Toward increased efficiency of development aid in Haiti

10 May 2013

image Reconstruction following the January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince. (Photo: Marco Dormino/MINUSTAH)

Port-au-Prince – The Committee on Aid Efficiency (CAE) – a strategic forum reuniting the Government of Haiti and stakeholders involved in enacting the social and economic development of the country – met for the first time at the international level.

The meeting showed that the Haitian government is in the lead in planning and defining priority intervention areas geared toward the country’s development at a crucial moment on Haiti’s path to effective and sustainable development.

More than three years following the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti continues to rebuild. Funding from external sources has reached unprecedented levels in the country’s history, leading the Haitian government and the international community to work together toward better management.

“The CAE will become the place for evaluation of external aid effectiveness at the international level,” said President Michel Martelly before international partners.

In 2010, there was a record number of financial contributions pledged to Haiti. Between 2010 and 2012, out of the approximately US $5.37 billion promised for Haiti’s rebuilding and recovery efforts following the earthquake, 56 per cent, or $3.01 billion, were paid. Debt relief promises in turn totaled $1 billion.

“This initiative must restore to the Haitian authorities their leading role in managing external development aid, whilst strengthening public administration and the rule of law,” said Heraldo Muñoz, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. “This Committee will help to guarantee the increased efficiency, transparency of external development aid.”

Following the humanitarian phase, UNDP has coordinated several joint programs with the Haitian government in order to support the country’s long-term development.

For instance, more than 80 per cent of the 10 million cubic meters of rubble caused by the earthquake (cement, steel and other types of debris) has been cleared thanks to a joint program between the Haitian government and the international community – which has enabled one million cubic meters of debris to be recycled as stairs, houses and public areas.

Representing the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Muñoz added that the ability to focus on long-term development was directly linked to increased resilience to catastrophes in Haiti.

“No country, and Haiti in particular, can tolerate losing 15 per cent of its GDP after each storm passes,” he said, adding that Haitian authorities, civil society and other development partners had worked together to include the “resilience to catastrophes” aspect as part of the national development plan.

At the outset, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) – an advisory mechanism involving the Haitian authorities and international donors – was responsible for coordinating the massive influx of aid following the 2010 quake. Only conceived to be a temporary solution, it was replaced by a permanent mechanism last November, the National Coordination Framework of External Development Aid in Haiti, whose technical Secretariat is attached to the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation.