Below is a brief Caribbean Journal article concerning yesterday's joint launch by Haitian President Michel Martelly and Dominican President Danilo Medina of a reforestation project in NE Haiti. The project is entitled "Regreening Haiti-DR" and is based on Dominican experience in forest recovery. 2013 has been designated "The Year of the Environment" in Haiti and, by expanding environmental partnerships, both countries stand to benefit.
The Art Museum of the Americas (operated by the Organization of American States) is hosting an exhibit entitled “On Common Ground: The Dominican Republic and Haiti.” The most interesting aspect of the exhibition is actually the commentary by the Dominican and Haitian artists. It is refreshing to hear Dominicans and Haitians elevate what they have in common, including a love of art and music. Each country would benefit from cultural exchanges with its neighbor. More from the artists follows:
Below is an article by Rashmee Roshan Lall of the Guardian concerning the Haitian government's plan to promote the planting of 50 million trees a year. The success of this campaign will largely depend upon giving people accessible, affordable alternatives to charcoal. Other countries have launched successful reforestation campaigns - hopefully, Haitian government and civil society can now do the same.
Below is an article by Trenton Daniel (AP) concerning a beautification project, inspired by Haitian artist Prefete Duffaut, in the neighborhood of Jalousie. Plans are underway to include additional neighborhoods. The initiative is not without controversy - slums in Port au Prince have many other needs including water, security, and jobs. Still, Haiti is a colorful country with a vibrant artistic tradition that Jalousie increasingly reflects.
The Public-Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF) is holding a consultation on ethanol cookstoves at the United Nations on April 4th. The purpose of the meeting is to bring together stakeholders that could expand production and use of ethanol in Haiti and to raise awareness about how clean energy could slow deforestation and created green jobs. Another good source of information is Project Gaia, which has been promoting ethanol stoves in Mozambique, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Brazil, and most recently Haiti. The full announcement follows.
Below is the latest semi-annual report from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) covering the period from August 31st - March 15th. The report provides an overview of key developments during this time, especially police capacity, rule of law, and human rights promotion - all of which need to be strengthened significantly before MINUSTAH can fully transition its responsibilities to the Haitian government.
I grew up in the midwest and Chicago, being our largest city, was the promised land. Only well after living in Haiti did I learn that the first non-native resident of Chicago was Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, a Haitian who made the long voyage from Saint Marc. A Haitian Times article about the "Founder of Chicago" follows and you can learn more through the Du Sable Heritage Association. The Haitian-American population there may not be large, but Chicago's history is forever connect to Haiti's.
Below is an article by the International Press Service's Ansel Herz describing upcoming legislative changes that would make it easier for survivors of rape to prosecute their attackers. The reforms have high-level support and could pass within a year. While much more remains to be done, these reforms would represent significant progress.
Below is an article by Trenton Daniel concerning the increasing use of Haitian Kreyol in schools - which is a good thing. In a hemisphere dominated by Spanish and English, French remains the language of the Haitian elite. While true that Haiti has produced artists of note who worked in French, countless children didn't have a chance at a good education because they were instructed in a language neither they nor their teachers were comfortable with. Learning multiple languages makes sense - but so does being tought in (and proud of) your first language.
The International Crisis Group's (ICG) latest report "Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus" examines the Haitian government's efforts to convince its own people, donors and potential investors that progress and stability are achievable. The report emphasizes the need for good governance, consensus building among the elites, effectively implemented poverty reduction strategies and strengthened rule of law. Getting there will require a shift from highly confrontational politics to one of compromise and consensus. The executive summary is below and you can read the full report on the ICG website.