What's In Blue

Posted Fri 15 Oct 2021

Haiti: Arria-formula Meeting

This afternoon (15 October), Security Council members will hold a virtual Arria-formula meeting titled “Beyond the inconvenient truths about underdevelopment in Haiti: seeking pan-African solutions/pathways and supporting national dialogue and reconciliation”. The meeting is being organised by the “A3 plus one” (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). The meeting will have six segments and will be attended by several high-level officials, including two heads of state: Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph E. Gonsalves and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

The meeting will be broadcast on UNTV at 3 pm EST.

According to a concept note circulated by the “A3 plus one”, today’s meeting aims to facilitate dialogue on ways for Haiti to “regain stability and focus on socioeconomic development agendas”. The meeting has several objectives, including serving as a platform for dialogue between Haitians and regional and international partners. The concept note encourages the sharing of experiences from the African continent in solving difficult political crises when facing resource constraints. Another objective is for participants to discuss ideas to strengthen the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) to be “more effective and achieve solutions for Haiti”.

In addition, the concept note encourages participants to discuss possible innovative approaches regarding Haiti, including:

  • Providing support to a comprehensive national dialogue and reconciliation process to accompany local efforts;
  • Examining existing Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) initiatives aimed at addressing the legacy of underdeveloped Haiti, and linking the solidarity of the African Union (AU) and its members to stabilisation, recovery and development;
  • Addressing the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons, including through gender-responsive and youth-focused approaches;
  • Advocating for climate change adaptation efforts and for the full and meaningful participation of women and youth in institutions and state-building processes; and
  • Tackling the legacy of past human rights violations and promoting rule of law.

It appears that the organisers have placed the meeting in the context of Haiti’s historical legacy and its current political, human rights, security, humanitarian, and socioeconomic challenges. The concept note recounts the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and notes that Haiti, which features among the world’s least developed countries, is still grappling with the effects of the 2010 earthquake, now compounded by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake which struck the county on 14 August. Additional challenges include recurring cataclysmic tropical storms and the COVID-19 pandemic.

To address the many challenges, the concept note suggests an approach that goes beyond humanitarian aid and involves solidarity, support and cooperation from the international community. Any solution should also be designed to address Haiti’s multifaceted crises and address the root causes of all identified problems, the concept note argues. It further maintains that possible initiatives by the international community must include the participation of Haitian women and youth; consider Haiti’s legacy of slavery, colonisation and environmental degradation and the country’s current lack of institutional capacities; and take into account gender and race. Although international support and solidarity are required, any endeavour should be rooted in the premise of “Haitian solutions to Haiti’s problems and challenges”, according to the concept note.

Council members and other participants are likely to explore how the international community can best position itself to use the tools at its disposal to support Haiti in addressing socioeconomic challenges, achieving continued political stability, and improving the dire security situation. Some, including Council members from Europe, may draw attention to the need for the greater inclusion of women in Haiti’s electoral processes, and in all areas of peacebuilding and socioeconomic development. Several members may also reference the adverse effect of climate change on the country. Some members, including the “A3 plus one”, may note that Haiti experienced injustice when it was forced to compensate colonial powers for abolishing slavery in the 19th century. These members might call for reparations for Haiti. Several interventions may also emphasise regional cooperation and sharing of lessons learned between regional organisations.

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