September 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 25 August 2010
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AMERICAS

Haiti

Expected Council Action
The Council is due to receive a report from the Secretary-General on the UN mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, by 31 August. At time of writing there was no decision for the Council to take up Haiti formally in September, although there was some discussion of a possible debate—to highlight the importance of the issues. The MINUSTAH mandate expires on 15 October and accordingly some initial informal discussion at the very least is likely.

Key Recent Developments
On 4 June the Council adopted resolution 1927 which authorised the deployment of 680 additional police officers for the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as a temporary measure in the aftermath of the January earthquake, with a particular focus on building the capacity of the Haitian national police. The Council recognised the need for MINUSTAH to assist the government in protecting internally displaced persons and women and children. The resolution also encouraged the mission, within available means, to provide temporary logistical and technical support to the government of Haiti. (This will be phased out as reconstruction progresses and Haiti’s national capacity grows.)

On 17 June the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission held its first meeting. The Commission is meant to oversee the aid pledged to be delivered in the initial 18-month phase of reconstruction, and is aimed at supporting the coordinated planning and implementation of reconstruction activities. (The Commission, which has been supported by donors and was approved by Haiti’s parliament on 15 April, is co-chaired by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and UN Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton. It announced 29 reconstruction projects on 17 August that it would support with $1.6 billion in international funding.)

In late June Haitian President René Préval issued decrees mandating that legislative elections be organised for 28 November, the same date set for the presidential election. (Préval is not running for an additional term.) In a statement issued on 30 June, the Secretary-General urged member states to provide additional financial resources as soon as possible to assist with the elections. MINUSTAH’s mandate to provide security and logistical assistance for elections in Haiti was reaffirmed in resolution 1927.

On 12 July the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), which is composed of UN and partner agencies, issued a 6-month report on the response to the 12 January earthquake in Haiti. The report said that the relief operation in Haiti had achieved many of its immediate objectives, with food assistance provided to about four million people, emergency shelter materials distributed to about 1.5 million people and drinking water distributed to about 1.2 million people. However, the report noted that humanitarian needs in Haiti remain immense and significant challenges remain in addressing them. Shelter was singled out as one of the most pressing needs. About 125,000 transitional shelters for victims of this year’s earthquake are expected to be completed by mid-2011, though fewer than 4,000 of the shelters—which provide more hurricane protection than tents—have been built so far. (The Atlantic hurricane season occurs from June through November.)

On 14 July the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti released a report based primarily on its visit to the country from 16 to 19 June. (The Ad Hoc Advisory Group was initially established in 1999 and subsequently reactivated in 2004 in order to help coordinate the development of a long-term assistance programme for the country. In April 2005, the Group undertook a mission to Haiti in conjunction with the Security Council, possibly the only such joint trip in Council practice.) The Group’s 14 July report:

  • recommended that full use be made of the capacity of the UN to mobilise international efforts and aid and that its leadership role be recognised and promoted on the ground;
  • called for all actors to lead the electoral process to a positive end and to avoid any disruption in the recovery and reconstruction process;
  • urged the Haitian authorities and their development partners to make every effort to ensure the efficient functioning of the Commission and the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, bearing in mind that although the Fund has been established additional work is needed with regard to its operating methods and procedures and the specific role to be played by the World Bank;
  • emphasised the importance of adhering to the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan for the Reconstruction and National Development of Haiti;
  • recommended that all agencies and NGOs use the aid tracking portal established by the government of Haiti and the UN Development Programme;
  • recommended that the sustained priority of decentralisation be ensured by strengthening offices in the provinces in order to assist local development efforts;
  • noted the need for increased interaction and collaboration among and between the international organisations and the humanitarian cluster system;
  • called on the UN system to play a strong leadership role as the transition continues from response to recovery and reconstruction;
  • recommended clarification regarding the roles and responsibilities of its high-level representatives;
  • firmly supported further renewals of the current mandate of MINUSTAH in order to ensure and consolidate stability and security in Haiti; and
  • stressed the need for all countries which pledged funds for Haiti to disburse them fully and rapidly, and to maintain their commitment.

