During the past 75 days a lot of visits to Haiti and international meetings have produced a substantial number of suggestions and plans of diverse names. The UN secretary- general, Ban Ki-moon commenting Haiti’s situation said: “That is our challenge in New York — not to rebuild but to “build back better,” to create a new Haiti. Under the plan, an Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission would channel nearly $4 billion into specific projects and programs during the next 18 months. Over the next 10 years, reconstruction needs will total an estimated $11.5 billion.”
Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. Last Wednesday, at an international donor conference, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined U.S. plans to spend an additional $1 billion or so to rebuild the earthquake-devastated nation. “The most dramatic change is an effort to build up Haiti’s fragile government,” she said, … “More broadly, the goal is to develop the framework of a modern state — spending money to help Haiti create building codes, regulatory systems and anticorruption standards. U.S. funds would be used to train and pay Haitian officials. “ However while the Obama administration insists that “its plan will help the Haitian government with its own priorities — not impose a U.S. vision, the plan, however, allots $48 million to housing and offices for up to 300 short- and long-term U.S. personnel.”
Haitian President Rene Préval plan “essentially will redirect much of Haiti’s economic development outside of Port-au-Prince”, and “create provisional economic hubs to compete with the capital.” In a 53-page document, the first detailed account of how Haiti and its international backers plan to spend their money over the next 18 months, it is stated: “Rebuilding Haiti does not mean returning to the situation that prevailed before the earthquake. It means addressing all these areas of vulnerability, so that the vagaries of nature or natural disasters never again inflict such suffering or cause so much damage and loss.”
This plan marks “the first phase of a highly ambitious reconstruction effort that could pour more than $11 billion in international aid into Haiti over the next decade. It calls for refurbishing the airport and main port, building a new airport and two new seaports, and laying 600 kilometers of road through the country to promote trade, tourism and access to health-care centers.” It is reported that ”the Haitian proposal is based on the findings of a needs-assessment study carried out by Haitian and international reconstruction specialists. It also calls for the establishment of a “Multiple Donor Fiduciary Fund,” which would help oversee international reconstruction funds.”
One interesting aspect of the U.S. aid plan is to be “part of a vast international effort to rebuild parts of the Haitian state. Canada and France, for example, would help reconstruct the school system.” One French participant at the meeting stated that this reconstruction should include “teachers training, the use of the national language and the respect of the people’s traditions.”
One other area of importance is the security. Apparently, the U.S. government will help Haiti’s justice ministry “develop and execute a post-earthquake justice strategy.” It will assist the Haitians in revising their criminal and civil codes. Eventually, The United States will help fund ministry buildings, a national magistrate training school and a network of justice centers. Moreover, it will help pay salaries for regional judicial and police task forces, according to the plan.
It does not seem that much money will be given to the Haitian government without specific targets. The plan includes several measures to keep aid from being wasted. “It requests $1.5 million for an inspector general. And the U.S. government would funnel some of the money through the proposed Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, made up of Haitian authorities and representatives of donor countries and international institutions. Its projects would be overseen by an international accounting firm.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon summed up the new commitment in the execution of the “Haitian Reconstruction Action Plan” saying, “Haiti’s leaders are well aware that this new partnership requires a commitment to good governance, transparency and mutual accountability — between the government and the governed, between the public and private sectors, between Haiti and the international community. It requires fresh approaches to long-standing problems.”