April 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 March 2010
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AMERICAS

Haiti

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to take up the situation in Haiti in April with a view to adjusting the tasks for the UN mission in Haiti. On 31 March the UN will host an international conference on Haiti to discuss reconstruction in the aftermath of the January earthquake. Many Security Council members will play a leading role and it seems likely that the conference outcome will be a key element in the Council’s discussions.

Key Recent Developments
Preparations continued for the 31 March International Donors’ Conference, Towards a New Future for Haiti to be held at the UN in New York. Sponsors of the conference include the UN and the US in cooperation with the Haitian government. Brazil, Canada, the EU, France and Spain will also play leading roles. The Government of Haiti is likely to present a vision for the country’s ongoing recovery and development. The Conference will not only seek to mobilise sustained donor contributions for Haiti, but also to establish common positions on Haiti’s long-term recovery and development needs and how to coordinate international support for them. A fund for reconstruction in Haiti is likely to be discussed.

On 23 March a stakeholders meeting organised by Brazil and Haiti was held in New York in advance of the 31 March conference. It sought to take stock of the current situation on the ground and to discuss the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) role in the ongoing aid effort in the country. The discussion of MINUSTAH’s role was essentially confined to the limits of its current mandate and participants emphasised that the stakeholders meeting should not prejudge if and when the Council might revise the mission’s mandate. Possible enhancements to MINUSTAH’s role, without a formal change to the mission’s mandate, were identified in the areas of:

  • ensuring a secure and stable environment;
  • providing support to the earthquake relief effort;
  • physical reconstruction;
  • capacity-building;
  • coordination and ownership;
  • political dialogue; and
  • accountability and transparency.

Former US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made a joint visit to Haiti on 22 March to assess the nation’s earthquake recovery needs. The two men are heading up private US fundraising for the country. Clinton also serves as UN Special Envoy for Haiti and has played a leadership role in coordinating the international relief effort at the request of the Secretary-General.

Also on 22 March the EU committed to support a long-term development plan for Haiti over the next decade, stated its support for the Haitian government’s leadership with regard to recovery and reconstruction efforts and said it intended to prepare a planning document for aid after the conference.

In preparation for the 31 March conference, the Dominican Republic, with the support of the World Bank and Canada, hosted an international technical conference on 16 and 17 March to evaluate the economic consequences of the 12 January earthquake. (A preliminary study by the Inter-American Development Bank in February estimated that the cost of the earthquake could be nearly $14 billion. A more detailed post-disaster needs assessment will be completed in the coming weeks.) At the conclusion of the conference in the Dominican Republic, participants issued a statement announcing $3.8 billion over 18 months to support relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. Participants proposed the creation of a trust fund to be administered by the Government of Haiti and donors and supervised by the World Bank.

The Secretary-General travelled to Haiti on 14 March. He noted that the UN’s revised flash appeal for the country is nearly half funded. (On 18 February the UN had launched a $1.44 billion appeal for Haiti.)

On 9 March, the UN held a memorial service to honour its 101 employees—civilians, military and police personnel from 29 countries—who were killed in the 12 January earthquake.

Human Rights-Related Developments

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay noted on 4 March in her Annual Report to the Human Rights Council that her office was actively engaged in ensuring that human rights are put at the centre of all humanitarian and reconstruction activities in Haiti. The Representative of the Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Walter Kalin, echoed these remarks several days later. “The human rights of Haiti’s displaced population should serve as benchmarks for all recovery efforts,” Kalin told a panel of experts at the UN in Geneva who are engaged in developing a roadmap for lasting solutions for the 1.9 million persons displaced by January’s earthquake.

Key Issues
The key issue facing the Council is whether and how the pre-earthquake mandate of MINUSTAH should be adjusted in light of the results of the 31 March conference.

Underlying Problems
Extreme poverty and inequality, a history of poor governance and recurrent political instability and the continuing risk of crime and insecurity emerging on a larger scale underlie the situation in Haiti and enormously complicate the post-earthquake scenario.

A second underlying problem is the strategic coordination of international assistance and how this will be led and managed. The risks of multiple bodies trying to do this are apparent, both at the operational level and in terms of member state oversight.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • no alteration of MINUSTAH’s mandate for the time being;
  • asking MINUSTAH—as it has recently done with the UN mission in Afghanistan—to assume full responsibility for all operational coordination of assistance;
  • requesting the Secretary-General to produce recommendations for best integrating oversight of the assistance coordination mandate of MINUSTAH, bearing in mind the role of the Security Council and other institutions;
  • approving a press or presidential statement highlighting the current needs in Haiti and the ongoing role of MINUSTAH in addressing them.

Council Dynamics
Many Council members seem to welcome the enhancements to MINUSTAH’s role suggested at the 23 March stakeholders meeting. Members appear to agree that Council action is desirable due to the drastically changed situation in Haiti. Council members are also aware that not only does the UN need to plan for the medium term but also that some short term elements of the relief effort are pressing. Recent heavy rains highlighted shortfalls in the provision of shelter, which will be exacerbated with the start of the rainy season followed by the hurricane season.

There does not yet appear to be consensus, however, on how to alter the role of the mission. Most members look forward to input from the 31 March conference, the Secretary-General’s report and perhaps some additional assessments by the Secretariat.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1908 (19 January 2010) bolstered the troop and police personnel for MINUSTAH by 1,500 additional police and 2,000 additional military personnel.
  • S/RES/1892 (13 October 2009) renewed the mandate of MINUSTAH until 15 October 2010.

Selected Secretary-General’s Report

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/24 (5 August 2009) regarded integration of peacebuilding in peacekeeping missions.
  • S/PRST/2009/23 (22 July 2009) regarded post-conflict peacebuilding.

Selected Press Statement

  • SC/9865 (19 February 2010) conveyed the Council’s appreciation for MINUSTAH’s work and pledged its continuing support to the nation and people of Haiti.

Other Relevant Facts

Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSTAH

Edmond Mulet (Guatemala)

Acting Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Anthony Banbury (US)

UN Special Envoy to Haiti

Bill Clinton (US)

Force Commander

Major-General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz (Brazil)

Police Commissioner

Geraldo Chaumont (Argentina)

Useful Additional Source

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