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Haiti UN Conference. To make reconstruction work, the process must uphold democracy

Port-au-Prince/Bogotá/Brussels - As a critical strategy conference convenes today at the UN, a Haitian-owned and led process, based on broad consensus among Haitians and with resolute international support, is needed to build the country back better after the devastating earthquake.

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Haiti: Stabilisation and Reconstruction after the Quake, the new report from the International Crisis Group, analyses how long-standing institutional and governance weaknesses, as well as deep poverty, compound the major humanitarian crisis. The situation could become very difficult to control if the security environment deteriorates further in the approaching rainy and hurricane seasons. Urgent action is required to maintain political and socio-economic stability and restore security and the rule of law so as to create an enabling environment for reconstruction.

“To make reconstruction work, the process must uphold democracy, restore security and support rule of law”, says Bernice Robertson, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst. “Long-term planning needs to be accompanied by robust consensus among all Haiti’s civil, political and economic constituencies, including the diaspora, on the recovery and reconstruction process”.

More than two and a half months after the quake struck, hundreds of thousands of Haitians continue to experience severe hardship and increasing crime, violence and sexual abuse. The disaster prompted postponement of legislative elections and casts uncertainty over whether presidential elections can be held at year’s end as planned. After mid-May, the legislature will have left office, and the country will be missing critical parts of its institutional anatomy.

Successful recovery and reconstruction requires an integrated, long-term strategy based on a very broad political and social consensus that also takes into account a number of pressing political and stabilisation issues. A transparent and accountable multi-donor funding mechanism and an efficient Haitian government-led implementing structure have to be created.

“The outcome of the New York conference should be a joint commitment to reconstruction equivalent to the unparalleled nature of the disaster and acceptance that this will take at least a decade”, says Mark Schneider, Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President.

Markus Schultze-Kraft, Crisis Group’s Latin America Program Director, says, “Now is the moment to lift Haiti from under the dust and rubble and transform it into a less vulnerable and more equitable and prosperous nation. The opportunity must not be lost”.

© Crisis International -
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