the strain of cholera to the one in Nepal using DNA and other evidence. One study, published in the medical journal The Lancet in July, found that all the evidence pointed to the Nepalese UN troops.

The UN’s response to the evidence that MINUSTAH troops had introduced the cholera strain, as we’ve noted over the past year, has been one of denial. Even in September, as ABC News reported, Anthony Banbury, the assistant secretary general for field support said, “We don’t know if it was the U.N. troops or not. That’s the bottom line.”

But the complaint does not equivocate on MINUSTAH’s responsibility, and it also suggests that more complaints are to come:

The conduct of the UN and MINUSTAH has  caused severe injury to and death of the country’s citizens.  In this petition and others to follow, the victims seek effective remedy.  They seek a fair and impartial hearing.

For their part, the cholera survivor petitioning the UN constitute a diverse group. From the complaint:

They are individuals who are filing a claim (a) for their own injuries from cholera; (b) as parents on behalf of their minor children who contracted cholera; or (c) as next-of-kin on behalf of family members who died from cholera. Most Petitioners are from the Mirebalais,  St. Marc, Hinche, and Port-au-Prince regions of Haiti.

They include, for example,

the daughter of a man who was the sole provider for her family. The father fell
sick in the middle of the night with continuous diarrhea. His family rushed him to the Cholera Treatment Center in Mirebalais. After three days, his condition worsened and he was transferred to the hospital. There, the daughter watched as her father lay still for hours until he died.  The daughter and her family are now struggling to survive without any financial support.

After the January earthquake, a number of donors and NGOs began large scale food distribution programs. Post earthquake surveys had found a large spike in food insecure households directly after the earthquake.  A recent World Bank Policy Research Working Paper from Damien Échevin notes that three weeks after the earthquake “31% of the households were experiencing limited or severe food insecurity (22% and 9% respectively), that is a [sic] nearly double the food insecurity prevalence observed before the earthquake.” In a follow up survey four months later, the number of food insecure households had decreased, but only to 27 percent. Échevin concludes:

So, shortly after the earthquake, assistance programs allocation prove not to have been effective in targeting the most vulnerable people in the directly affected area. Five months after the earthquake, it appears that things had not really changed: although food assistance may have contributed to decrease the prevalence of food insecurity over the period, authorities still seemed unable to provide an efficient allocation of assistance programs…indeed, assistance also appeared to benefit less to families headed by women and less to households with disabled members, which is contradictory with an “optimal” targeting that would make those most vulnerable eligible for assistance in priority.

The World Bank report also has some interesting conclusions about Food-for-Work and Cash-for-Work plans:

When focusing of cash and food-for-work programs, we find that these programs are not specifically targeted at people who are most in need, be it because of their low level of subsistence or because of earthquake-related losses. Pre-earthquake participation to programs appears to be an important determinant of post-earthquake participation. What is more, cash-for-work is very rarely declared as the main source of household income.

The report provides some statistical backing to the first-hand accounts of the problems with food distribution in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and with the problematic Cash-for-Work programs from USAID/OTI.

After the January earthquake, a number of donors and NGOs began large scale food distribution programs. Post earthquake surveys had found a large spike in food insecure households directly after the earthquake.  A recent World Bank Policy Research Working Paper from Damien Échevin notes that three weeks after the earthquake “31% of the households were experiencing limited or severe food insecurity (22% and 9% respectively), that is a [sic] nearly double the food insecurity prevalence observed before the earthquake.” In a follow up survey four months later, the number of food insecure households had decreased, but only to 27 percent. Échevin concludes:

So, shortly after the earthquake, assistance programs allocation prove not to have been effective in targeting the most vulnerable people in the directly affected area. Five months after the earthquake, it appears that things had not really changed: although food assistance may have contributed to decrease the prevalence of food insecurity over the period, authorities still seemed unable to provide an efficient allocation of assistance programs…indeed, assistance also appeared to benefit less to families headed by women and less to households with disabled members, which is contradictory with an “optimal” targeting that would make those most vulnerable eligible for assistance in priority.

The World Bank report also has some interesting conclusions about Food-for-Work and Cash-for-Work plans:

When focusing of cash and food-for-work programs, we find that these programs are not specifically targeted at people who are most in need, be it because of their low level of subsistence or because of earthquake-related losses. Pre-earthquake participation to programs appears to be an important determinant of post-earthquake participation. What is more, cash-for-work is very rarely declared as the main source of household income.

The report provides some statistical backing to the first-hand accounts of the problems with food distribution in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and with the problematic Cash-for-Work programs from USAID/OTI.

In addition to the problems of allocating food aid discussed in the previous post, another significant problem is the lack of local procurement, which can be more effective than importing in emergency situations. The U.S. government, which has begun a local and regional procurement pilot project, found in a 2009 study (PDF) that:

Local and regional purchase is an important tool, enabling food aid agencies to respond quickly to emergency food needs, both during and after food crises and disasters.

Local and regional purchase can be a timely and effective complement to in-kind food aid programs.

The pilot project is also “based on the view that local and regional purchase has potential value for strengthening and expanding commercial markets, stimulating local and regional production, and reducing emergency food aid requirements.”  Yet thus far, the pilot project has only limited funds and was undertaken in just 12 countries in 2010 (only seven countries are benefactors of the program in 2011).  Together the 12 country programs made up less than one percent of all U.S. food aid in Fiscal Year 2010.

After the earthquake, noting that Haiti has gone from producing nearly 50 percent of their annual rice consumption in 1988 to around 15 percent now, CEPR published a report on food aid  that proposed “that international donors seeking to support Haiti’s agricultural sector and provide food to those in need could help Haiti become more self-sufficient by” using local procurement to purchase Haitian rice. According to the World Food Program Food Aid Information System, Haiti received over 110,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as food aid in FY2010, with the U.S. providing 57,000 MT of the total. According to the WFP, only about five percent of this came in the form of local procurement, despite the previously discussed advantages. Upon further review, however, even this low number is drastically overstated.

The WFP reports 5,566 metric tons of locally purchased rice was provided as food aid and that over 60 percent of this total (3,564) came from the United States.  This appears to be stretching the definition of local procurement.  The U.S.  International Food Assistance Report 2010 notes that USAID purchased “3,564 tons of commercial rice of U.S. origin in Haiti with assistance from USDA.” While technically this purchase was made locally, the purchase was for rice of U.S. origin.  Eliminating this from the amount of rice purchased locally drops the share down to less than two percent of total rice distributed. The table below shows the breakdown by country of local purchases, after removing the purchase of U.S. rice in Haiti.

Table: Local Purchases of Rice – 2010

Country

MT

WFP

700

France

660

Germany

302

Canada

300

NGOs

40

Total

2002

Total as % of Overall

1.8%

Although it is clear that at the policy level the United States and other donors are starting to grasp the importance of local and regional purchases, this recognition has yet to manifest itself on the ground in any significant manner, at least in Haiti. To read about the role of the shipping industry in preventing food aid reform, check out the post from earlier this week.

In addition to the problems of allocating food aid discussed in the previous post, another significant problem is the lack of local procurement, which can be more effective than importing in emergency situations. The U.S. government, which has begun a local and regional procurement pilot project, found in a 2009 study (PDF) that:

Local and regional purchase is an important tool, enabling food aid agencies to respond quickly to emergency food needs, both during and after food crises and disasters.

Local and regional purchase can be a timely and effective complement to in-kind food aid programs.

The pilot project is also “based on the view that local and regional purchase has potential value for strengthening and expanding commercial markets, stimulating local and regional production, and reducing emergency food aid requirements.”  Yet thus far, the pilot project has only limited funds and was undertaken in just 12 countries in 2010 (only seven countries are benefactors of the program in 2011).  Together the 12 country programs made up less than one percent of all U.S. food aid in Fiscal Year 2010.

After the earthquake, noting that Haiti has gone from producing nearly 50 percent of their annual rice consumption in 1988 to around 15 percent now, CEPR published a report on food aid  that proposed “that international donors seeking to support Haiti’s agricultural sector and provide food to those in need could help Haiti become more self-sufficient by” using local procurement to purchase Haitian rice. According to the World Food Program Food Aid Information System, Haiti received over 110,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as food aid in FY2010, with the U.S. providing 57,000 MT of the total. According to the WFP, only about five percent of this came in the form of local procurement, despite the previously discussed advantages. Upon further review, however, even this low number is drastically overstated.

The WFP reports 5,566 metric tons of locally purchased rice was provided as food aid and that over 60 percent of this total (3,564) came from the United States.  This appears to be stretching the definition of local procurement.  The U.S.  International Food Assistance Report 2010 notes that USAID purchased “3,564 tons of commercial rice of U.S. origin in Haiti with assistance from USDA.” While technically this purchase was made locally, the purchase was for rice of U.S. origin.  Eliminating this from the amount of rice purchased locally drops the share down to less than two percent of total rice distributed. The table below shows the breakdown by country of local purchases, after removing the purchase of U.S. rice in Haiti.

