October 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2011
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Expected Council Action
The mandate of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) expires on 15 October. The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the mission for another 12 months.

Key Recent Developments
On 16 September, Mariano Fernandez, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINUSTAH, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report, issued on 25 August. The report:

  • recognised the considerable progress made by Haiti since the devastating earthquake in January 2010, noting that with the recent election of Michel Martelly there was a peaceful transition of power from a democratically elected president to one from the opposition for the first time in the country’s history; 
  • voiced concern about the lack of progress in appointing a prime minister due to a stand-off between the executive and legislative branches; 
  •  noted that an assessment of the security situation in Haiti conducted in July in line with resolution 1944 (2010) found that the earthquake had not resulted in a breakdown of law and order or altered the nature of the security threats facing the country; 
  • recognised that with the winding down of large-scale humanitarian operations and the completion of national elections, many of the challenges that had justified the post-earthquake surge in MINUSTAH’s troop and police strength have decreased significantly; 
  •  stated that a partial drawdown of the mission’s military and police capabilities would be unlikely to undermine the progress made so far with regard to security;
  • acknowledged the vital contribution made by MINUSTAH in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, noting that recovery and reconstruction efforts are ongoing and will continue to require mission assistance, especially in the form of military engineering assets; and
  • anticipated that MINUSTAH will refocus its efforts on support for the political process, good governance, consolidation of state authority and assistance in building the capacity of government institutions.

The report also stressed that Haitian authorities must take increasing responsibility for the country’s stability, including by establishing a greater governmental presence throughout the country in the areas of policing, the judiciary and public administration. More progress is needed with regard to education, as well as the provision of basic services and housing to individuals displaced by the 2010 earthquake. In addition, sustained engagement by the international community and increased investment in development are crucial to ensuring that any potential downsizing of the mission does not create a vacuum.

The report recommended that:

  • the Council extend the mandate of MINUSTAH until 15 October 2012; 
  • the mission’s authorised military strength be reduced by 1,600 personnel (this would be accomplished by withdrawing two infantry battalions from the lowest-risk areas of the country and reconfiguring other military units);
  • the mission’s authorised formed police unit officers be reduced by 1,150; and
  • the recommended troop and police reductions coincide with current troop and police rotation schedules and be completed by June 2012, accompanied by an adjustment of existing deployments to ensure adequate regional coverage in the country.

During the subsequent debate, Council members expressed support for a 12-month extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate as well as the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a reduction in troop and police levels. However, most also emphasised that any drawdown must be implemented gradually and carefully so as not to negatively impact the security situation in the country. The UK expressed concern that maintaining a large number of peacekeeping troops could be counterproductive and cause the mission to be viewed unfavourably by the population noting that troops are not necessarily the most appropriate means of delivering development aid.

Human Rights-Related Developments
The UN independent human rights expert on Haiti, Michel Forst, issued a statement on 2 September during his ninth mission to Haiti expressing the hope that the government’s declarations of new measures on the rule of law would be “the beginning of the long-awaited completion of the necessary separation of the executive and the judiciary powers which should eventually help give Haitians confidence in the effectiveness of their justice system.” Commenting on cases in the fight against impunity, especially those concerning Jean-Claude Duvalier and the massacre at the prison in Les Cayes, Forst said that he had received assurances at the highest level that justice would take its course and that the separation of powers would prohibit any interference by the executive in the judicial proceedings.


Key Issues
A key issue for the Council will be whether to accept the recommendations included in the Secretary-General’s report, in particular with regard to the size and composition of MINUSTAH. A related issue is how to ensure that the security situation is not negatively affected if the overall force level of the mission begins to be drawn down.

Underlying Problems
Underlying problems in Haiti include a history of political instability and systemic poverty, as well as significant continuing challenges posed by the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

Options for the Council include:

  • renewing the mandate of MINUSTAH at a reduced level, as recommended by the Secretary General;
  • renewing the mandate of MINUSTAH without reducing the size of the mission at this time; 
  • reducing the size or mandate of MINUSTAH in a more substantive way; and
  • including with any mandate renewal a provision for reassessing the security environment in Haiti and the composition of the mission at some point in the coming year in order to provide a basis for discussions of a future or further drawdown of MINUSTAH.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members agree on the need to renew MINUSTAH’s mandate, most likely for a further 12 months. There also seems to be broad, if cautious, support for implementing the troop and police reductions that were recommended by the Secretary-General in his latest report. A number of members voiced some concern that the mission not be reduced precipitously. However, it appears that the suggested reductions are acceptable to most members in light of the Secretary-General’s assessment that they would be unlikely to undermine security gains that have been achieved. While the UK expressed disappointment during the September debate that a greater reduction in the mission’s size had not been recommended, it is unclear if other members will be persuaded of the need for this at the present time.

Although agreement seems to be coalescing around the Secretary-General’s recommendation with regard to the size of MINUSTAH, there is not yet consensus on whether, and when, the Council should ask for a follow-up assessment of the security situation in Haiti. Such an assessment could form the basis for future discussions regarding possible further reductions in the size of the mission.

The Group of Friends continues to play an influential role in discussions regarding Haiti (Council members Brazil, Colombia, France and the US remain actively involved in the group). As has been the usual practice in past years, the group is expected to produce a draft renewal resolution as a basis for Council discussion. Council members anticipate beginning their negotiation of the text early in October.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1944 (14 October 2010) renewed the mandate of MINUSTAH and called for a comprehensive assessment of the security environment in 2011 following the elections.
  • S/RES/1927 (4 June 2010) 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.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2011/7 (6 April 2011) was adopted at an open debate chaired by Colombia’s president.


  • A/C.5/65/19 (22 July 2011) was a note submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly providing a summary of approved resources for peacekeeping operations, including MINUSTAH.  

Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6618 (16 September 2011) was the most recent debate on Haiti.  


Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSTAH

Mariano Fernández (Chile)

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Kevin Kennedy (US)

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator

Nigel Fisher (Canada)

UN Special Envoy for Haiti

Bill Clinton (US)

Force Commander

Major General Luiz Eduardo Ramos Pereira (Brazil)

Police Commissioner

Marc Tardif (Canada)

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 31 July 2011: 12,252 total uniformed personnel, including 8,728 troops and 3,524 police. (As of 30 June, the uniformed personnel are supported by 564 international civilian personnel, 1,338 local civilian staff and 221 UN volunteers.)

Contributors of military personnel: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Japan, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, 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, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Grenada, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, the US, Uruguay and Yemen.


Approved budget (1 July 2011 – 30 June 2012): $793 million


Useful Additional Source
Keeping Haiti Safe: Police Reform, Latin America/Caribbean Briefing No. 26, International Crisis Group, 8 September 2011

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