July 2017 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2017
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AMERICAS

Haiti

Expected Council Action

In July, Special Representative and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Sandra Honoré is expected to brief the Council on recent developments and the latest Secretary-General’s report which is due by 12 July.

Key Recent Developments

In April, the Council adopted resolution 2350 which extended the mandate of MINUSTAH for a final period of six months. In line with the recommendations of the assessment mission conducted by the Secretary-General, the resolution mandated the drawdown of the military component of the mission leading to its complete withdrawal by 15 October. Furthermore, the resolution established another, smaller peacekeeping mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), to assist the government of Haiti in strengthening the rule of law institutions, reinforcing national police capacities, and engaging in human rights monitoring, reporting and analysis. The successor mission MINUJUSTH, whose six-month mandate will begin on 16 October, is envisioned to draw down after two years.  

In early May, the members of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti visited Haiti and met with key political actors, civils society, and development agencies operating in the country. The group was initially established in 1999 to provide recommendations on how to ensure the most effective and coordinated approach regarding international assistance to Haiti. However, the group  became inactive within months of its establishment. In 2004, ECOSOC reactivated the group with the mandate to promote socioeconomic recovery and to ensure coherence and sustainability in international support to Haiti. On 9 June, at the request of Uruguay, the Council held an informal interactive dialogue with Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard (Canada), current chair of the advisory group. Blanchard briefed Council members on some of the main findings during the advisory group’s visit to Haiti in May.

On 3 May, the Secretary-General submitted a report to the General Assembly providing an update on the UN’s new, two-track approach to Cholera in Haiti. Track one involves intensifying the UN’s support for efforts aimed at reducing and ultimately ending the transmission of cholera, improving access to care and treatment, and addressing the longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti. Track two involves developing a package of material assistance and support to Haitians most directly affected by cholera, drawing on contributions from member states.

In the report, the Secretary-General announced his plan to appoint a special envoy who would be in charge of developing a comprehensive fundraising strategy. Furthermore, he called on member states to voluntarily allocate to a trust fund to support his new approach, assessed contributions amounting to a total of $40.5 million which will remain unspent after MINUSTAH closes in October, and which would otherwise be returned to states. The Secretary-General has estimated that the new approach would require funding of $400 million. The fund remains severely underfunded with a total of $2.7 million received so far from several member states. During a 14 June informal briefing to the General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that due to insufficient funding, cholera response and control efforts cannot be sustained through 2017 and 2018.  Mohammed used the opportunity to call on member states to contribute resources that would enable implementation of the new approach to cholera.

On 20 June, the Secretary-General appointed Josette Sheeran (US) as his special envoy for Haiti. In her new role, Sheeran will bear primary responsibility for overseeing and implementing the UN’s new approach to cholera, as well as related fundraising activities. 

From 22 to 24 June, the Council conducted a visiting mission to Haiti led by Bolivia. The stated purpose of the visit was for the Council to: reaffirm its support for the government and people of Haiti; conduct a review of the implementation of resolution 2350; and identify requirements necessary for successful implementation of the successor mission’s mandate. Members met with various interlocutors including President Jovenel Moïse and members of his cabinet, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, parliamentarians, the senior leadership of MINUSTAH, the Higher Council of the National Police, members of civil society, and others. In addition to various discussions on the situation concerning the rule of law, judicial reform, the capacity of the Haitian National Police, and the mandate of MINUJUSTH, several interlocutors raised concerns about the UN’s response to cholera. They also asserted that the UN must assist the fatherless children born as a result of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by UN peacekeepers. On 30 June, Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz (Bolivia) briefed the Council on the visiting mission.

Human Rights-Related Developments

At its 34th session in March, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a presidential statement (A/HRC/PRST/34/1) which discontinued the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, a decision in keeping with the desire of the Haitian government not to have it renewed. This was despite the call by the Independent Expert at the time, Gustavo Gallón, for the mandate to be extended for one year in order to assist Haiti with planning for the implementation of recommendations from human rights mechanisms, including those contained in Gallón’s final report (A/HRC/34/73), and to allow the HRC to evaluate the mandate in order to identify best practices.

Key Issues

At the moment, the main issue for the Council is the ongoing drawdown of MINUSTAH’s military component and the process of phased transition to the successor mission MINUJUSTH. 

An ongoing issue for the Council is the need to develop the capacity of the Haitian National Police and to address the lack of progress in the areas of rule of law and human rights-related reforms, in particular with regard to criminal justice and ensuring accountability for past abuses.

Another issue is the lack of funding for the new approach to cholera and the implications for the UN’s credibility, especially in Haiti.

Options

The most likely option for the Council is to receive a briefing and take no action, given that the decision on the successor mission to MINUSTAH has already been taken. With the visit fresh in their minds, members are likely to follow closely developments leading up to the transition.

The Council could explore future options for the involvement of the Peacebuilding Commission in Haiti now that the country is transitioning to a smaller peacekeeping mission and further developing its own capacities.

Council Dynamics

Council members seem content with the progress Haiti has achieved recently. The presidential, legislative and municipal elections were all held in a peaceful manner and without major threats to overall security. Earlier this year, a new president, Moïse, was inaugurated, marking the restoration of constitutional order. Against this backdrop, the Council adopted resolution 2350 which authorised the gradual drawdown and closure of MINUSTAH by 15 October followed by the establishment of a much smaller successor mission, MINUJUSTH. While the Council voted unanimously in favor of resolution 2350, some members expressed concern regarding certain aspects of the resolution. Most notably, Russia objected to the inclusion of a human rights mandate for the successor mission and it being established under Chapter VII. Furthermore, Russia has argued that some of the aspects of the MINUJUSTH mandate are not clear and would be hard to implement in practice. Bolivia also expressed reservations regarding invoking Chapter VII in the resolution, noting that this does not reflect the reality in the ground.               

Council practice is that draft resolutions on Haiti are negotiated and agreed among the Group of Friends of Haiti, which comprises Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Peru, the US and Uruguay, before being circulated to all 15 Council members by the US, as the penholder. 

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution
13 April 2017 S/RES/2350 This was a resolution extending MINUSTAH’s mandate for a final six-month period until 15 October and authorising the establishment of a smaller successor peacekeeping mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH).
Secretary-General’s Reports
3 May 2017 A/71/895 This was Secretary-General’s report that provided updated information on implementation of the new approach to cholera in Haiti.
16 March 2017 S/2017/223 This was the Secretary-General’s Report on MINUSTAH.
25 November 2016 A/71/620 This was Secretary-General’s report on the new approach to cholera in Haiti.
8 March 2013 S/2013/139 This was a report on MINUSTAH.
Security Council Meeting Record
13 April 2017 S/PV.7924 This was a meeting on Haiti during which the Council adopted resolution 2350.
11 April 2017 S/PV.7920 This was a debate on Haiti with a briefing by Special Representative and head of MINUSTAH, Sandra Honoré.
Security Council Press Statement
4 January 2017 SC/12666 This statement welcomed the announcement of the final presidential results from the 20 November 2016 elections in Haiti.