mercredi 31 mai 2017

Development expert: ‘Haiti would be better off without international aid’

Haiti is one of many poor countries where international aid has failed to fulfil its objectives. Despite billions of dollars being pumped in, little has changed since the disastrous earthquake of 2010, Joel Boutroue told EURACTIV France.
Joel Boutroue was deputy special representative of the secretary general of the United Nations for the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) from 2006 to 2009. The post carried the responsibilities of humanitarian coordinator, resident coordinator and resident representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Boutroue then became special advisor to the prime minister of Haiti (2009-2011) and the prime minister of Norway (2011-2016).
Boutroue will take part in the ID4D conference “Haiti: how to take the time for development?” hosted by the French Development Agency in Paris on 6 June.
This interview is published in partnership with the ID4D blog, coordinated by the French Development Agency.
Haiti is one of the most fragile countries in the world. Seven years after the 2010 earthquake, what challenges is the country facing?
Haiti is still exploding. Beyond poor governance, which is the central problem, agriculture is still a big problem. Haiti is an agrarian country but no investment has been made in this sector, there has been no implementation of sustainable practices and agricultural tools have not evolved since the Haitian revolution.
The country has to invest in agriculture and the first step is to make a modern land registry. Today they are still using books from the colonial era, like the land surveys conducted by Moreau de Saint Mery in 1794.
The second big issue in this country is education. It has deteriorated at a terrifying pace these last few decades. Until the 1960s, the Haitians were exporters of knowledge but today the level is catastrophic.
And finally, the third issue is water and sanitation. Haiti is an open sewer in need of treatment. This challenge comes upstream of any action on health, because the population in poisoning itself. There is not one sewer, not one sanitation station in the whole country. This is an enormous problem and will only grow with demographic expansion: Haiti’s population will grow from 11 million to 18 million in 40 years. And this – demographics and urban planning – is the final challenge. The city of Port au Prince was designed for 200,000 people and already it has a population of 3 million.
Haiti has received uninterrupted aid from the international community, particularly since the 2010 earthquake. How is it used?
Donors are often caught between a rock and a hard place. One the one hand there is the need to demonstrate tangible results to their own citizens and show that their money has served a purpose. On the other hand, the beneficiary country only has a certain capacity for absorption. And this does not progress at the same pace. But many donors, either out of cynicism or laziness, pursue short term interests.
In Haiti, where deforestation is a huge problem, some of the population has begun cutting less wood because we have managed to interest them in fruit trees, for example by teaching farmers to graft mangoes onto fruit trees and increase its value, rather than cutting it down. But this takes time.
After the 2010 earthquake, about 15 billion cubic metres of detritus had to be moved. In the end it took months for the operation to even begin because nobody wanted to fund it. It was not a sexy operation for donors and the results were not visible enough.
Does this kind of behaviour affect relations with the most fragile states?
In light of the need to deliver in a short amount of time, donors take liberties with states that cannot react. Haiti is often described as the NGO republic, which is not entirely false. The NGOs financed by international donors pay very little heed to the Haitian state. But in so doing, the state becomes marginalised and weakened in its interactions with the population. And this creates other problems. Aid in Haiti is not a partnership, it is not a relationship of equals.
Why does a fragile state like Haiti not manage to set its own development priorities?
Just because a state has signed a development strategy does not mean its priorities are the same as those of its donors. The Haitian state has the same problem as any fragile state that does not necessarily have the means or the capacity to have priorities. But it is precisely when donors intervene in a fragile state that they should clarify the priorities and stick to them, instead of accusing the state itself of not having any. But in this situation, choices tend to be imposed because the road to stronger governance in the fragile country is longer and more complex. Yet, all development initiatives are in vain if there is no strengthening of governance, that is to say, a state’s ability to produce and implement policies.
Has international aid helped Haiti to develop in any concrete way since the 2010 earthquake?
Haiti would be better off without aid. Or at least, without the bad kind of aid that allows the administration and the elites to continue without changing. It would be better to create the conditions in which change could happen. If we get involved, we should do so in an intelligent way, even if that is less visible in terms of the value it brings. I am not saying that all aid is bad. For example, the international presence should allow us to put pressure on the corrupt state.
Rather than funding road building, which is very expensive in Haiti, we should ensure the laws are in place to look after the roads that are built using international aid. That is even more important than building the road itself.
After the earthquake, $5bn was spent by the international community. But a large proportion of this money never reached the ground because it covered operational costs. Of all the money handed out, the Haitian state may take 10% as budgetary support for its programmes. Most is absorbed by international NGOs with not even 1% taken by local NGOs. And the rest is spent on humanitarian aid programmes.
So has international cooperation in Haiti been a failure?
In large part it is a failure, but not just in Haiti. In fragile countries, development agencies often work with the public administration, which is an empty shell, and with the elites who are responsible for the situation in the first place. This only strengthens the status quo. The World Bank’s 2017 report on governance and law makes this point: the countries that receive aid make less effort to change their governance.
Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/development-policy/interview/un-expert-haiti-would-be-better-off-without-international-aid/