Table: Local Purchases of Rice – 2010

Country

MT

WFP

700

France

660

Germany

302

Canada

300

NGOs

40

Total

2002

Total as % of Overall

1.8%

Although it is clear that at the policy level the United States and other donors are starting to grasp the importance of local and regional purchases, this recognition has yet to manifest itself on the ground in any significant manner, at least in Haiti. To read about the role of the shipping industry in preventing food aid reform, check out the post from earlier this week.

Between January 14 and February 26 2011, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed nine contracts with three shipping companies to send 73,000 Metric Tons of rice and other commodities in Title II emergency food aid to Haiti, public records from the Federal Procurement Database System show. The contracts in total cost taxpayers over $18 million dollars, as shown in the table below.

FoodAidShipping

According to the World Food Program Food Aid Information System, Haiti received over 110,000 Metric Tons of rice as food aid in 2010, yet only five percent came in the form of local procurement. Although we have previously discussed the benefits of local procurement of food aid and efforts to increase it, the role of the shipping industry has often been neglected from these discussions. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in a 2009 report that:

Certain legal requirements to procure U.S.-grown agricultural commodities for food aid and to transport those commodities on U.S.-flag vessels may constrain agencies’ use of LRP [local and regional procurement].

The role of the shipping industry in preventing food aid reforms in the U.S. was the subject of a 2010 paper entitled “Food Aid and Agricultural Cargo Preference” (PDF) from researchers at Cornell University. The paper explains why the barriers to reforming the delivery of food aid are so much greater in the U.S. than elsewhere:

The sheer size and history of US food aid programs obviously create inertia that differentiates it from most donors. But in political economy terms, arguably the most distinctive feature of US food aid programs is the intimate involvement of ocean carriers, who benefit from little?known agricultural cargo preference (ACP) requirements absent in other donor countries. While food aid policy reforms have had to overcome resistance from agribusiness and some nongovernmental organization (NGO) interests in every donor nation, the “iron triangle” of interests formed by agribusiness, some NGOs and ocean carriers has been a uniquely effective lobby for the status quo in US food aid policy.

In addition to the problems associated with the actual delivery of food aid, the report finds that the cost of the agricultural cargo preference to U.S. taxpayers is significant:

We find that meeting ACP requirements for USDA and USAID programs cost US taxpayers roughly $140 million per year in FY2006 and that roughly half of those costs were borne by food aid agencies rather than by the Maritime Administration. ACP costs USAID a significant portion of its food aid programming resources under Title II of Public Law 480, nearly equivalent to the value of USAID’s entire Title II non?emergency food aid to Africa.

Between January 14 and February 26 2011, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed nine contracts with three shipping companies to send 73,000 Metric Tons of rice and other commodities in Title II emergency food aid to Haiti, public records from the Federal Procurement Database System show. The contracts in total cost taxpayers over $18 million dollars, as shown in the table below.

FoodAidShipping

According to the World Food Program Food Aid Information System, Haiti received over 110,000 Metric Tons of rice as food aid in 2010, yet only five percent came in the form of local procurement. Although we have previously discussed the benefits of local procurement of food aid and efforts to increase it, the role of the shipping industry has often been neglected from these discussions. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in a 2009 report that:

Certain legal requirements to procure U.S.-grown agricultural commodities for food aid and to transport those commodities on U.S.-flag vessels may constrain agencies’ use of LRP [local and regional procurement].

The role of the shipping industry in preventing food aid reforms in the U.S. was the subject of a 2010 paper entitled “Food Aid and Agricultural Cargo Preference” (PDF) from researchers at Cornell University. The paper explains why the barriers to reforming the delivery of food aid are so much greater in the U.S. than elsewhere:

The sheer size and history of US food aid programs obviously create inertia that differentiates it from most donors. But in political economy terms, arguably the most distinctive feature of US food aid programs is the intimate involvement of ocean carriers, who benefit from little?known agricultural cargo preference (ACP) requirements absent in other donor countries. While food aid policy reforms have had to overcome resistance from agribusiness and some nongovernmental organization (NGO) interests in every donor nation, the “iron triangle” of interests formed by agribusiness, some NGOs and ocean carriers has been a uniquely effective lobby for the status quo in US food aid policy.

In addition to the problems associated with the actual delivery of food aid, the report finds that the cost of the agricultural cargo preference to U.S. taxpayers is significant:

We find that meeting ACP requirements for USDA and USAID programs cost US taxpayers roughly $140 million per year in FY2006 and that roughly half of those costs were borne by food aid agencies rather than by the Maritime Administration. ACP costs USAID a significant portion of its food aid programming resources under Title II of Public Law 480, nearly equivalent to the value of USAID’s entire Title II non?emergency food aid to Africa.

As the AP reported last week, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission’s (IHRC) mandate expired on Friday, October 21. The mandate had called for a transition to a Haitian government development authority to take the place of the commission. The date passed with little fanfare and no official statements from the IHRC itself. Reports in the Haitian press indicate that newly designated Prime Minister Gary Conille intends to submit a bill asking for the panel’s extension to Parliament, where some members have already expressed their reluctance to vote for it. Conille is a former advisor to Bill Clinton; Clinton co-chairs the IHRC.

Throughout the relief and reconstruction process, many have pointed out that the Haitian government has largely been bypassed and that Haitians themselves have been left out of the decision making process. In response, donors often point to the IHRC. The United States, for instance, said in January 2011 that “[t]o ensure that the reconstruction is Haitian-led, the U.S. Government coordinates all its recovery assistance through the IHRC.”

For its part the United State seems convinced the panel will be renewed. Although the U.S. government has made no official statement, USAID extended the contract of an undisclosed foreign contractor on September 30. The award description states, “The purpose of this modification is to extend the POP from September 30, 2011 to October 21, 2012 to serve as the disbursing agent of the IHRC; and increment funds in $45,387.00.” Then on October 20, the day before the mandate expired, the same contractor received an additional $20,000. Overall USAID has given more than $500,000 to this contractor to act as a steward of IHRC funds. It is unclear why the US would extend the contract until October 2012 without knowing if the IHRC would even continue to operate.

Regardless of whether or not the panel continues, after 18 months of operations the IHRC has little to show. The June report (PDF) from the Performance and Anti-Corruption Office of the IHRC provides the only detailed analysis of IHRC projects. All together the commission approved 75 projects worth a total of $3.2 billion dollars, and many of these projects were already planned prior to the earthquake. Of the 75 projects, only four had been completed and an additional 41 projects were either in the contracting or funding phase. Overall — although not all projects provided financial updates — just $117.7 million had been reported as disbursed out of the $3.2 billion in projects, a rate of just 3.7 per cent.

The IHRC, which approves projects but does not provide funding, has relied on the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF) to fund priority projects. The fall report (PDF) from the HRF notes that “[a]t the request of the IHRC, the HRF Steering Committee has allocated US$267.08 million of available funds for 15 projects.” Yet the same report notes that the vast majority of this money remains unspent. The HRF implementing partners (World Bank, IDB and UN) had spent just 15 percent of the $267 million as of September 30.

The lack of progress should come as little surprise as the US Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) May 2011 assessment found the IHCR barely operational. With just five months left in its mandate, only two out of five director positions had been filled and of the 34 positions that were called for, 22 had yet to be staffed. The GAO report noted that the PAO, whose June report provided the first update on projects, had no staff and had conducted no risk analyses of any of the IHRC approved projects. The GAO noted that international donors have “filled some of the commission’s day-to-day staffing needs with consultants and temporary staff” but these stop-gap measures were clearly not enough to make the agency functional and may have undermined what little independence the IHRC was supposed to have.

The other serious limitation the GAO report found was that the IHRC had very little control over how money was allocated since donors often wanted their money allocated to certain sectors. As a result, the IHRC signaled that “funding for reconstruction projects is unevenly spread among sectors and does not necessarily reflect Haitian government priorities.” This criticism is echoed in the HRF annual report, as one of the HRF’s goals for next year is to “dissuade existing and future donors from preferencing their contributions so that the GoH has maximum flexibility to use HRF resources to finance strategic priorities.” The US, which is the largest contributor to the HRF, attached preferences to the entire $120 million that was given. Although the sectors for which it earmarked its donations are all important, it takes away the flexibility that is supposed to be the hallmark of the HRF and IHRC and limits the ability of the government of Haiti to lead the reconstruction process.

As the AP reported last week, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission’s (IHRC) mandate expired on Friday, October 21. The mandate had called for a transition to a Haitian government development authority to take the place of the commission. The date passed with little fanfare and no official statements from the IHRC itself. Reports in the Haitian press indicate that newly designated Prime Minister Gary Conille intends to submit a bill asking for the panel’s extension to Parliament, where some members have already expressed their reluctance to vote for it. Conille is a former advisor to Bill Clinton; Clinton co-chairs the IHRC.

Throughout the relief and reconstruction process, many have pointed out that the Haitian government has largely been bypassed and that Haitians themselves have been left out of the decision making process. In response, donors often point to the IHRC. The United States, for instance, said in January 2011 that “[t]o ensure that the reconstruction is Haitian-led, the U.S. Government coordinates all its recovery assistance through the IHRC.”

For its part the United State seems convinced the panel will be renewed. Although the U.S. government has made no official statement, USAID extended the contract of an undisclosed foreign contractor on September 30. The award description states, “The purpose of this modification is to extend the POP from September 30, 2011 to October 21, 2012 to serve as the disbursing agent of the IHRC; and increment funds in $45,387.00.” Then on October 20, the day before the mandate expired, the same contractor received an additional $20,000. Overall USAID has given more than $500,000 to this contractor to act as a steward of IHRC funds. It is unclear why the US would extend the contract until October 2012 without knowing if the IHRC would even continue to operate.

Regardless of whether or not the panel continues, after 18 months of operations the IHRC has little to show. The June report (PDF) from the Performance and Anti-Corruption Office of the IHRC provides the only detailed analysis of IHRC projects. All together the commission approved 75 projects worth a total of $3.2 billion dollars, and many of these projects were already planned prior to the earthquake. Of the 75 projects, only four had been completed and an additional 41 projects were either in the contracting or funding phase. Overall — although not all projects provided financial updates — just $117.7 million had been reported as disbursed out of the $3.2 billion in projects, a rate of just 3.7 per cent.

The IHRC, which approves projects but does not provide funding, has relied on the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF) to fund priority projects. The fall report (PDF) from the HRF notes that “[a]t the request of the IHRC, the HRF Steering Committee has allocated US$267.08 million of available funds for 15 projects.” Yet the same report notes that the vast majority of this money remains unspent. The HRF implementing partners (World Bank, IDB and UN) had spent just 15 percent of the $267 million as of September 30.

The lack of progress should come as little surprise as the US Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) May 2011 assessment found the IHCR barely operational. With just five months left in its mandate, only two out of five director positions had been filled and of the 34 positions that were called for, 22 had yet to be staffed. The GAO report noted that the PAO, whose June report provided the first update on projects, had no staff and had conducted no risk analyses of any of the IHRC approved projects. The GAO noted that international donors have “filled some of the commission’s day-to-day staffing needs with consultants and temporary staff” but these stop-gap measures were clearly not enough to make the agency functional and may have undermined what little independence the IHRC was supposed to have.

The other serious limitation the GAO report found was that the IHRC had very little control over how money was allocated since donors often wanted their money allocated to certain sectors. As a result, the IHRC signaled that “funding for reconstruction projects is unevenly spread among sectors and does not necessarily reflect Haitian government priorities.” This criticism is echoed in the HRF annual report, as one of the HRF’s goals for next year is to “dissuade existing and future donors from preferencing their contributions so that the GoH has maximum flexibility to use HRF resources to finance strategic priorities.” The US, which is the largest contributor to the HRF, attached preferences to the entire $120 million that was given. Although the sectors for which it earmarked its donations are all important, it takes away the flexibility that is supposed to be the hallmark of the HRF and IHRC and limits the ability of the government of Haiti to lead the reconstruction process.

Last Thursday, Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald reported on Haitian President Michel Martelly’s plan, announced some time ago, to return inhabitants of six IDP camps back to 16 neighborhoods, known as the 16-6 plan. Charles writes:

For weeks, families like Simin’s have quietly moved out of the camp and into permanent homes as part of a housing initiative launched by Haitian President Michel Martelly. With help from the International Organization for Migration, families are getting $500 in rental subsidies. It’s part of a larger program Martelly launched recently to target the town square and five other Port-au-Prince tent cities hoping to find a permanent solution to reconstruction’s most vexing problem: housing.

The program has won the support of the international community, with U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis recently telling the UN Security Council, that “[t]he use of the neighborhood returns approach, instead of mere camp evictions, is the type of humane approach the United States fully supports.” Yet the plan has already come under serious criticism and rather than limiting evictions, multiple camps in the plan have already been forcibly evicted. Journalist Justin Podur wrote last week that even if the program works, its effectiveness will be limited:

In total, if the program succeeds, it will touch 5000 families, or 4% of the camp population. I spoke to the director of 16-6, Clement Belizaire. So far, 190 families have been resettled from the first camp, Place St. Pierre, in Petionville. Belizaire expects the 1500 families who live in the first two camps, Place St. Pierre and Place Boyer, to be in their neighbourhoods by the end of November. He expects the process to speed up as it progresses. If Belizaire’s estimates are extrapolated for all six camps, 4% of Haiti’s current camp population will be in housing by March 2012.

Also last week, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the University of San Francisco School of Law released a report criticizing the lack of progress in Martelly’s housing plan. The report points out that, among other faults, two of the six camps in Martelly’s plan have already been forcibly evicted:

In the meantime, one camp was closed in July (Stade Sylvio Cator) and one camp partially closed (Place St. Pierre), both without the protections or benefits promised in the Martelly plan. The families living at Stade Sylvio Cator were unlawfully evicted by the Mayor of Port-au-Prince and Haitian National Police without a court order, as required under Haitian law. The police destroyed residents’ tents and belongings, prompting condemnation from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

(Residents of another camp on public land, in a park across from the St. Anne’s Church, have also just reported being threatened with forced eviction, supposedly to take place in the coming days.)

IJDH and USF School of Law undertook a survey in the six camps slated for closure to gauge the opinions and needs of camp residents. They found that conditions in the camps were “desperate” as family members “often go without any food or safe drinking water.” Additionally, there was very little consultation with those affected. As the report states:

In the five remaining camps still open, 38 percent of the households surveyed had heard of plans to close their camp. Of those, 53 percent learned from rumor from other residents, and only 12.7 percent heard it from a government official, the UN, IOM, or an NGO. Many complained that no details of the camp closure or relocation were provided. Only one respondent had heard of a date his camp would be closed (which was incorrect). Eighty-two percent of residents had not been consulted on their opinion for closure of their camp.

In the case of those evicted from Stade Sylvio Cator, the survey found that:

violence and threats of violence were used by Haitian authorities during the eviction in July. Thirty-five percent reported having been physically harmed or threatened with physical harm during the government’s eviction, while 30 percent reported destruction of their shelter or belongings.

A member of the Martelly administration working on the housing plan said that at least part of the relocation money came from the national treasury.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents described the new government camp as having worse access to security, lighting, clean toilets, water and food compared with the stadium.

Justin Podur visited Camp Bicentenaire where some of those evicted from Stade Sylvio Cator were relocated. Podur writes:

Camp Bicentenaire has been touted as a resettlement success story. It is on the national highway and has over 50 families, who were resettled from the camp at Port au Prince’s stadium, Sylvio Cator, on July 15. With Port-o-lets – some overflowing and others fallen over – for the camp located at the median of the highway, and garbage dumped directly into a ditch by the highway side, the camp has had no real support from the government or the NGOs besides the 10,000 gourdes (about $250 USD) that each family got in a negotiated agreement to resettle. The camp has the same kinds of problems with security as it does with sanitation. According to Mathias Jordanson of the camp committee, there has been one visit from a government official since July 15, and he’s aware of no further plan for the camp.

The lack of adequate solutions to the housing crisis led Mark Schneider of the International Crisis Group to tell the Miami Herald that “Haiti’s failure to adopt a national housing resettlement and reintegration strategy ‘stands as the most glaring failure of the past year.’”

In addition to stopping forced evictions, the IJDH and USF report recommends significantly greater outreach to communities, including being accountable to those who are most affected and creating more durable solutions. As the report notes, “Small payments to displaced families that are not tied to a comprehensive housing assistance program fail to conform with the ‘durable solutions to displacement’ required by the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement”.

The report concludes:

A rights-based approach to development ensures that the beneficiaries of aid are informed of the processes that affect their lives and have the opportunity to share their perspectives in a meaningful way. Haitians at all levels have found themselves left out of the decision-making processes on aid distribution – from top government officials overwhelmed by the “republic of NGOs” operating in their country, to the communities left homeless by the earthquake and struggling to survive. International agencies have largely provided humanitarian services through a top-down approach, making decisions about peoples’ needs without obtaining meaningful input from the communities receiving the aid.

Last Thursday, Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald reported on Haitian President Michel Martelly’s plan, announced some time ago, to return inhabitants of six IDP camps back to 16 neighborhoods, known as the 16-6 plan. Charles writes:

For weeks, families like Simin’s have quietly moved out of the camp and into permanent homes as part of a housing initiative launched by Haitian President Michel Martelly. With help from the International Organization for Migration, families are getting $500 in rental subsidies. It’s part of a larger program Martelly launched recently to target the town square and five other Port-au-Prince tent cities hoping to find a permanent solution to reconstruction’s most vexing problem: housing.

The program has won the support of the international community, with U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis recently telling the UN Security Council, that “[t]he use of the neighborhood returns approach, instead of mere camp evictions, is the type of humane approach the United States fully supports.” Yet the plan has already come under serious criticism and rather than limiting evictions, multiple camps in the plan have already been forcibly evicted. Journalist Justin Podur wrote last week that even if the program works, its effectiveness will be limited:

In total, if the program succeeds, it will touch 5000 families, or 4% of the camp population. I spoke to the director of 16-6, Clement Belizaire. So far, 190 families have been resettled from the first camp, Place St. Pierre, in Petionville. Belizaire expects the 1500 families who live in the first two camps, Place St. Pierre and Place Boyer, to be in their neighbourhoods by the end of November. He expects the process to speed up as it progresses. If Belizaire’s estimates are extrapolated for all six camps, 4% of Haiti’s current camp population will be in housing by March 2012.

Also last week, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the University of San Francisco School of Law released a report criticizing the lack of progress in Martelly’s housing plan. The report points out that, among other faults, two of the six camps in Martelly’s plan have already been forcibly evicted:

In the meantime, one camp was closed in July (Stade Sylvio Cator) and one camp partially closed (Place St. Pierre), both without the protections or benefits promised in the Martelly plan. The families living at Stade Sylvio Cator were unlawfully evicted by the Mayor of Port-au-Prince and Haitian National Police without a court order, as required under Haitian law. The police destroyed residents’ tents and belongings, prompting condemnation from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

(Residents of another camp on public land, in a park across from the St. Anne’s Church, have also just reported being threatened with forced eviction, supposedly to take place in the coming days.)

IJDH and USF School of Law undertook a survey in the six camps slated for closure to gauge the opinions and needs of camp residents. They found that conditions in the camps were “desperate” as family members “often go without any food or safe drinking water.” Additionally, there was very little consultation with those affected. As the report states:

In the five remaining camps still open, 38 percent of the households surveyed had heard of plans to close their camp. Of those, 53 percent learned from rumor from other residents, and only 12.7 percent heard it from a government official, the UN, IOM, or an NGO. Many complained that no details of the camp closure or relocation were provided. Only one respondent had heard of a date his camp would be closed (which was incorrect). Eighty-two percent of residents had not been consulted on their opinion for closure of their camp.

In the case of those evicted from Stade Sylvio Cator, the survey found that:

violence and threats of violence were used by Haitian authorities during the eviction in July. Thirty-five percent reported having been physically harmed or threatened with physical harm during the government’s eviction, while 30 percent reported destruction of their shelter or belongings.

A member of the Martelly administration working on the housing plan said that at least part of the relocation money came from the national treasury.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents described the new government camp as having worse access to security, lighting, clean toilets, water and food compared with the stadium.

Justin Podur visited Camp Bicentenaire where some of those evicted from Stade Sylvio Cator were relocated. Podur writes:

Camp Bicentenaire has been touted as a resettlement success story. It is on the national highway and has over 50 families, who were resettled from the camp at Port au Prince’s stadium, Sylvio Cator, on July 15. With Port-o-lets – some overflowing and others fallen over – for the camp located at the median of the highway, and garbage dumped directly into a ditch by the highway side, the camp has had no real support from the government or the NGOs besides the 10,000 gourdes (about $250 USD) that each family got in a negotiated agreement to resettle. The camp has the same kinds of problems with security as it does with sanitation. According to Mathias Jordanson of the camp committee, there has been one visit from a government official since July 15, and he’s aware of no further plan for the camp.

The lack of adequate solutions to the housing crisis led Mark Schneider of the International Crisis Group to tell the Miami Herald that “Haiti’s failure to adopt a national housing resettlement and reintegration strategy ‘stands as the most glaring failure of the past year.’”

In addition to stopping forced evictions, the IJDH and USF report recommends significantly greater outreach to communities, including being accountable to those who are most affected and creating more durable solutions. As the report notes, “Small payments to displaced families that are not tied to a comprehensive housing assistance program fail to conform with the ‘durable solutions to displacement’ required by the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement”.

The report concludes:

A rights-based approach to development ensures that the beneficiaries of aid are informed of the processes that affect their lives and have the opportunity to share their perspectives in a meaningful way. Haitians at all levels have found themselves left out of the decision-making processes on aid distribution – from top government officials overwhelmed by the “republic of NGOs” operating in their country, to the communities left homeless by the earthquake and struggling to survive. International agencies have largely provided humanitarian services through a top-down approach, making decisions about peoples’ needs without obtaining meaningful input from the communities receiving the aid.

Although cholera cases decreased by nearly half from July to August following the predictable spike during the rainy season, on average, cholera infected more than 500 people and killed three people each day in September. Although these numbers are still well below previous peaks, they should not provide false confidence, as a decreased caseload in March and April did previously. Cases could increase quickly at almost any time, as cholera is a highly cyclical disease. Indeed, Haiti Libre reported just this week that Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has seen a significant increase in their case load in Port-au-Prince. Romaine Gitenet, MSF head of mission, told Haiti Libre that “”In one month we went from less than 300 admissions per week to over 850, which suggests a worsening situation in the coming weeks.”  Also worrisome is the continued lack of support to the United Nation’s cholera appeal as humanitarian relief efforts continue to dwindle as funds run out.

In our paper, “Not Doing Enough: Unnecessary Sickness and Death from Cholera in Haiti” we noted that funding for the UN’s appeal largely stagnated beginning in February when the caseload began to slow. This led to health actors pulling out of cholera relief right as the rainy season was about to begin. Yet in the last three months, despite the surge in cases, funding has only increased by $13 million. This is the nearly the same amount that was contributed in the three previous months, despite the significantly smaller caseload. The UN cholera appeal, originally set at $175 million, was based on estimates that severely underestimated the seriousness and longevity of the current epidemic. Nevertheless, the UN has since reduced its appeal to $110 million (and the overall humanitarian appeal from $900 million to less than $400 million) and in the most recent OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin it states that “97 per cent of the initial cholera appeal of $110 million” has been funded. However the original appeal, itself based on an underestimate, was for $175 million. There seems to be no evidence that Haiti’s needs for cholera relief have decreased. In fact, the UN itself, even while reducing their appeal, is sounding the alarm over the lack of funding. As Emergency Relief Coordinator and United Nations Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos warned after recently traveling to Haiti:

Funding gaps have resulted in reductions in the number of humanitarian agencies working in key sectors such as water and sanitation and camp management. Hundreds of latrines are now unusable. The overflowing latrines, particularly during this rainy season, pose significant health risks, including spread of cholera.

The number of health partners responding to the cholera epidemic continues to decline. The number decreased from 128 organizations in January to just 48 by July. That number has since decreased further to 44 with the UN warning that this includes “8 that will run out of funds at the end of Sept. 2011.” Additionally, another UN document on cholera notes that as the “end of the year approaches, certain organizations are struggling to find necessary funding to maintain their activities. In the Nippes and Grande Anse, actors are planning to leave late October.” These two departments have the second- and third-highest fatality rates in the country. In fact, in the same document that touts the cholera appeal being 97 percent funded the UN states that “additional needs will not be covered should severe outbreaks of cholera occur due to rains and flooding.” The document also notes that “[i]t is projected that the current epidemiologic curb will remain the same for the coming 2 to 3 years with moderate peaks before stabilizing into an endemic phase.”

It is vital, given the cyclical nature of cholera and the disease’s ability to peak rapidly that treatment efforts are maintained at a high level and that the international community and Haitian government evaluate the use of the cholera vaccine. These ramped up treatment efforts, combined with serious investment in health and water infrastructure is the only way that Haiti will be able to overcome this fatal disease. Now is not the time to repeat past mistakes and be unprepared for the next spike, leading to more uneccessary deaths.

Although cholera cases decreased by nearly half from July to August following the predictable spike during the rainy season, on average, cholera infected more than 500 people and killed three people each day in September. Although these numbers are still well below previous peaks, they should not provide false confidence, as a decreased caseload in March and April did previously. Cases could increase quickly at almost any time, as cholera is a highly cyclical disease. Indeed, Haiti Libre reported just this week that Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has seen a significant increase in their case load in Port-au-Prince. Romaine Gitenet, MSF head of mission, told Haiti Libre that “”In one month we went from less than 300 admissions per week to over 850, which suggests a worsening situation in the coming weeks.”  Also worrisome is the continued lack of support to the United Nation’s cholera appeal as humanitarian relief efforts continue to dwindle as funds run out.

In our paper, “Not Doing Enough: Unnecessary Sickness and Death from Cholera in Haiti” we noted that funding for the UN’s appeal largely stagnated beginning in February when the caseload began to slow. This led to health actors pulling out of cholera relief right as the rainy season was about to begin. Yet in the last three months, despite the surge in cases, funding has only increased by $13 million. This is the nearly the same amount that was contributed in the three previous months, despite the significantly smaller caseload. The UN cholera appeal, originally set at $175 million, was based on estimates that severely underestimated the seriousness and longevity of the current epidemic. Nevertheless, the UN has since reduced its appeal to $110 million (and the overall humanitarian appeal from $900 million to less than $400 million) and in the most recent OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin it states that “97 per cent of the initial cholera appeal of $110 million” has been funded. However the original appeal, itself based on an underestimate, was for $175 million. There seems to be no evidence that Haiti’s needs for cholera relief have decreased. In fact, the UN itself, even while reducing their appeal, is sounding the alarm over the lack of funding. As Emergency Relief Coordinator and United Nations Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos warned after recently traveling to Haiti:

Funding gaps have resulted in reductions in the number of humanitarian agencies working in key sectors such as water and sanitation and camp management. Hundreds of latrines are now unusable. The overflowing latrines, particularly during this rainy season, pose significant health risks, including spread of cholera.

