Update Report

Posted 10 May 2010
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Update Report No. 1: Haiti


Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to soon take early action on revising the mandate of MINUSTAH to respond to the post-earthquake environment in Haiti. (The mission is currently authorised through to 15 October.)

Council members agreed right after the earthquake that the new situation might require modifying the mandate but decided to wait until the mission had been reconstituted and a planning framework had been developed.

Key Recent Developments
The Group of Friends (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and the US) met on 7 May to discuss the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s 22 April report on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Edmond Mulet, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINUSTAH, briefed the Council on 28 April.

The Secretary-General advised that the next 12 to 18 months will be a period of high risk, in which political, security, protection and recovery objectives will need to be pursued simultaneously while supporting the Government of Haiti and respecting its independence.

The report outlined an integrated approach for the UN in five key areas:

  • fostering political stability, including through constitutional reform, elections and democratic governance;
  • coordinating and enabling the post-earthquake relief effort, while reducing the risk of future disaster, especially for the most vulnerable;
  • maintaining a secure and stable environment, while working to strengthen the rule of law, human rights and protection, and to support Haiti’s police, judicial and corrections institutions;
  • supporting the government in the implementation of its vision for strengthened state capacity and decentralisation; and
  • helping Haiti begin building its human capital through promotion of a balanced social agenda.

With regard to MINUSTAH, the report explained that the mission had been entering a period of consolidation immediately before the earthquake. However, in the current situation there was a need for a surge effort to respond to the post-earthquake situation over the next 18 to 24 months in order to maintain progress in stabilisation and to enable a smooth transition to long-term reconstruction efforts. The report stated that much of the needed surge can be achieved by scaling up activities within the mission’s current mandate, but that in a few areas MINUSTAH should be authorised to do expanded tasks:

  • provide greater technical, operational and logistical assistance to the Haitian government and institutions;
  • provide direct logistical support to the government for access to temporary office accommodation, equipment and facilities; and
  • provide technical expertise by more systematic embedding of MINUSTAH advisers in government departments, in the context of an integrated approach with the UN Development Programme.

The report also recommended that the Council authorise a further 680 police personnel. Such an increase would be intended to establish a sustainable and visible police presence to protect internally displaced persons in camps and to support an environment conducive to free and fair elections. The additional police personnel would also support special Haitian National Police units meant to detain dangerous escapees and address the risk of gang violence.

Jean-Max Bellerive, Prime Minister of Haiti, spoke after Mulet and said the earthquake had profoundly changed the context in which MINUSTAH operates. He urged member states to deploy additional engineering units to the mission. Bellerive went on to say that while the Government of Haiti considers the mission’s current mandate to be adequate, a temporary adjustment of the mandate appears to be desirable to ensure that support should more efficiently and directly meet the needs of the government in the short-term. He offered the Haitian government’s endorsement of the approach proposed in the Secretary-General’s report, including minor adjustments to the mandate in the field of security, assistance to rule of law institutions and government initiatives in favour of decentralisation.

On 15 April Haiti’s parliament approved the creation of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission to be co-chaired by Bill Clinton, UN Special Envoy to Haiti, and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. The Commission, which was envisaged in the government’s action plan and supported by donors, will oversee the reconstruction aid pledged to be delivered in the next 18 months. Members of the Commission will include Haitian government and business representatives and officials from some donors as well as the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the UN.

On 31 March over 150 countries and international organisations attended the International Donors’ Conference. Towards a New Future for Haiti, at UN headquarters in New York. Pledges were received for $9.9 billion for Haiti’s reconstruction needs from 59 countries and international organisations. Of the total amount, $5.3 billion was pledged for the next 18 months. Haiti’s government presented its action plan for recovery and development that outlines short and long-term reconstruction priorities, and donors committed to align their assistance with the government’s plan. The conference was co-hosted by the UN and the US in cooperation with the Government of Haiti, and was co-chaired by Brazil, Canada, France, Spain and the EU.

On 26 March the Secretary-General informed the Council that he was appointing Edmond Mulet his Special Representative and head of MINUSTAH (Mulet had been serving as acting head since the earthquake).

Key Issues
The key issue facing the Council is the degree to which MINUSTAH’s mandate should now be adjusted to address pressing humanitarian needs of the Haitian people, and to best ensure that the vision put forth by the Government of Haiti and supported by the contributions of the international community are implemented and monitored.

A related underlying issue that has broad implications for many other UN missions is the need for a more seamless relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities, as already acknowledged by the Council in two presidential statements in 2009 (S/PRST/2009/23 and S/PRST/2009/24) and two in 2010 (S/PRST/2010/2 and S/PRST/2010/7).

Options for the Council include:

  • a resolution supporting all the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report relating to the mandate, including an increase in MINUSTAH’s police component and increased direct logistical support for the government;
  • approving a resolution addressing only the increase in the authorised level of police personnel;
  • deciding to visit Haiti;
  • delaying any decision and requesting the Secretary-General to produce a more detailed plan for better integrating the security mandate of MINUSTAH with the ongoing reconstruction and development effort; or
  • deciding that the existing mandate is sufficient to cover all of the Secretary-General’s recommendations and approving a press statement confirming the interpretation and highlighting the immediate humanitarian needs in Haiti, the long-term reconstruction strategy for the country and the ongoing role of MINUSTAH in addressing both.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Among the Group of Friends there seems to be broad agreement that a new resolution focused on increasing the police component of MINUSTAH in line with the Secretary-General’s recommendation is desirable. The Group also seems to agree that some adjustment of the mandate is needed to authorise the activities recommended by the Secretary-General to provide expanded assistance to the Government of Haiti. This would include both limited direct logistical support, assistance to government officials and additional technical expertise in the form of MINUSTAH embedded advisers. (The report noted that such embedded advisers already exist in the Ministry of the Interior and Territorial Collectivities and the presidency.) However, it appears that most Group members consider most of the Secretary-General’s recommended activities are covered by the mission’s existing mandate, rendering a formal change to the mandate unnecessary.

With regard to the Council, since the 12 January earthquake struck Haiti members seem to have shared broad agreement that some revision of MINUSTAH’s mandate would be needed. The timing of such a change and degree to which the mission should be modified have remained more contentious. Certain facets of the immediate humanitarian situation require prompt attention, such as providing shelter to the people of Haiti, but the Council does not seem to be in full agreement that altering the mandate is the best way to address this need.

There is wide support for increasing the personnel in the police component of the mission, although China appears to be somewhat cautious about an additional police increase before the current force level has been fully resourced (there are currently 2,177 police personnel, with a mandated level of 3,711).

P5 members in general seem cautious about expanding MINUSTAH’s activities to areas beyond its traditional security focus. This seemed clear in the 28 April debate.

Elected members are likely to be more sympathetic to the Secretary-General’s recommendations, including for increased direct logistical support for the Government of Haiti.

Selected 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.

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 Records

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

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)

UN Special Envoy for Haiti

Bill Clinton (US)

Force Commander

Major-General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz (Brazil)

Police Commissioner

Geraldo Chaumont (Argentina)