International Support Has Given Haiti Historic Chance to Consolidate Stability, UN Special Envoy Clinton Tells Security Council
International Support Has Given Haiti Historic Chance to Consolidate Stability, UN Special Envoy Clinton Tells Security Council
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6186th Meeting* (PM)
International Support Has Given Haiti Historic Chance to Consolidate
Stability, UN Special Envoy Clinton Tells Security Council
Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Prime Minister Also Brief Members
Through strong international support and the efforts of its Government, Haiti now had an historic chance to consolidate its political stability and escape from extreme poverty, United Nations Special Envoy William J. Clinton told the Security Council this afternoon.
Despite having been battered by successive storms and persistent poverty, “I am convinced that Haiti has a remarkable opportunity to break the chains of its past”, said Mr. Clinton as he launched an open debate on the situation in that country alongside Hédi Annabi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, and Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis, the country’s Prime Minister.
The spirit of Haiti’s people and enormous recent international support boded well for the country’s continued success, Mr. Clinton said as he described his efforts to work with the Government, the donor community, investors and non-governmental organizations to support implementation of a recovery programme crucial for Haiti’s recovery from natural disasters and for maintaining its stability.
“Haiti can succeed but not without your help,” he said, urging all who had made commitments at the April Donors’ Conference in Washington, D.C., to fund them as soon as possible. Out of the $700 million pledged at that event, only $21 million had been disbursed so far, he noted, adding that, besides commitments by Governments and international donors, some $25 million had also been contributed by the private sector, including the Soros Economic Development Fund.
Following Mr. Clinton’s presentation, Mr. Annabi introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), noting that the Special Envoy’s involvement had provided dynamism to the country’s prospects. Besides its security function, the Mission had contributed to progress in enhancing Haiti’s institutional capacity and in supporting reforms that had increased customs revenues and enhanced local management of resources.
He stressed, however, that all those initiatives combined represented a fraction of what was required to enable the State to deliver basic services to the population, which were critical to lasting stability. Real progress in that area would depend on the political will of the Haitian leadership and on strong and coordinated support from bilateral partners.
With regard to security, he said there had been progress in many areas, including the continued strengthening of the Haitian National Police, which now comprised nearly 10,000 officers. However, serious threats persisted, including the potential for resumed activity by gangs, criminals and other armed groups; corruption and violence associated with illegal trafficking; and the risk of civil unrest. Such threats may be manipulated for the political or personal benefit of spoilers.
To counter such threats, the continued presence of international troops and police remained indispensable, he said. That was why the Secretary-General recommended the retention of MINUSTAH’s security component for 12 months at a roughly similar level, with adjustments to its configuration that would lower the Mission’s profile while increasing its flexibility and maintaining its capacity to respond effectively to threats.
Prime Minister Pierre-Louis thanked all those who had made a contribution to the work of MINUSTAH, and paid tribute to those who had laid down their lives for progress in her country. The Mission had helped to turn around multiple crises in the country, which was now undergoing a sea change which, like all major changes, was meeting with some resistance. The Government had committed itself to creating a stable environment conducive to business, food security and the growth of jobs. It was now up to Haitians, with support from their international partners, to hold fast to a course that led to equitable, sustainable development that would meet the needs of the people. “ Haiti will live, Haiti will press forward,” she vowed.
In the ensuing discussion, most speakers agreed that much progress had been achieved in the political and security sectors since 2006, and praised the international commitments of the past few months, including the Washington Donors’ Conference. Many delegates cautioned, however, that the situation remained fragile because of the weak economy, food insecurity and other threats, urging the international community to keep its support steady. Canada’s representative warned of apathy and “ Haiti fatigue” that threatened long-term international commitments to the country’s development.
Most speakers supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend MINUSTAH’s mandate for a year with some reconfiguration. Affirming a strong connection between stability and development, many also supported the Mission’s use of its resources to strengthen infrastructure and development efforts, where efficient. Others urged it to keep to its peace and security mandate. In that vein, China’s representative said that ensuring Haiti’s socio-economic development was not a task for MINUSTAH but a responsibility for the Government. Support for the Mission fell under the aegis of other United Nations agencies and international entities.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Libya, Mexico, Croatia, France, United Kingdom, Viet Nam, Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Japan, Austria, Turkey, Uganda, United States, Guatemala, Uruguay (on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti), Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Argentina, Norway, Peru, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Spain, Venezuela, Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community) and Ecuador.
The meeting began at 4:15 p.m. and ended at 8:45 p.m.
The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which covers major developments since his report of 6 March (document S/2009/129) and progress made in implementing the Mission’s mandate, which is set to expire on 15 October. The Secretary-General, observing that progress remains fragile and susceptible to setbacks or reversal, recommends an extension of the mandate until 15 October 2010, as well as adjustments to enable MINUSTAH to operate effectively in the current environment.
According to the report (document S/2009/439), increased political cooperation during the review period permitted progress in a number of areas, including the holding of senatorial elections, the adoption of key legislation and the pursuit of an inclusive dialogue. However, that collaboration carries the potential for renewed tensions and conflict, and a continued readiness on the part of influential forces to inflame public tensions in order to further their own interests.
The report notes that the Haitian leadership has continued to work closely with the international community to develop a response to security and development needs. A conference hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., on 14 April resulted in new pledges of $350 million. At that event, the Government of Haiti presented its two-year Plan for Reconstruction and Economic Recovery, with a total budget of $1.4 billion. The commitment shown by the country’s international partners at the Conference, together with the subsequent cancellation of its debt, offers an encouraging indication of the depth of international support.
Special Envoy William Clinton will assist efforts by the Haitian Government and people to create new jobs, improve the delivery of basic services, strengthen disaster recovery and preparedness, attract private sector investment and garner greater international support, the report states. MINUSTAH continued to support efforts by the authorities to strengthen national and local institutional capacity, which falls well short of required levels. As at 19 August, 128 quick-impact projects have been launched to provide basic public services, such as potable water cisterns and solar-powered street lighting, and to provide income-generating activities.
The report says that, although the security environment remained generally calm in the reporting period, potential threats to stability include the risk of resumed gang-activity, corruption and violence associated with illegal trafficking, as well as large-scale civil unrest. Reported kidnappings have declined to fewer than eight a month. The Mission has also continued to provide border-management support through maritime, air and land patrols, facilitating drugs seizures by the Haitian National Police.
MINUSTAH has also launched a department-by-department assessment in order to elaborate a strategy for the progressive reconfiguration of its security components, the report says. As it seems unlikely that the Mission will need to undertake large-scale security operations, and since it would be desirable to enhance its ability to deploy rapidly and monitor remote locations, it is envisaged that up to one quarter of its armoured personnel carriers can be replaced with lighter patrol vehicles, which would permit the reduction of some 120 troops, down to a total figure of 6,940. Given the need to strengthen MINUSTAH’s crowd-control capacity, it is recommended that all nine of its formed police units be brought up to the standard strength of 140 personnel, which would correspond to 120 additional officers and bring the police component to 2,211.
Noting advances made over the past 12 months, the report states that the consolidation plan and associated progress indicators proposed a year ago remain valid as a means for the Council to evaluate the consolidation of stability in Haiti. Some adjustments are warranted by specific developments in each of the five broad benchmark areas (as summarized in Annex 1 of the report). The Secretary-General observes that, five years into the stabilization process, there is substantial reason to believe that Haiti is moving away from the past of conflict towards a brighter future of peaceful development. Continued commitment by the Haitian leadership and people, the United Nations and the international community more generally is critical for the consolidation of stability.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, said that ever since he had started visiting Haiti in 1975, he had been captivated by the “promise and peril” of that country, the spirit of its people and the burden of abuse and neglect it suffered. As President of the United States, he had worked to end the violent military dictatorship, despite an unwilling Congress. Nowadays, there was enormous support for the country. “I am convinced that Haiti has a remarkable opportunity to escape its past.”
