The heads of United Nations groups advocating and promoting long-term support for countries emerging from war have urged the international community to stay the course so that Haiti, Burundi and Guinea-Bissau can all complete their delicate and complex transitions from post-conflict to development.
The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) continued its 2005 session yesterday with a discussion led by the Chairmen of its Ad Hoc Advisory Groups, dealing with long-term recovery, peace and development in Haiti, Burundi and Guinea-Bissau.
The four-year-old Ad Hoc Group on Haiti is charged with advocating a long-term strategy and programme of support for the impoverished country in such areas as education, peacebuilding, poverty eradication, social integration, trade, productive employment, and durable recovery, aimed particularly at reinforcing capacity-building objectives and civil society institutions.
Chairman Alan Rock of Canada said that while the Group recognized that the chief responsibility for building a stable and democratic country rested in the hands of the Haitian people, the global community must play a supporting role over the longer term to consolidate stability and turn Haiti towards the achievement of the development goals.
For that to happen, the new Government would need to focus on a few areas that would demonstrate progress to the Haitian people. He noted that a great deal needed to be done to strengthen the legitimacy of State institutions in the eyes of the population. Engaging in a decentralized process of decision-making and resources, without diminishing the fragile authority of the central Government, was also necessary to unleash the economic potential of neglected departments.
In 2002 ECOSOC created a framework for advisory groups on African countries emerging from conflict with a view to assessing the humanitarian and economic needs of these countries and elaborating a long-term programme of support that begins with the integration of relief into development.
Introducing the reports on the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau, Xolisa Mabhongo of South Africa urged a long-term commitment from the international community, not only during the critical period of political consolidation, but also well beyond.