The number of health partners responding to the cholera epidemic continues to decline. The number decreased from 128 organizations in January to just 48 by July. That number has since decreased further to 44 with the UN warning that this includes “8 that will run out of funds at the end of Sept. 2011.” Additionally, another UN document on cholera notes that as the “end of the year approaches, certain organizations are struggling to find necessary funding to maintain their activities. In the Nippes and Grande Anse, actors are planning to leave late October.” These two departments have the second- and third-highest fatality rates in the country. In fact, in the same document that touts the cholera appeal being 97 percent funded the UN states that “additional needs will not be covered should severe outbreaks of cholera occur due to rains and flooding.” The document also notes that “[i]t is projected that the current epidemiologic curb will remain the same for the coming 2 to 3 years with moderate peaks before stabilizing into an endemic phase.”

It is vital, given the cyclical nature of cholera and the disease’s ability to peak rapidly that treatment efforts are maintained at a high level and that the international community and Haitian government evaluate the use of the cholera vaccine. These ramped up treatment efforts, combined with serious investment in health and water infrastructure is the only way that Haiti will be able to overcome this fatal disease. Now is not the time to repeat past mistakes and be unprepared for the next spike, leading to more uneccessary deaths.

The United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti (OSE) released updated figures on the status of donor countries’ aid pledges earlier this week. The analysis reveals that just 43 percent of the $4.6 billion in pledges has been disbursed, up from 37.8 percent in June. This increase of $230 million is much larger than the observed increase in aid disbursement from March to June, when total disbursements increased by only $30 million. Also, an additional $475 million of aid money has been committed, meaning more money is now in the pipeline for Haiti. This increase is certainly a positive development, yet the overall levels of disbursement remain extremely low. The $4.6 billion in pledges was for the years 2010 and 2011, which means that donors have only a few months to fulfill their pledges.

While $1.52 billion was disbursed in 2010, this year, less than 30 percent of that—$455 million—has been disbursed. The United States, which pledged over $900 million for recovery efforts in 2010 and 2011, has disbursed just 18.8 percent of this (PDF). Of countries that pledged over $100 million dollars, only Japan has achieved 100 percent disbursement.

But it is important to go beyond the level of disbursements to see how much of this money has actually been spent on the ground and how it has supported both the Haitian public and private sectors. The following analysis shows that much of the money donors have disbursed has not actually been spent on the ground yet, that the Haitian government has not received the support it needs, and that Haitian firms have largely been bypassed in the contracting process.

Just 10 percent of funds disbursed by the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, which received nearly 20 percent of all donor pledges, have actually been spent on the ground. The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission has approved over $3 billion in projects, yet most have not even begun. Budget support for the Haitian government is set to be lower in 2011 than it was before the earthquake in 2009. Finally, only 2.4 percent of U.S. government contracts went directly to Haitian firms, while USAID relied on beltway contractors (Maryland, Virginia and DC) for over 90 percent of their contracts.

Disbursed By Donor Doesn’t Mean Spent on the Ground

The international community has set up a number of institutions that aim to centralize aid flows and projects, in particular the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) and the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF). The HRF has received roughly 20 percent of donor funds.

Our analysis of the Haiti Reconstruction Fund’s annual report revealed that despite public announcements touting a 71 percent disbursal rate at the Fund, in reality, closer to 10 percent had actually been spent on the ground, much of which was on consultant fees.

The HRF report notes that “The Trustee has transferred funds totaling US$197 million in respect of those approved projects and associated fees to the Partner Entities,” and an additional $40 million is set to be transferred. Together the $237 million is equal to 71 percent of the total funds raised. However, as the HRF notes, this money has not actually been spent on the ground, but simply transferred to their Partner Entities (the World Bank, UN and the Inter-American Development Bank – IDB). The disbursement of funds from those organizations is just $35 million, or about 10 percent of the total contributions received. The IDB, which has received $37 million in HRF funds, has yet to actually disburse any of this total.

Despite this, the HRF press release at the time listed a number of projects as “highlights of the work done so far. ” HRF manager Josef Leitmann commented to the Financial Times:

“That’s no mean feat in an environment like Haiti where there are so many obstacles and challenges to getting things done on the ground.”

Yet the projects that Leitmann refers to –though funding has been made available for them by the HRF — have not actually been undertaken. As is clear from the HRF’s own report, nowhere near $240 million has been spent “on the ground.”

The IHRC, which approves projects, but does not fund them, has green-lighted over $3 billion in projects, yet the vast majority of them remain underfunded or in the very early stages of implementation. Although not all IHRC-approved projects provided updates on disbursement rates, an analysis of the Performance and Anti-Corruption Office’s Status Update reveals that just over $100 million, or 3 percent, has been spent on 75 projects. In the critical health sector, less than 2.5 percent of the $350 million in approved projects has been spent as of June.

Additionally, the OSE found in June that close to 75 percent of bilateral recovery aid to Haiti went to international NGOs, contractors and multilateral agencies. Although this money has been disbursed to these partners there is no guarantee, or transparent data showing, that it has been spent on the ground in Haiti yet.

Aid as Accompaniment

As important as the level of disbursement is the question of where that money has gone. In June, the OSE published “Has Aid Changed? Channeling Assistance to Haiti Before and After the Earthquake,” which analyzed whether donors “have changed the way they provide their assistance in accordance with the principle of accompaniment”, which “is specifically focused on guiding international partners to transfer more resources and assets directly to Haitian public and private institutions as part of their support.”

While 2010 saw some changes in donor behavior, including increased budget support, there are signs that the change has been temporary. The June report notes:

Over 50 percent of the budget support disbursed after the earthquake arrived in the last two months (August and September 2010) of the Haitian fiscal year, more than eight months after the earthquake. According to the IMF, only 29 percent of the budget support pledged for the 2011 fiscal year has been disbursed by donors, although over half of these funds remain in the HRF and have not yet reached the government. The delayed disbursements to budget support negatively impacted the government’s ability to effectively plan activities.

Although there were some changes, the Special Envoy concludes that little has changed overall, and that “[m]ost aid is still channelled in the form of grants directly to international multilateral agencies, and non-state service providers (NGOs and private contractors).” Yet, as the Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti Paul Farmer notes, strengthening Haiti’s public institutions is a must, and the report concludes that “aid is most effective at strengthening public institutions when it is channelled through them.”

The updated numbers from the OSE reveal an increase of $40 million in budget support coming from the European Commission. Yet even after this increase, direct budget support for fiscal year 2011 remains below the amount Haiti received in 2009, before the earthquake decimated much of the government. This is especially critical as many aid agencies continue to wind down operations or fully pull out of Haiti. In many cases the Haitian government, which remains underfunded, is left to pick up the slack.

Support to the Haitian Private Sector – Spending the Development Dollar Twice

In addition to supporting the Haitian public sector, the idea of accompaniment pertains to supporting the Haitian private sector. One of the most direct ways to stimulate local production is through local procurement practices. Peace Dividend Trust (PDT) has been working in Haiti since 2009 to increase the amount of aid that enters the local economy. The Peace Dividend Marketplace is a forum that connects local businesses with development agencies, NGOs, and foreign governments. Forthcoming research from PDT shows that their database contains over 2,200 local businesses, over 600 of which are in the construction sector.

PDT describes the benefits of local procurement as “spending the development dollar twice.” Previous PDT research, predominantly focusing on Afghanistan, revealed that “only a small portion of the aid money pledged and spent in the aftermath of a disaster or conflict will actually be channeled through the host government and local economy.” PDT was instrumental in creating the “Afghanistan Compact,” in which “donors agreed to channel an increasing proportion of their assistance through the core government budget, either directly or through trust fund mechanisms. Where this was not possible, the Compact acknowledges the significance of three things: using national partners rather than international partners to implement projects; increasing procurement within Afghanistan; and using Afghan goods and services wherever feasible rather than importing goods and services.” Yet in Haiti, no such explicit policy exists.

PDT research in Afghanistan showed that “funds provided through trust fund and budget support arrangements” had the greatest local economic impact, calculated by PDT at 80 percent. This means that 80 percent of the funds enter the local economy and generate local economic impact. In comparison, funding provided to international NGOs and contractors provided just 15 percent local economic impact. Although not an exact science, it is reasonable to assume a similar breakdown in Haiti. As mentioned earlier, the OSE report in June found that some 75 percent of recovery funding went to international NGOs, contractors and multilateral agencies where the local economic impact is much lower than direct budget support.

The HRF, although much of its funds remain unspent, is an example of how trust funds can have a greater local impact than contracts with NGOs or for-profit companies. According to the HRF annual report, the Haitian government is the implementing partner for 88.4 percent of HRF funds. Based on PDT research, this will likely lead to the most significant local economic impact of aid allocation.

