In the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) released a report on opportunities for effective reconstruction. The report emphasizes he importance of: (1) providing training and budget support for the Haitian government; (2) rapid job creation, not just in Port au Prince, but around the country; (3) building up the capacity and credibility of the Haitian National Police and courts; (4) strengthening disaster preparedness and response; and (5) the importance of gender sensitive recovery activities. The report is attached and copied below.
Kathie Klarreich, who has been covering Haiti since 1986, recently wrote a Miami Herald article on the many small yet promising signs that Port au Prince is becoming calmer, better governed, and more stable. Challenges abound, including improving the delivery of health services and reforming the justice system, but these visible signs of progress contribute to a growing sense of optimism and a belief that things can and will continue to improve.
Hard to believe that just a year and a half ago, there were food riots in Port au Prince and other Haitian cities. Since then, Haiti has become become politically stable to the point where firms involved in agriculture, textiles, infrastructure development and tourism are considering investing in Haiti. Livelihood opportunities are sorely needed given that half of Haitians live on less than two dollars a day. Still, the majority of Haitians are small farmers. Without opportunities to provide for themselves and their families, the influx of the rural poor to urban centers will only accelerate. Increasing agricultural productivity/opportunities is key to improving food security in Haiti.
Below is a post from "The Cable", confirming rumors that Paul Farmer is considering a position in the Obama Administration. The position is as of yet unclear. It may be USAID Administrator or a new position coordinating U.S. Global Health programs. Partners in Health has had a tremendous impact in Haiti, Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere. As a champion of health and human rights, Farmer's vision and expertise would be an asset to the Obama Administration.
According to the Cable, former U.S. President Bill Clinton will be named a U.N. special envoy to Haiti this week. Clinton made his fourth trip to Haiti in March with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. He had told the Miami Herald, "I've been following this country for more than three decades...the message I want to send is Haitians work hard and they work smart. Haiti is a good place to invest."
Delegates from 28 countries and multilateral organizations participated in the 2009 Haiti Donors Conference. Given the global economic downturn , now is a tough time to hold such an event. Donors pledged to provide $324 million in additional aid to Haiti over the next two years, of which $41 million is for budget support in 2009. Not as much as hoped for, but if the Haitian government can spend it well, this may open doors for increased support from donors later on.