Utah’s Mia Love pushing Trump to let Haitian refugees stay in the U.S. longer

Washington • The Trump administration has granted a six-month extension to about 58,000 Haitian immigrants who fled their country, or remained in the United States, after a 2010 earthquake devastated parts of the already depressed nation.br> But U.S. Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, the first Hatian-American to serve in Congress, says the government should tack on another year to the deportation delay for those refugees because Haiti is still struggling to recover.
"While I am pleased that the administration granted an extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haiti, I am not convinced six months is sufficient," Love said in a statement. "The administration claims that conditions in Haiti have measurably improved. But after working with Utah-based Operation Underground Railroad and coordinating with fellow members on the Terrorism and Illicit Financing subcommittee, evidence indicates that the country still faces significant challenges."
Operation Underground Railroad, a nongovernment entity, is aimed at helping rescue human trafficking and sex trafficking victims worldwide.
Love, a member of the House Financial Services subcommittee, says a cholera outbreak, a food crisis and slow recovery from the earthquake as well as the impact of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 shows the refugees deserve a longer break before being sent back to their home country.
Last week, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced the six-month extension of the protected status through Jan. 22. It had been set to expire on July 23.
"Haiti has made progress across several fronts since the devastating earthquake in 2010, and I'm proud of the role the United States has played during this time in helping our Haitian friends," the secretary said in a statement. "The Haitian economy continues to recover and grow, and 96 percent of people displaced by the earthquake and living in internally displaced person camps have left those camps. Even more encouraging is that over 98 percent of these camps have closed."
Kelly also noted that the Haitian government plans to rebuild its presidential residence and the United Nations has withdrawn its stabilization mission in the country.
He said refugees from the country allowed to stay under the order should begin to prepare to go home.
"We plan to continue to work closely with the Haitian government, including assisting the government in proactively providing travel documents for its citizens," he said.
Love, who was born in New York City but whose parents immigrated from Haiti, says she will urge the Trump administration to push for longer protection and will partner with Utah-based organizations who are helping refugees and improve conditions in Haiti.
This marks one of a handful of times she has weighed in on conditions in Haiti. As an example, last year she urged the U.N. to respond to the cholera outbreak.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is also pushing for extending the protective status for a longer period.
"Haiti continues to be one of the world's poorest countries and the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere," she said last week. "While it's a positive step that the department extended temporary protected status to Haitians for six months, I'm concerned that Secretary Kelly indicated that it would not be extended again. There's simply no guarantee that the situation in Haiti will improve significantly during that time."
Source: http://www.sltrib.com/home/5346384-155/utahs-mia-love-pushing-trump-to