As was previously mentioned, over 600 of the Haitian businesses listed by PDT are in the construction sector, a key area for development projects. A forthcoming report from PDT on local procurement within the construction sector surveys local business and international organizations, and reveals that at least in the construction sector, many organizations are already doing business with Haitian firms. This is especially important because as PDT found in Afghanistan, “[i]nternational construction contracts are approximated at a 10-15% local economic impact,” an especially low rate. The forthcoming report finds that 32 of 33 international organizations surveyed had used local construction companies, but were much more likely to use larger Haitian firms. Over 60 percent of the companies PDT interviewed had fewer than 10 employees, but these firms were much less likely to have done work for an international organization.

Although PDT has found that many aid organizations are contracting with Haitian businesses, it is unclear what the economic impact is. As PDT explained in Afghanistan, the reason why international construction contracts have such a low economic impact is that “[t]he vast majority of funds are used to pay for international staff and the procurement of international materials – including capital equipment as well as inputs. These companies use a considerable amount of local labour, but since local wages are often much lower than wages paid to international staff, this figure does not represent a large portion of the overall expenditures.” Further research from PDT may shine more light on this issue.

The US and Local Procurement – Haitian Firms Remain Sidelined

The United States, and especially USAID, have made many statements concerning local procurement and their commitment to work with Haitian companies, yet this commitment has yet to show up in their actual contracting. An updated analysis of the Federal Procurement Database System (FPDS) shows that an extremely low percentage of contracts are going to Haitian companies. As can be seen in Table I, as of September 15, 1537 contracts had been awarded for a total of $204,604,670. Of those 1537 contracts, only 23 have gone to Haitian companies, totaling just $4,841,426, or roughly 2.4 percent of the total. For every $100 dollars spent, just $2.40 has gone directly to a Haitian firm.

Table I.
haiti-2011-09-22a

While Haitian firms have largely been left on the sidelines, Beltway contractors (from DC, Maryland and Virginia) have received 35.5 percent of the $200 million in contracts, as can be seen in Table II. We have written before about the controversial track records of two of the largest Beltway contractors, DAI and Chemonics.

Table II.

haiti-2011-09-22b

USAID has actually been one of the worst US government agencies in terms of contracting to local businesses. USAID has awarded contracts totaling $32.5 million, yet not a single contract has been awarded to a Haitian company. In addition, an astounding 93 percent of contracts awarded by USAID have gone to Beltway contractors. Although some of the companies that USAID contracts with use Haitian inputs and subcontract to Haitian firms, USAID does not publicly disclose this information making a more detailed analysis of the local economic impact impossible. As Edward Rees of Peace Dividend Trust told the AP back in December, “No one is systematically tracking how many contracts have gone to Haitian companies.”

A USAID Inspector General report on the provision of shelter determined that the way grants were made was problematic and excluded Haitian businesses:

USAID/OFDA implemented the shelter project by accepting unsolicited grant proposals issued under a waiver for competition because of the urgency of the need after the earthquake. Grants, which do not permit substantial involvement by the Agency, may not have been the best award mechanism to achieve rapid construction of cost-effective shelters meeting industry standards. If USAID/OFDA had used contracts for shelter construction, it could have prescribed the shelter design and could have given local Haitian businesses an opportunity to participate.

The IG recommended to USAID/OFDA that they “set-aside awards to local organizations for future awards for transitional shelter construction.” Although they disagreed with the IG’s recommendation, USAID/OFDA noted that they “support making subawards to local organizations,” and that “it could add a requirement that all proposals include local partners to increase the number of local organizations involved in constructing transitional shelters.”

Additionally, the report found that the largest contractors had not employed as many Haitians as originally planned. The AP reported at the time:

And an audit this fall by US AID’s Inspector General found that more than 70 percent of the funds given to the two largest U.S. contractors for a cash for work project in Haiti was spent on equipment and materials. As a result, just 8,000 Haitians a day were being hired by June, instead of the planned 25,000 a day, according to the IG.

In addition to the above analysis, USAID has provided frequent updates on their humanitarian funding in Haiti since the earthquake. An analysis of USAID factsheets shows that 50 percent of the nearly $1.2 billion in humanitarian funding was allocated to U.S. government agencies. International NGOs and contractors received over 30 percent and UN agencies 16 percent. While there is no doubt that some of this money went to Haitian businesses or NGOs as subcontractors, not a single Haitian organization is named as an “implementing partner” among the 98 activities listed.

The United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti (OSE) released updated figures on the status of donor countries’ aid pledges earlier this week. The analysis reveals that just 43 percent of the $4.6 billion in pledges has been disbursed, up from 37.8 percent in June. This increase of $230 million is much larger than the observed increase in aid disbursement from March to June, when total disbursements increased by only $30 million. Also, an additional $475 million of aid money has been committed, meaning more money is now in the pipeline for Haiti. This increase is certainly a positive development, yet the overall levels of disbursement remain extremely low. The $4.6 billion in pledges was for the years 2010 and 2011, which means that donors have only a few months to fulfill their pledges.

While $1.52 billion was disbursed in 2010, this year, less than 30 percent of that—$455 million—has been disbursed. The United States, which pledged over $900 million for recovery efforts in 2010 and 2011, has disbursed just 18.8 percent of this (PDF). Of countries that pledged over $100 million dollars, only Japan has achieved 100 percent disbursement.

But it is important to go beyond the level of disbursements to see how much of this money has actually been spent on the ground and how it has supported both the Haitian public and private sectors. The following analysis shows that much of the money donors have disbursed has not actually been spent on the ground yet, that the Haitian government has not received the support it needs, and that Haitian firms have largely been bypassed in the contracting process.

Just 10 percent of funds disbursed by the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, which received nearly 20 percent of all donor pledges, have actually been spent on the ground. The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission has approved over $3 billion in projects, yet most have not even begun. Budget support for the Haitian government is set to be lower in 2011 than it was before the earthquake in 2009. Finally, only 2.4 percent of U.S. government contracts went directly to Haitian firms, while USAID relied on beltway contractors (Maryland, Virginia and DC) for over 90 percent of their contracts.

Disbursed By Donor Doesn’t Mean Spent on the Ground

The international community has set up a number of institutions that aim to centralize aid flows and projects, in particular the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) and the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF). The HRF has received roughly 20 percent of donor funds.

Our analysis of the Haiti Reconstruction Fund’s annual report revealed that despite public announcements touting a 71 percent disbursal rate at the Fund, in reality, closer to 10 percent had actually been spent on the ground, much of which was on consultant fees.

The HRF report notes that “The Trustee has transferred funds totaling US$197 million in respect of those approved projects and associated fees to the Partner Entities,” and an additional $40 million is set to be transferred. Together the $237 million is equal to 71 percent of the total funds raised. However, as the HRF notes, this money has not actually been spent on the ground, but simply transferred to their Partner Entities (the World Bank, UN and the Inter-American Development Bank – IDB). The disbursement of funds from those organizations is just $35 million, or about 10 percent of the total contributions received. The IDB, which has received $37 million in HRF funds, has yet to actually disburse any of this total.

Despite this, the HRF press release at the time listed a number of projects as “highlights of the work done so far. ” HRF manager Josef Leitmann commented to the Financial Times:

“That’s no mean feat in an environment like Haiti where there are so many obstacles and challenges to getting things done on the ground.”

Yet the projects that Leitmann refers to –though funding has been made available for them by the HRF — have not actually been undertaken. As is clear from the HRF’s own report, nowhere near $240 million has been spent “on the ground.”

The IHRC, which approves projects, but does not fund them, has green-lighted over $3 billion in projects, yet the vast majority of them remain underfunded or in the very early stages of implementation. Although not all IHRC-approved projects provided updates on disbursement rates, an analysis of the Performance and Anti-Corruption Office’s Status Update reveals that just over $100 million, or 3 percent, has been spent on 75 projects. In the critical health sector, less than 2.5 percent of the $350 million in approved projects has been spent as of June.

Additionally, the OSE found in June that close to 75 percent of bilateral recovery aid to Haiti went to international NGOs, contractors and multilateral agencies. Although this money has been disbursed to these partners there is no guarantee, or transparent data showing, that it has been spent on the ground in Haiti yet.

Aid as Accompaniment

As important as the level of disbursement is the question of where that money has gone. In June, the OSE published “Has Aid Changed? Channeling Assistance to Haiti Before and After the Earthquake,” which analyzed whether donors “have changed the way they provide their assistance in accordance with the principle of accompaniment”, which “is specifically focused on guiding international partners to transfer more resources and assets directly to Haitian public and private institutions as part of their support.”

While 2010 saw some changes in donor behavior, including increased budget support, there are signs that the change has been temporary. The June report notes:

Over 50 percent of the budget support disbursed after the earthquake arrived in the last two months (August and September 2010) of the Haitian fiscal year, more than eight months after the earthquake. According to the IMF, only 29 percent of the budget support pledged for the 2011 fiscal year has been disbursed by donors, although over half of these funds remain in the HRF and have not yet reached the government. The delayed disbursements to budget support negatively impacted the government’s ability to effectively plan activities.

Although there were some changes, the Special Envoy concludes that little has changed overall, and that “[m]ost aid is still channelled in the form of grants directly to international multilateral agencies, and non-state service providers (NGOs and private contractors).” Yet, as the Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti Paul Farmer notes, strengthening Haiti’s public institutions is a must, and the report concludes that “aid is most effective at strengthening public institutions when it is channelled through them.”

The updated numbers from the OSE reveal an increase of $40 million in budget support coming from the European Commission. Yet even after this increase, direct budget support for fiscal year 2011 remains below the amount Haiti received in 2009, before the earthquake decimated much of the government. This is especially critical as many aid agencies continue to wind down operations or fully pull out of Haiti. In many cases the Haitian government, which remains underfunded, is left to pick up the slack.

Support to the Haitian Private Sector – Spending the Development Dollar Twice

In addition to supporting the Haitian public sector, the idea of accompaniment pertains to supporting the Haitian private sector. One of the most direct ways to stimulate local production is through local procurement practices. Peace Dividend Trust (PDT) has been working in Haiti since 2009 to increase the amount of aid that enters the local economy. The Peace Dividend Marketplace is a forum that connects local businesses with development agencies, NGOs, and foreign governments. Forthcoming research from PDT shows that their database contains over 2,200 local businesses, over 600 of which are in the construction sector.

PDT describes the benefits of local procurement as “spending the development dollar twice.” Previous PDT research, predominantly focusing on Afghanistan, revealed that “only a small portion of the aid money pledged and spent in the aftermath of a disaster or conflict will actually be channeled through the host government and local economy.” PDT was instrumental in creating the “Afghanistan Compact,” in which “donors agreed to channel an increasing proportion of their assistance through the core government budget, either directly or through trust fund mechanisms. Where this was not possible, the Compact acknowledges the significance of three things: using national partners rather than international partners to implement projects; increasing procurement within Afghanistan; and using Afghan goods and services wherever feasible rather than importing goods and services.” Yet in Haiti, no such explicit policy exists.

PDT research in Afghanistan showed that “funds provided through trust fund and budget support arrangements” had the greatest local economic impact, calculated by PDT at 80 percent. This means that 80 percent of the funds enter the local economy and generate local economic impact. In comparison, funding provided to international NGOs and contractors provided just 15 percent local economic impact. Although not an exact science, it is reasonable to assume a similar breakdown in Haiti. As mentioned earlier, the OSE report in June found that some 75 percent of recovery funding went to international NGOs, contractors and multilateral agencies where the local economic impact is much lower than direct budget support.

The HRF, although much of its funds remain unspent, is an example of how trust funds can have a greater local impact than contracts with NGOs or for-profit companies. According to the HRF annual report, the Haitian government is the implementing partner for 88.4 percent of HRF funds. Based on PDT research, this will likely lead to the most significant local economic impact of aid allocation.

As was previously mentioned, over 600 of the Haitian businesses listed by PDT are in the construction sector, a key area for development projects. A forthcoming report from PDT on local procurement within the construction sector surveys local business and international organizations, and reveals that at least in the construction sector, many organizations are already doing business with Haitian firms. This is especially important because as PDT found in Afghanistan, “[i]nternational construction contracts are approximated at a 10-15% local economic impact,” an especially low rate. The forthcoming report finds that 32 of 33 international organizations surveyed had used local construction companies, but were much more likely to use larger Haitian firms. Over 60 percent of the companies PDT interviewed had fewer than 10 employees, but these firms were much less likely to have done work for an international organization.

Although PDT has found that many aid organizations are contracting with Haitian businesses, it is unclear what the economic impact is. As PDT explained in Afghanistan, the reason why international construction contracts have such a low economic impact is that “[t]he vast majority of funds are used to pay for international staff and the procurement of international materials – including capital equipment as well as inputs. These companies use a considerable amount of local labour, but since local wages are often much lower than wages paid to international staff, this figure does not represent a large portion of the overall expenditures.” Further research from PDT may shine more light on this issue.

The US and Local Procurement – Haitian Firms Remain Sidelined

The United States, and especially USAID, have made many statements concerning local procurement and their commitment to work with Haitian companies, yet this commitment has yet to show up in their actual contracting. An updated analysis of the Federal Procurement Database System (FPDS) shows that an extremely low percentage of contracts are going to Haitian companies. As can be seen in Table I, as of September 15, 1537 contracts had been awarded for a total of $204,604,670. Of those 1537 contracts, only 23 have gone to Haitian companies, totaling just $4,841,426, or roughly 2.4 percent of the total. For every $100 dollars spent, just $2.40 has gone directly to a Haitian firm.

Table I.
haiti-2011-09-22a

While Haitian firms have largely been left on the sidelines, Beltway contractors (from DC, Maryland and Virginia) have received 35.5 percent of the $200 million in contracts, as can be seen in Table II. We have written before about the controversial track records of two of the largest Beltway contractors, DAI and Chemonics.

Table II.

haiti-2011-09-22b

USAID has actually been one of the worst US government agencies in terms of contracting to local businesses. USAID has awarded contracts totaling $32.5 million, yet not a single contract has been awarded to a Haitian company. In addition, an astounding 93 percent of contracts awarded by USAID have gone to Beltway contractors. Although some of the companies that USAID contracts with use Haitian inputs and subcontract to Haitian firms, USAID does not publicly disclose this information making a more detailed analysis of the local economic impact impossible. As Edward Rees of Peace Dividend Trust told the AP back in December, “No one is systematically tracking how many contracts have gone to Haitian companies.”

A USAID Inspector General report on the provision of shelter determined that the way grants were made was problematic and excluded Haitian businesses:

USAID/OFDA implemented the shelter project by accepting unsolicited grant proposals issued under a waiver for competition because of the urgency of the need after the earthquake. Grants, which do not permit substantial involvement by the Agency, may not have been the best award mechanism to achieve rapid construction of cost-effective shelters meeting industry standards. If USAID/OFDA had used contracts for shelter construction, it could have prescribed the shelter design and could have given local Haitian businesses an opportunity to participate.

The IG recommended to USAID/OFDA that they “set-aside awards to local organizations for future awards for transitional shelter construction.” Although they disagreed with the IG’s recommendation, USAID/OFDA noted that they “support making subawards to local organizations,” and that “it could add a requirement that all proposals include local partners to increase the number of local organizations involved in constructing transitional shelters.”

Additionally, the report found that the largest contractors had not employed as many Haitians as originally planned. The AP reported at the time:

And an audit this fall by US AID’s Inspector General found that more than 70 percent of the funds given to the two largest U.S. contractors for a cash for work project in Haiti was spent on equipment and materials. As a result, just 8,000 Haitians a day were being hired by June, instead of the planned 25,000 a day, according to the IG.

In addition to the above analysis, USAID has provided frequent updates on their humanitarian funding in Haiti since the earthquake. An analysis of USAID factsheets shows that 50 percent of the nearly $1.2 billion in humanitarian funding was allocated to U.S. government agencies. International NGOs and contractors received over 30 percent and UN agencies 16 percent. While there is no doubt that some of this money went to Haitian businesses or NGOs as subcontractors, not a single Haitian organization is named as an “implementing partner” among the 98 activities listed.

We have noted the many scandals that have dogged MINUSTAH’s presence in Haiti since the beginning to the most recent, which involve the video-taped rape of an 18-year-old man, and MINUSTAH troops having sex – and fathering children – with Haitian minors and women. Protests have erupted following these new scandals, and signals from the Haitian government and prominent political figures in Haiti have signaled an impatience with the open-ended Mission.

The Haitian government’s stated support for MINUSTAH’s presence has always been key to its ability to remain in Haiti. A classified Embassy cable by then-Ambassador Janet Sanderson, written in October 2008, and recently made available by Wikileaks, describes how the Haitian government questioned the Mission’s purpose years ago. Then-President René Préval appears to have sought to have MINUSTAH’s mandate changed from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 6 designation:

2. (C)  UNSRSG Hedi Annabi tells me that Haitian President Rene Preval intends to seek a change in the MINUSTAH mandate from Chapter 7 to Chapter 6 status. Arguing that bringing MINUSTAH here under Chapter 7 sends the signal to investors that Haiti is a “war zone,” and ups insurance rates, Preval told Annabi on October 1 that he is writing the UNSC President to request that the Council revisit this issue  prior to vote on the extension of the MINUSTAH mandate. Annabi added that Preval briefly raised this issue with UNSYG Ban Ki Moon during his courtesy call at the UNGA last month; the SYG tried to dissuade Preval but noted that this matter was more in the purview of the UNSC rather than the SYG’s office.

[Hedi Annabi, was Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and MINUSTAH head before being killed in the January 12, 2010 earthquake.]

As we have noted before, the distinction is important, because while a Chapter 7 designation is intended for situations in which the consent of the destination country for the UN “peace keepers” is not required because “a threat or breach of the peace” exists, a Chapter 6 designation requires “only consent by the state in question.” (See this Statement [PDF] by GWU Law School Professor Michael Matheson; h/t Ansel Herz.) Were MINUSTAH’s mandate to change to a Chapter 6 status, as Préval was suggesting, then all the Haitian government would need to do, presumably, to force the Mission’s exit, would be to publicly call for it.

Interestingly, nowhere in the cable does Sanderson respond to the questioning of whether Haiti is indeed a “war zone.” Were there indeed significant ongoing armed conflict of any sort to justify such a strong military presence, it would seem appropriate for Sanderson to reference it here. The cable seems to suggest that the issue of whether or not warfare exists in Haiti is beside the point for the U.S. government’s insistence on MINUSTAH’s Chapter 7 designation.

The cable demonstrates that Préval’s statements caused consternation for both the U.S. government, which, as we have noted, has made its motives for supporting an ongoing MINUSTAH presence very clear, and, of course for Annabi. Previously Wikileaked cables have revealed the lackluster enthusiasm that many Latin American MINUSTAH members had for the Mission from early on. A key component of the U.S. government’s strategy in encouraging Latin American participation in the Mission was to underscore the Haitian government’s desire for MINUSTAH to stay. Shifting MINUSTAH’s mandate from a Chapter 7 “non-consensual” to a Chapter 6 “consensual” designation could have been interpreted as a signal that the Haitian government was actually not as supportive of the foreign troops’ presence. It would also make plain that there was no “threat or breach of the peace” that justified MINUSTAH’s presence.

3. (C) Annabi told me that he argued strongly with Preval
that opening this matter now might unravel the Security
Council consensus, carefully crafted in 2004-2005, which
brought MINUSTAH to Haiti. He expressed deep concern that
moving to Chapter 6 status could open discussions in certain
capitals about troop commitment levels, calling into question
MINUSTAH’s current configuration. Preval, he said, made it
clear that he wants MINUSTAH to stay through the end of his
term (2011.) But Preval has, deliberately or not,
misinterpreted the difference between the two chapters and
will argue in his letter that MINUSTAH’s military role should
now evolve into a developmental presence.  Preval does not
understand, Annabi states, that MINUSTAH troop contributor
countries may not wish to play that role and could use any
such change to dial back their engagement here.

Sanderson seems to have been alarmed that Préval would pursue this proposal, which she notes had previously been suggested by his Minister of Planning, without consequence. “My Chinese, Canadian and French colleagues all agree that from our vantage point here this is a terrible idea which opens a Pandora’s box of issues better left closed,” she wrote, ending the cable with a request that the Secretary of State’s office “provide guidance on USG position on Preval’s proposal” as she planned to soon meet with Préval.

Another pertinent cable that was just made available, from February 2010, describes the Uruguayan government attempting damage control in the wake of a Frente Amplio (ruling party coalition) statement criticizing the U.S. role in Haiti following the earthquake:

1. Charg???? met with ruling Frente Amplio (FA) coalition president Jorge Brovetto February 3 to explain the U.S. role in Haiti disaster relief and underscore the extensive support the USG is providing to Uruguayan peacekeepers in Haiti. She emphasized the moral imperative our entire government and country feels to come to the aid of Haiti, our full respect for the country’s sovereignty, one government response, and our close coordination with MINUSTAH and other donors. She urged a joint public stance of collaboration that reflects our joint work together on this vital mission. Background: The FA issued a declaration January 28 articulating concern that “hegemonic powers” would take advantage of the current situation, and incoming Minister of Defense Luis Rosadilla, currently in Haiti, has made similar statements.

Considering the U.S. government’s clear desire for a robust, ongoing MINUSTAH presence, the recent sexual abuse scandals involving Uruguayan troops – which have led to President José Mujica apologizing to Haitian president Michel Martelly, and to renewed criticism in Brazil and elsewhere – must be causing new worries in the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

We have noted the many scandals that have dogged MINUSTAH’s presence in Haiti since the beginning to the most recent, which involve the video-taped rape of an 18-year-old man, and MINUSTAH troops having sex – and fathering children – with Haitian minors and women. Protests have erupted following these new scandals, and signals from the Haitian government and prominent political figures in Haiti have signaled an impatience with the open-ended Mission.

The Haitian government’s stated support for MINUSTAH’s presence has always been key to its ability to remain in Haiti. A classified Embassy cable by then-Ambassador Janet Sanderson, written in October 2008, and recently made available by Wikileaks, describes how the Haitian government questioned the Mission’s purpose years ago. Then-President René Préval appears to have sought to have MINUSTAH’s mandate changed from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 6 designation:

2. (C)  UNSRSG Hedi Annabi tells me that Haitian President Rene Preval intends to seek a change in the MINUSTAH mandate from Chapter 7 to Chapter 6 status. Arguing that bringing MINUSTAH here under Chapter 7 sends the signal to investors that Haiti is a “war zone,” and ups insurance rates, Preval told Annabi on October 1 that he is writing the UNSC President to request that the Council revisit this issue  prior to vote on the extension of the MINUSTAH mandate. Annabi added that Preval briefly raised this issue with UNSYG Ban Ki Moon during his courtesy call at the UNGA last month; the SYG tried to dissuade Preval but noted that this matter was more in the purview of the UNSC rather than the SYG’s office.

[Hedi Annabi, was Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and MINUSTAH head before being killed in the January 12, 2010 earthquake.]

As we have noted before, the distinction is important, because while a Chapter 7 designation is intended for situations in which the consent of the destination country for the UN “peace keepers” is not required because “a threat or breach of the peace” exists, a Chapter 6 designation requires “only consent by the state in question.” (See this Statement [PDF] by GWU Law School Professor Michael Matheson; h/t Ansel Herz.) Were MINUSTAH’s mandate to change to a Chapter 6 status, as Préval was suggesting, then all the Haitian government would need to do, presumably, to force the Mission’s exit, would be to publicly call for it.

Interestingly, nowhere in the cable does Sanderson respond to the questioning of whether Haiti is indeed a “war zone.” Were there indeed significant ongoing armed conflict of any sort to justify such a strong military presence, it would seem appropriate for Sanderson to reference it here. The cable seems to suggest that the issue of whether or not warfare exists in Haiti is beside the point for the U.S. government’s insistence on MINUSTAH’s Chapter 7 designation.

The cable demonstrates that Préval’s statements caused consternation for both the U.S. government, which, as we have noted, has made its motives for supporting an ongoing MINUSTAH presence very clear, and, of course for Annabi. Previously Wikileaked cables have revealed the lackluster enthusiasm that many Latin American MINUSTAH members had for the Mission from early on. A key component of the U.S. government’s strategy in encouraging Latin American participation in the Mission was to underscore the Haitian government’s desire for MINUSTAH to stay. Shifting MINUSTAH’s mandate from a Chapter 7 “non-consensual” to a Chapter 6 “consensual” designation could have been interpreted as a signal that the Haitian government was actually not as supportive of the foreign troops’ presence. It would also make plain that there was no “threat or breach of the peace” that justified MINUSTAH’s presence.

3. (C) Annabi told me that he argued strongly with Preval
that opening this matter now might unravel the Security
Council consensus, carefully crafted in 2004-2005, which
brought MINUSTAH to Haiti. He expressed deep concern that
moving to Chapter 6 status could open discussions in certain
capitals about troop commitment levels, calling into question
MINUSTAH’s current configuration. Preval, he said, made it
clear that he wants MINUSTAH to stay through the end of his
term (2011.) But Preval has, deliberately or not,
misinterpreted the difference between the two chapters and
will argue in his letter that MINUSTAH’s military role should
now evolve into a developmental presence.  Preval does not
understand, Annabi states, that MINUSTAH troop contributor
countries may not wish to play that role and could use any
such change to dial back their engagement here.

Sanderson seems to have been alarmed that Préval would pursue this proposal, which she notes had previously been suggested by his Minister of Planning, without consequence. “My Chinese, Canadian and French colleagues all agree that from our vantage point here this is a terrible idea which opens a Pandora’s box of issues better left closed,” she wrote, ending the cable with a request that the Secretary of State’s office “provide guidance on USG position on Preval’s proposal” as she planned to soon meet with Préval.

Another pertinent cable that was just made available, from February 2010, describes the Uruguayan government attempting damage control in the wake of a Frente Amplio (ruling party coalition) statement criticizing the U.S. role in Haiti following the earthquake:

1. Charg???? met with ruling Frente Amplio (FA) coalition president Jorge Brovetto February 3 to explain the U.S. role in Haiti disaster relief and underscore the extensive support the USG is providing to Uruguayan peacekeepers in Haiti. She emphasized the moral imperative our entire government and country feels to come to the aid of Haiti, our full respect for the country’s sovereignty, one government response, and our close coordination with MINUSTAH and other donors. She urged a joint public stance of collaboration that reflects our joint work together on this vital mission. Background: The FA issued a declaration January 28 articulating concern that “hegemonic powers” would take advantage of the current situation, and incoming Minister of Defense Luis Rosadilla, currently in Haiti, has made similar statements.

Considering the U.S. government’s clear desire for a robust, ongoing MINUSTAH presence, the recent sexual abuse scandals involving Uruguayan troops – which have led to President José Mujica apologizing to Haitian president Michel Martelly, and to renewed criticism in Brazil and elsewhere – must be causing new worries in the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

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