Human Rights-Related Developments
During the debate on technical assistance and capacity building in the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) on 16 June, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michael Forst, said Haiti was living through a crisis without precedent. The earthquake had exacerbated the situation in a state that was still fragile and a country that was experiencing extreme poverty. At the end of the debate, Forst said that the HRC and the Security Council should speak to each other more regularly in order to address what was particular about Geneva and the HRC and what was particular about the Security Council and New York, especially where their actions overlapped. He also said he had drawn four messages from the debate. First, there was a need for the protection of vulnerable groups, particularly for persons with disabilities. The second was the importance of a human rights-based approach in the reconstruction efforts. The third concerned the need for a role for women in decision-making and their participation in political institutions. Fourthly, progress in judicial reform and the establishment of the rule of law had been interrupted and needed to be resumed.

Key Issue

A key issue for the Council’s renewal of the MINUSTAH mandate is whether the current composition and tasks of MINUSTAH as authorised in S/RES/1927 (4 June 2010) continue to be appropriate, especially in light of the upcoming elections and the continuing reconstruction challenges particularly relating to the provision of shelter.

Underlying Problems
Extreme poverty, recurrent political instability (which the elections could rekindle) and challenges posed in the strategic coordination of international assistance provided by multiple actors are all problems that continue to underlie the situation in Haiti.

Another underlying problem is donor assistance disbursement rates and the risk that other international humanitarian emergencies may have an adverse impact on the disbursement of funds pledged to Haiti.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • holding a debate to highlight the big picture issues in the Secretary-General’s report in advance of discussion of MINUSTAH’s mandate in October; or
  • taking no formal action at this time.

Council and Wider Dynamics
There is widespread support among Council members for the continuation of MINUSTAH’s mandate as a critical facet of the international community’s response to the post-earthquake needs of the country.

Some members feel that an early discussion of the Secretary-General’s report would be useful either in the Council or among the Friends group (composed of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and the US). (Expert-level meetings among members of the Council are expected in late September early October.)

At this point most members appear to favour maintaining the current mandate, as recommended by the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti. However, there appears to be an understanding that should there be any material change to the humanitarian situation in Haiti (such as the potential exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis due to the effects of a hurricane or tropical storm), or a deterioration of the situation in the country in the run-up to national elections on 28 November, a reassessment should take place.

The Friends group continues to play an influential role in discussions regarding Haiti. Council members Brazil, France, Mexico and the US are all heavily involved in the group. It is unclear at this time if a single country has the lead on Haiti.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1927 (4 June 2010) expressed concern over new challenges and threats resulting from the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, authorised the deployment of 680 additional officers for the police component of MINUSTAH as a temporary surge with a particular focus on building the capacity of the Haitian National Police and encouraged the mission, within available means, to provide temporary logistical and technical support to the Government of Haiti that will be phased out as Haiti’s national capacity grows.
  • 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.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/7 (16 April 2010) was adopted during an open debate on peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2010/2 (12 February 2010) was on UN peacekeeping operations’ transition and exit strategies.
  • S/PRST/2009/24 (5 August 2009) was on integration of peacebuilding in peacekeeping missions.
  • S/PRST/2009/23 (22 July 2009) was on 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.

Selected Letter

  • S/2010/27 (18 January 2010) was from Mexico to the Council arguing for a realignment of MINUSTAH’s mandate.

Selected Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6303 (28 April 2010) was the most recent briefing on MINUSTAH.

Other

  • E/2010/102 (14 July 2010) was an ECOSOC report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSTAH

Edmond Mulet (Guatemala)

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Kevin Kennedy (US)

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Ad Interim) and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator (Ad Interim)

Nigel Fisher (Canada)

UN Special Envoy for Haiti

Bill Clinton (US)

Force Commander

Major-General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz (Brazil)

Police Commissioner

Geraldo Chaumont (Argentina)

Size and Composition of Mission

  • Authorised strength as of 4 June 2010: military component of up to 8,940 military personnel and police component of up to 4,391 officers.
  • Current strength as of 30 June 2010: 11,578 total uniformed personnel, including 8,609 troops and 2,969 police. (As of 31 May 2010 the uniformed personnel are supported by 473 international civilian personnel, 1,235 local civilian staff and 208 UN volunteers.)
  • Contributors of military personnel: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, India, Japan, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Phillipines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, the US and Uruguay.
  • Contributors of police personnel: Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Columbia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, the US, Uruguay and Yemen.

Cost

1 July 2010 – 31 December 2010: $380 million (A/C.5/64/19)

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