mardi 30 mai 2017


Si quelqu’un voudrait prouver que la malédiction existe, il suffirait de se pencher sur ce que vivent mes compatriotes haïtiens depuis quelques temps. Je comprends certes ceux qui vont philosopher entre hasard et déterminisme pour démontrer une logique impitoyable basée sur une relation de cause à effet, une logique presque cartésienne une causalité à fleur d’esprit, dans tout ce qui arrive chez nous.
Il importe de savoir que notre pays est sans doute le seul endroit au monde où l’on peut croiser Dieu le jour sur le sommet d’une montagne et le diable à minuit pile dans un carrefour plongé dans l’obscurité.
On vit au rythme des miracles. Entre des demandes formulées dans des prières et des miracles qui se produisent (pour de bon). Nous y croyons tellement que nous sommes capables d’élire des à-peine-lettrés, tout en espérant que ces élus apportent des solutions à des problèmes qui relèvent de la physique quantique !
Je ne prétends sûrement pas raviver cette polémique qu’avait déclenchée un évangéliste américain qui, au lendemain du 12 janvier 2010, avait expliqué la survenue du tremblement de terre dévastateur par le fait que le pays aurait été dédié au diable lors de la révolte des esclaves qui avait abouti à la geste de notre indépendance.
Je ne reviendrai pas non plus sur les rassemblements faits pour remercier Dieu d’avoir épargné la majeure partie de la population haïtienne qui ne compta en fin que 300.000 morts !
Nous autres les haïtiens nous croyons comme des convaincus que la malédiction existe. Oui, cette malédiction définie dans le Larousse comme : paroles par lesquelles on souhaite un sort néfaste à quelqu'un , ou condamnation au malheur qui semble venir d'une puissance supérieure, sort hostile, malheur, malchance auxquels on semble être voué par la destinée, existe bien.
En 1984 quand le chef de l’église catholique visita Haïti, les chrétiens protestants qui considèrent le pape comme l’antéchrist avaient prédit des moments de malheur sur le pays. Ce qui aurait été corroboré avec le départ de Jean-Claude Duvalier et tout ce qui a suivi.
Plus récemment des pluies diluviennes se sont abattues sur le pays provoquant des inondations un peu partout. Ceci, juste quelques jours après la visite du roi béninois du vaudou.
Un présentateur vedette de la radio faisant maladroitement fi de la diversité de son audience a déclenché des critiques sérieuses du secteur vaudou quand il établit sur les ondes ce rapport de causalité entre les deux événements.
Tout ceci pour vous dire que le phénomène en Haïti n’est pas un vain mot.
Mieux qu’une polémique désuète et peu productive, je voulais ici souligner et retracer une suite d'évènements de survenue aléatoire certes, qui n’ont cessé d’entraver nos actions et les bonnes volontés intéressées à améliorer le sort de quelques-uns de nos compatriotes.
En 2010 un monde bouleversé observe comme contre- exemple, un pays mal géré frappé par un des plus meurtriers des tremblements de terre de tous les temps.
Dans le désarroi de la population, une instance internationale venue pour aider inocule par une négligence meurtrière le choléra qui fait plus de 10.000 morts.
Six ans plus tard alors que tout le monde parle de la gestion désastreuse des fonds alloués pour la reconstruction du pays encore à genou, le plus virulent des cyclones s’abat sur les départements qui ont été à peu près épargnés par le séisme. Comme le 12 janvier des départements sont détruits à plus de 80%.
Je ne relate pas seulement des informations globales véhiculées dans le macrocosme national ou on a l’impression que peu de gens sont concernés. Nous avions été frappés par cette suite désastreuse qui n’a laissé que très peu ou pas assez de répit aux haïtiens pour leur permettre de respirer.
Depuis le printemps 2016, nous nous sommes engagés à aider une petite école d’une section communale de Arniquet, PINOT (ou « NAN PINO » pour les habitants). Nous devions en particulier refaire la toiture qui tenait à peine et aider au fonctionnement de l’école suivant toujours les mêmes objectifs « primaires » : une scolarisation de qualité, une scolarisation soutenue et un repas par jour.
Des activités ont été réalisées permettant de collecter une petite somme d’argent pour favoriser l’ouverture des classes. Quatre jours avant le jour J, au lieu d’une radieuse rentrée scolaire les enfants ont eu à faire face à Matthew qui a tout saccagé sur son passage. L’argent a été utilisé pour porter les premiers secours à cette population qui elle aussi avait tout perdu mais était trop enclavée pour prétendre à l’aide des organismes locaux et internationaux.
Tout de suite après les premiers secours et l’établissement des bilans, l’attention a été rapidement portée sur les risques de famine dans la mesure où toute l’agriculture avait été dévastée. Ce fut donc tout à fait naturellement que nous avions déboursé 2.000 dollars pour l’achat de haricots dont le temps de la semence était proche.
Le passage de Mathieu laissa derrière elle une météorologie très instable avec des pluies diluviennes et continues qui aggravèrent la situation des sinistrés.
Puis vint une période de sécheresse encore plus désastreuse qui rendit impossible la semence des haricots qui avaient été distribués aux agriculteurs.
Pas de chance ou malédiction ?
Dans un deuxième volet de nos actions nous entamâmes la reconstruction d’un abri provisoire pour héberger l’école et nous mîmes sur pied un petit programme rationalisant le fonctionnement de l’école avec comme point d’orgue le repas journalier des enfants.
Les pluies continuèrent de plus belle créant des difficultés pour stocker le matériel scolaire, les ustensiles de cuisine et dans certains cas la dispense des cours. De ce constat vint la nécessité d’une construction en dure pouvant héberger la direction de l’école, la cuisine et une salle polyvalente.
Le devis nous a été envoyé et a été approuvé par l’ensemble de nos intervenants. Les pluies les sempiternelles responsables de l’aggravation de la situation avaient du côté des infrastructures endommagées sévèrement le tronçon de route qui mène vers Pinot. Ce tronçon de route restait encore praticable.
Il a continué à pleuvoir et les précipitations récentes ont fini par détruire complètement la route.
Aujourd’hui, il est carrément impossible d’acheminer les matériaux de construction vers Pinot. Le maire de Arniquet, commune dont dépend Pinot a été contacté et celui-ci nous a fait comprendre que pour rétablir la communication entre Arniquet et Pinot il faudrait entre autres machines, un TRACTEUR A CHENILLES qui semble ne pas exister du tout au niveau du département.
Pour l’instant nous voilà bloqués avec nos projets de reboisement, la plantation de bananiers, le montage de l’enthousiaste projet de nos poulaillers solidaires…
Mal chance ou Malédiction ?
Pour l’instant le miracle serait UN TRACTEUR A CHENILLES !
Dr Jonas Jolivert Marseille France