More Info
									                   Council on Hemispheric Affairs |
                                 Aid to Haiti:
           When and If International Assistance Efforts Will Succeed
   On April 14, delegates from 28 countries (MINUSTAH) are currently on the ground                        cent of the population, with 30,000 Haitians
gathered in Washington for the International carrying out their sometimes controversial                   dying from the illness every year).
Donors’ Conference on Haiti, where they role, and that all told, the international com-                      Haiti for a long time has been a high-ticket
agreed to pledge $324 million in additional munity is providing several billion dollars                   item for the international community. For
aid to Port-au-Prince over the next two years. worth of support for projects in the country,              example, MINUSTAH—the U.N. security
At the meet-                                                                                              force-- has an annual budget that exceeds $500
ing, which was         “Until practitioners and donors become more efficient                              million. Furthermore, in 2008 alone, Canada
hosted by the                                                                                             (historically, a major contributor to Haitian
                        at improving the conditions on the ground, it is likely
Inter-American                                                                                            development) distributed $230 million worth
Devel o p m ent that last month’s relief initiative will regrettably turn out                             of food aid there. While there is no simple
Bank       (IDB),                   to be just as futile as past endeavors.”                              explanation for the past failure of aid, histori-
contributors                                                                                              cally, an unstable central government coupled
promised $15 million in emergency food its living standards remain fraught with sub-                      with a decaying social sector has caused, at
assistance, $20 million to improve infrastruc- human conditions. Many experts attribute                   least in part, a lack of substantive develop-
ture, and $2 million to help fight drug traffick- Haiti’s perpetual poverty, in part, to a lack of        ment in the country. Of equal importance, an
ing through the U.S.-backed Merida Initiative. accountability or a seriousness of purpose                 absence of accountability and vigilance on the
Additionally, the recovery plan will target amongst the aid agencies charged with car-                    part of many NGOs (non-governmental orga-
creating an estimated 150,000 desperately- rying out their projects. Without a doubt,                     nizations) has been instrumental in Haiti’s
needed jobs in the country— and a stimulus the most recent aid package represents a                       inability to efficiently utilize aid coming from
scenario that would considerably reduce the concerted effort by Haiti’s concerned interna-                all around the world.
country’s future dependence on foreign assis- tional benefactors to mitigate the situation in
                                                                                                          Aid Effectiveness
tance.                                             the country. Yet the question remains whether
                                                                                                            To a certain degree, shortcomings related
   Former Presi-                                             the international aid community has
                                                                                                          to any foreign assistance program providing
dent Bill Clin-                                              learned from past development initia-
                                                                                                          assistance to any developing nation can be
ton appealed                                                 tives in the region that repeatedly have
                                                                                                          attributed to aid practitioners failing to fol-
to the forum’s                                               failed. Until practitioners and donors
                                                                                                          low necessary procedures and proper staffing
participants to                                              become more efficient at improving
                                                                                                          to guarantee a successful project. Part of the
alleviate     the                                            the conditions on the ground, it is
                                                                                                          problem begins with the widespread notion
plight of the                                                likely that last month’s relief initiative
                                                                                                          that over half of international aid goes towards
stricken nation.                                             will regrettably turn out to be just as
                                                                                                          NGO “overhead” costs. Perhaps more signifi-
“Haiti has a                                                 futile as past endeavors.
                                                                                                          cant, however, is that as a result of the absence
chance. Haiti
                                                             The Failure of Aid to Haiti                  of a clear injunction to execute a specific task,
has good lead-
                                                                Despite having allocated billions         international relief initiatives often neglect to
ers. Haiti has a
                                                             of dollars in aid relief over the years,     mitigate the dire human conditions that exists
good plan,” he
                                                             Haiti remains to a great extent a coun-      throughout much of the developing world.
insisted. “The
                                                            try whose socio-economic structure            Teaching a small-scale farmer in rural Tanza-
people have the determination and the ability
                                                   is utterly defective. An underlying cause of           nia to produce multiple sustainable crops year-
to carry out the plan. Only you can give them
                                                   this seeming paradox is the reality that many          round in his fields in order to eliminate depen-
the capacity to do it. If you do it, you will help
To top