The Government was committed to building a modern State, he said, adding that Haitians, including those in the diaspora, were hopeful and committed to contributing to a better future. International donors had pledged substantial aid to help build a modern sustainable society. Thousands of non-governmental organizations were doing useful work in the country, and its neighbours had recognized that Haiti was part of the neighbourhood. “In our neighbourhood there is a deep, wide sense that we can and should support Haiti”, even among countries such as Venezuela and Cuba.
He said his job was to work with the Government, the donor community, investors and non-governmental organizations to support implementation of the recovery programme, focusing on new jobs and enhancing service delivery. Wishing to ensure assistance to rebuild the country in a better way in the aftermath of the natural disasters, he said he would further seek to encourage more private sector investment and make Haiti more competitive, announcing also that he would undertake a trade mission in the near future. As with other Caribbean countries, there was no reason why Haiti could not become more energy-independent.
Urging non-governmental organizations and other civil society groups to invest more financial and human resources while working together, he said he was compiling a database of non-governmental organizations working in Haiti. Coordinating their work could have a tangible impact on the population. It was to be hoped that a more positive image of Haiti would be projected to the international community and that the diaspora would be involved to an extent not seen before.
“Haiti can succeed, but not without your help,” he said, urging all those who had made aid commitments to fund them as soon as possible. Seven hundred million dollars had been pledged but only $21 million had been disbursed so far. Anything that could help expedite the distribution of aid would have a positive impact on the daily lives of Haitians. Beyond commitments by Governments and international donors, some private commitments had been made, including some $25 million from the Soros Economic Development Fund.
“There is enormous untapped potential for wind and solar energy,” he said, going on to describe projects to reduce the deforestation now going on as Haitians cut down trees to produce charcoal, as well as recycling projects that would create jobs and cut costs. Stressing that he and Deputy Special Envoy Paul Farmer were “100 per cent committed to delivering tangible results to the UN and most importantly the people of Haiti”, he said that 210 years ago, Haiti had been the wealthiest island in the Caribbean. Now it was the poorest country in the hemisphere. “We can turn this around, and because we can, we must.”
HÉDI ANNABI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, introducing the Secretary-General’s report, said that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti enjoyed close collaboration with the Government of Haiti. He stressed that political dialogue lay at the heart of the stabilization process, and lauded the improvement of collaboration between the executive and legislative branches of Government. That had paved the way for the adoption of key legislation, including financial laws that enabled cancellation of the bulk of the country’s debt. He said that the Senate last week seated 11 new members elected in June and he expressed hope that the replenishment of the upper house would pave the way for more effective parliamentary action. It was critical that all branches continue to collaborate and take joint responsibility together for hard decisions.
Some progress had been made in enhancing Haiti’s institutional capacity, he said, with the Mission contributing within its means and supporting reforms that have increased customs revenue and enhanced local management of resources. He thanked bilateral partners and international organizations that were supporting a number of other capacity-building initiatives. He stressed, however, that all those initiatives combined represented a fraction of what was required to enable the State to deliver basic services to the population, which was critical to lasting stability. Real progress in that area would depend on the political will of the Haitian leadership and on strong and coordinated support from bilateral partners.
With regard to security, he said that there had been progress in many areas with support from MINUSTAH and its bilateral partners, which included continued strengthening of the Haitian National Police that now comprised nearly 10,000 officers. Serious threats continued, however, including a potential for resumed activity by gangs, criminals and other armed groups; corruption and violence associated with illegal trafficking; and the risk of civil unrest. Such threats may be manipulated to achieve political or personal objectives, including in the context of the electoral processes. Potential spoilers were likely to exploit any indication of weakness or disengagement.
To counter such threats, he said that the continued presence of international troops and police remained indispensable. That was why the Secretary-General recommended retention of the Mission security component at a roughly similar level, with adjustments to its configuration that would lower the Mission’s profile, while increasing its flexibility and maintaining its capacity to respond effectively to possible threats over the coming 12 months. At the same time, he maintained, the resources for the Haitian Police must be improved and the Haitian authorities must continue to prioritize relevant political decisions.
In detailing progress in justice, corrections and other areas in the rule of law and human rights, he emphasized that the creation of institutions in those areas was a long-term process. Similarly, socio-economic development was a long-term process that was not the core business of peacekeeping operations, but was crucial for stability. For that reason, the creation of several thousand temporary jobs through labour-intensive projects had helped to respond to immediate needs, though generous assistance was essential for the foreseeable future. The use of the engineering capacity of the Mission to repair basic infrastructure or respond to urgent needs could also make a difference in people’s lives. It was vital that further efforts be made in that area, he stressed. It was particularly critical that the Haitian leadership reach out to the private sector and help create an environment genuinely conducive to business.
Concluding, he said that in the past two years, events had highlighted that stability was built slowly and that setbacks were to be expected, but “if we persevere and stay the course we can advance”. He remained convinced that, today, “Haiti enjoys a remarkable opportunity for change”.
MICHELE DUVIVIER PIERRE-LOUIS, Prime Minister of Haiti, thanked all those who had made a contribution to the work of MINUSTAH, as well as all of those who had laid down their lives for progress in her country. The Mission had helped to turn around multiple crises and Haiti was now going through a sea change which, like all major changes, was meeting with resistance. However, the Government had committed itself to creating a stable, conducive environment for business and to the growth of jobs and food production capacity. It was now up to Haitians, with the support of their international partners, to hold fast to a course leading to equitable, sustainable development that would meet their needs.
Serious and complex problems required time and greater resources to solve, she said, agreeing that her country was now at a critical crossroads. The Government was working unceasingly to prevent any relapse into instability, and for that reason, it needed international assistance to meet serious challenges. For example, there were risks in the upcoming elections and in approving the draft constitutional amendment. Employment was the number one priority, and corruption must be fought in order to encourage private enterprise and job creation in the localities.
Social, economic and cultural rights must be established, she said, emphasizing the importance of contributions from the international community and the Haitian diaspora. The budget process had been finalized in a timely manner, minimal wage laws had been passed and measures had been put in place to protect the environment while development proceeded. Concurring with the Secretary-General’s recommendations, she also echoed his report in urging all involved with Haiti’s stabilization to remain firmly on course. “ Haiti will live, Haiti will press forward.”
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said positive results had been achieved in the stabilization process, and, thanks to the joint efforts of the Haitian National Police and MINUSTAH, the security situation had stabilized, though it remained fragile. The Mission had helped restore State control during Haiti’s civil unrest and had provided support in the aftermath of the hurricanes. National dialogue and reconciliation had been established with the Mission’s support, and United Nations peacekeepers were working with national authorities to fight organized crime.
Expressing hope that a gradual transfer of responsibilities to the Haitian National Police would be possible in the near future, he said his country supported the Secretary-General’s Consolidation Plan and underscored the importance of consistently implementing its provisions. Although the main responsibility for peace and stability rested with the Government and people of Haiti, the country needed international assistance. In that regard, the Russian Federation supported the recommended mandate extension.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM (Libya) said Haiti had been on the Council’s agenda for a long time but the country now had an historic opportunity to strengthen peace and achieve economic development. Libya welcomed political cooperation among all parties, as well as the measured progress in reforming the rule of law sector, extending State authority and strengthening the police force. It was to be hoped that those measures would contribute to eliminating corruption, illicit trafficking, organized crime and impunity.
He expressed concern that cooperation between a number of Haitian institutions remained fragile and that progress was subject to reversal. There was no doubt that the cyclical destructive hurricanes and the international food crisis had led to difficult living conditions for most Haitians. Since security was directly related to improving social and economic conditions, efforts to help Haiti confront those threats were required by all. Libya agreed with the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a mandate extension.
GUILLERMO PUENTE ORDORICA (Mexico), endorsing the statement that would be delivered on behalf of the Friends of Haiti, welcomed the actions this year that showed the continued, multidimensional commitment of the international community to Haiti, as he also welcomed progress made in the country. He said that was important to support the consolidation of democracy to protect that progress. He agreed that MINUSTAH’s mandate should be renewed for that purpose, and that the reconfiguration of the Mission should be considered in light of the need for greater police presence.
He encouraged the Mission to continue to support elections, train the national police and promote a regional approach in fighting cross-border criminality such as the trade in illicit drugs. He urged the Haitian authorities to share work on child trafficking with other Governments in the region and encouraged MINUSTAH to continue its human rights efforts. He supported both humanitarian aid and the bolstering of institutional capacity for long-term progress. He said that country had established partnerships with Haiti in many areas to help create better conditions for sustainable development.
RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia) said that, while he was encouraged by progress made, the report once again highlighted the fact that meaningful progress remained elusive, especially in the socio-economic field. Improved stability had paved the way for increased assistance. He hoped that the October trade mission of Mr. Clinton would further contribute to the growing international political commitment to Haiti. It was imperative, however, that the international donor community honour pledges made. The Government of Haiti must match the international goodwill by consolidating hard-won gains and translate commitments into real action on the ground. That would entail further strengthening of improved, yet tenuous internal political cooperation and dialogue. A strong response was required to address the incidents of voting inconsistencies during the April elections and subsequent incidents of violence.
Welcoming progress in the security environment, he said maintaining stability required the constant engagement of the Haitian authorities to strengthen key State institutions and complete constitutional reforms. Continued international funding was necessary to allow for further professionalization and capacity-building, especially in the national police force and the justice sector. A strong United Nations presence on the ground, through MINUSTAH and the United Nations Country Team, was needed for the foreseeable future to help lock in progress and to reduce its susceptibility to reversal. He hoped that any future reconfiguration of MINUSTAH would factor in more female officers in any proposed increase to its police capabilities.
GERARD ARAUD (France) said Haiti had made important progress thanks to efforts made by the international community and by the Government and people of the country. It was very difficult, however, to keep the attention of the international community focused on a particular country, while crises throughout the world were increasing. Although progress had been made, at this juncture efforts must be stepped up. The improvement in security conditions should encourage investors and the involvement of non-governmental organizations. The Washington Conference had shown the support of international donors and a significant amount of debt had been cancelled.
He said MINUSTAH played an important role in the stabilization of the country. The United Nations agencies contributed to socio-economic development. Responsibility for success, however, rested on the shoulders of the Government and people of Haiti. France, with its historical, cultural and human ties with Haiti, would continue to provide its support to the United Nations and to the Haitian Government.
JOHN SAWERS (United Kingdom), welcoming recent progress in Haiti, agreed that the mandate of MINUSTAH should be renewed as per the Secretary-General’s recommendations. He encouraged the Mission to keep its deployment configuration under constant review, however, to ensure the most efficient use of resources. Maintaining that socio-economic stability was also crucial, he welcomed the appointment of Mr. Clinton as special envoy for that purpose. Security, capacity-building, investment and development must be seen as priorities in the effort to make Haiti self-sufficient.
LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam) welcomed the progress achieved in the five benchmark areas of Haiti’s Consolidation Plan, but said he remained deeply concerned about the fragile security environment and the lack of progress in realizing economic, social and cultural rights. It was troubling that children continued to suffer criminal acts, with minors reportedly victims of rapes and trafficking for the purpose of sexual or economic exploitation.
The political and economic shocks of 2008, coupled with severe natural disasters, had not only worsened the already dire economic conditions in Haiti, they had also hindered full implementation of the Government’s strategy, he said. Of paramount importance at the present critical juncture were the full engagement of the Haitian leadership and people and the execution of a sound and comprehensive socio-economic strategy to mobilize domestic resources, generate growth, create employment, reduce poverty and improve living conditions.
He said the international community’s strategy should focus on enhancing the Haitian National Police, strengthening national and local governance and the rule of law, and placing the country on the path to recovery and sustainable development. Donors should fulfil the pledges made at the April Conference in Washington, D.C. President Clinton, as Special Envoy, would make worthy contributions to enabling the Haitian Government to address its current political, economic and security challenges, given his vast experience and proactive engagement in the country. Viet Nam supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend the United Nations presence in Haiti until 15 October 2010.
JORGE URBINA (Costa Rica) said that, if after not too many more years the intended welfare and progress had not been achieved, one should ask what had been done wrong. On four occasions, the international community had believed it had achieved its goals, but had to return once more to Haiti. Although progress had been achieved, it was not yet time to think about an exit strategy. The Mission and the international community had not managed to achieve a relationship with the people in Haiti that could ensure that the progress made could be sustainable. One thing could not be ignored ‑‑ a large part of the failure was due to ignoring the fact that obtaining peace and stability depended on social and economic development.
He did not believe that, in the name of national ownership, the international community should endorse principles that were counter-productive. Success in Haiti could not be brought about by squandering resources on the military. The Government should look at its priorities carefully. Costa Rica believed that socio-economic development deserved priority attention, and the country’s low agricultural production should be addressed. It was not possible that Haiti could produce only half the food it needed. Another urgent priority was implementing a national strategy to develop and train human resources. The participation of the diaspora was also necessary and a more dynamic role must be played by international investments. Haiti would be helped by adopting a less costly and simpler political system, and the proliferation of institutions should be addressed. He also expressed concern at the situation of children, who were affected by malnutrition and suffered from abuse and human trafficking.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said that, since the last report, some progress had been made, even though the country continued to face difficulties, in particular regarding the functioning of its institutions. The regular and efficient functioning of institutions was necessary to ensure peace and stability. He was, therefore, concerned by delays in the legislative agenda. The budget for 2009-2010 had yet to be adopted. He hoped the process would be accelerated.
He said he was concerned at the risks to security because of unemployment, drug trafficking, corruption and trafficking in small arms. He urged MINUSTAH to continue to support Government initiatives in strengthening the police and in combating corruption, crime and illicit trafficking. The matter of human rights was also of concern. While welcoming the results of the Washington Conference, he regretted the slow pace of the disbursements of commitments made. As MINUSTAH continued to be an important lifeline for the country, it should continue its assistance to the Government in such areas as implementing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme and preparations for elections.
ZHANG YESUI (China) said that much progress had been made in Haiti, in large part due to the efforts of MINUSTAH. Acknowledging that great challenges still remained, he urged the Government to increase its efforts in all problem areas and to work for the self-sufficiency of the country. It was crucial, in addition, to strengthen dialogue among all sectors of the country to build stability.
The international community should continue to provide support, he said. However, he maintained, ensuring the socio-economic development of Haiti was the responsibility of the Government and fell under the specialties of other United Nations agencies and other international entities. The Mission was still needed to maintain peace and stability, but it should refrain from undertaking activities outside its mandate. A comprehensive assessment should also be undertaken to increase the efficient use of the Mission’s resources.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) said that the development of Haiti should now receive more attention, along with the country’s recovery from natural disasters. He welcomed the recent peaceful elections, but said that alleged crimes that took place must be dealt with, and the international community must continue to carefully monitor the stability of the country. Social unrest might occur again, if the economy remained fragile and the national police force was not yet ready to meet such challenges. For that reason, MINUSTAH’s mandate must be extended.
He said that food security and job creation must be priorities for assistance and, for that reason, Japan had pledged $50 million at the donor’s conference to support the poverty reduction strategy. The private sector must be involved much more. For that reason, he welcomed Mr. Clinton’s efforts. The Haitian Government, meanwhile, must help create conditions conducive for economic growth and investment.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria) said MINUSTAH was a success story, as United Nations peacekeeping forces had been able to ensure security for the people of Haiti against violence and organized crime. One of the factors that made success possible was the strong Latin American participation and the principle of national ownership. Important improvements had been made in the area of the rule of law, with strengthening of the national police and strengthening security along the coasts and border. The additional formed police units would enhance the capacity of national police forces. Progress needed to be made in judicial reform, in order to better fight corruption and impunity. Further, he was concerned at the situation in the prisons caused by overcrowding.
He said the benchmarks mentioned in the report were an important tool to measure progress made and contributed to enhanced coherence and coordination. As the socio-economic situation continued to pose a threat to security in Haiti, he welcomed the activities of Mr. Clinton and the decision on debt cancellation, which was an important step towards sustainable economic development. He fully supported the recommended mandate extension.
ERTUGRUL APAKAN (Turkey), underlining the wide interest and importance attached to Haiti by Member States, said much had been accomplished in the country, with this year having been a particularly encouraging period. The appointment of President Clinton, as well as visits by him and the Council, had helped streamline Haiti’s endeavours, giving them renewed focus and dedication. The April Donors’ Conference had also provided a much-needed political and financial boost. In their responsiveness to those efforts, the Haitian people and Government had vindicated the United Nations investment in the country.
He said he was particularly glad to see increased political cooperation among the parties. Those developments pointed to a security situation that was evolving from a “major social outburst risk” to a less massive, but still precarious, condition requiring policing tasks. In that regard, the Secretary-General’s recommendation to downsize MINUSTAH’s military component by 120 while adding an equal number of officers to the formed police units helped explain why the Haitian authorities were considering the re-establishment of a special gendarmerie force with domestic security responsibilities. Nevertheless, the positive security developments should not eclipse the underlying causes of Haiti’s instability, he stressed.
Indeed, extreme poverty and an unstable socio-economic environment prevailed, he said, adding that, while macroeconomic indicators had improved, the economy’s relative recovery had not yet translated fully into tangible progress in the everyday lives of Haitians. There was a long way to go in ensuring that the development track and socio-economic assistance efforts led by President Clinton were advanced in tandem with MINUSTAH’s stabilization work. To that end, Turkey was, in addition to its continued police contribution to MINUSTAH, exploring new avenues of assistance and cooperation with Haiti. Parliamentarian elections, and especially the presidential vote scheduled for the end of 2010, would be critical tests for stability and democracy. The Council should wait for them to be held before making any final assessment about the Mission’s drawdown. Thus, Turkey supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend its mandate.
PATRICK S. MUGOYA (Uganda) commended the Government and people of Haiti for progress in the country, including the recent holding of elections. It was now incumbent on them to continue their efforts. While MINUSTAH’s accomplishments in a range of areas deserved praise, continued threats to security and stability persisted. Calling on friends of Haiti to improve its management of natural disasters and put the country on the path to sustainable development, he welcomed the debt relief accorded to Haiti and commended Mr. Clinton’s efforts to mobilize public and private investment. Uganda supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation for the extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate.
SUSAN RICE (United States), emphasizing that her country was deeply honoured by the appointment of Mr. Clinton, urged the Haitian Government and its partners to continue to foster dialogue, support economic progress and ensure recovery from the recent natural disasters. She thanked Haiti’s international partners for their commitment to the country, as expressed at the April Donors’ Conference.
Underscoring the mutually reinforcing importance of security and economic development, she welcomed MINUSTAH’s activities in support of the Haitian National Police, saying that, as a neighbour and friend of Haiti, her country was working with the Government to become a more effective donor and hone its priorities. The United States firmly backed the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend MINUSTAH’s mandate and reconfigure its deployment. While the Haitian people had the primary responsibility for their country’s future, continued international engagement was crucial.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said that in July, his country had sent its eighth contingent to Haiti. He expressed support for the recommended mandate renewal of MINUSTAH, as the moment to withdraw clearly had not yet arrived. In order to avoid any major reversal, the maintenance of a substantial international presence on the ground was indispensable. Continued assistance was also necessary for disaster management, infrastructure improvement and border protection. Political stabilization could not be achieved by military and police alone. Donors and civil society had crucial roles to play.
He said the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti of the Economic and Social Council represented an important mechanism and could be an effective link between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. From its own experience, Guatemala knew that institution-building could contribute to sustainable development. In that regard, he encouraged prioritizing judicial reforms. He noted with concern that the report indicated the amounts owed to troop- and police-contributing countries. MINUSTAH could only be effective if it received the necessary funds.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay), speaking in his capacity as Coordinator of the Group of Friends of Haiti, expressed strong support for the efforts of MINUSTAH and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to improve stability and governance in the country. The Group of Friends welcomed the advances made in four of the five benchmarks critical to the consolidation of stability: political dialogue; the extension of State authority, including border management; the strengthening of security; the rule of law; and human rights. The Group also recognized the strong commitment by Latin American countries that were pooling their resources to help in the preparation of the Haitian National Police.
He underlined the increased political cooperation that had permitted progress in several areas, such as the recent senatorial elections, the adoption of key legislation and the pursuit of an inclusive dialogue on a number of major issues. At the same time, the Group of Friends was concerned about the grave socio-economic situation, which remained a direct threat to Haiti’s stability. Living conditions for the majority of Haitians were still characterized by hardship and privation as many grappled with food insecurity, significant poverty and a fragile humanitarian situation.
In connection with development challenges, the Group of Friends underlined the high importance of former President Clinton’s appointment, he said. Given that current levels of poverty, deprivation and suffering were clearly incompatible with long-term stability, it was urgent that the Haitian authorities and the international community work together closely to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid and recovery while laying a foundation for renewed private-sector activity and longer-term reconstruction and development. The Group of Friends endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendation on exploring enhanced use of MINUSTAH engineers so as to achieve greater synergy between the Mission’s mandate and Haiti’s development needs. It also supported the proposed extension of the mandate and adjustments in its military and police component.
ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, while security and stability had improved significantly, the Haitian people continued to face serious challenges in the area of socio-economic development. The European Union, therefore, welcomed the appointment of Mr. Clinton and remained committed to pledges made at the Washington Donors’ Conference. The improved security situation had turned the country into a more attractive destination for private investment and the creation of job opportunities would further consolidate that trend. The European Union’s focus was shifting from supporting democratic reform and rehabilitation to economic recovery and basic services. The bloc’s 2008/2013 cooperation strategy for Haiti would be funded with €291 million, focused primarily on infrastructure and governance.
While police reform was proceeding at a fast pace, the justice system was still marked by deprivation and limited resources, he said. Overcrowded prisons constituted cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and the European Union, therefore, urged the Government to invest more in its corrections system. There was also a need to intensify efforts to review pretrial detention. The European Union encouraged the Council to consider allocating a separate budget for corrections officers. The issue of border management control must also be carefully monitored. Operational assistance by the international community would be critical to safeguarding the gains made.
Another key area of institution-building was the follow-up to the April and June elections, he said, stressing that continued international support to electoral exercises would remain crucial. Haiti benefited from a generous donor base, and it was, therefore, essential to improve coordination between donors to avoid duplication. There had been a growing recognition of the need to develop political strategies for managing the transition from peacekeeping to post-conflict peacebuilding. The European Union was committed to support the Secretary-General in addressing those challenges, as outlined in his report.
JORGE ARGÜELLO (Argentina), associating himself with the statement of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said the question of Haiti was of fundamental importance for Latin America in general, and for his country, in particular. MINUSTAH had been a decisive factor in re-establishing stability and security in Haiti, along with the Haitian people in their commitment to democracy. The senatorial elections last April had been a concrete example of progress towards realizing the Mission’s mandate, which was aimed at allowing the normal development of the country’s political and constitutional processes. Argentina had stressed to the Council that month its concern over the lack of social and economic development in Haiti, warning that, without significant improvement in the living conditions, progress towards security and stability would be threatened. Still, looking back at the situation prevailing at the time of MINUSTAH’s establishment, today’s promising security and political developments must be acknowledged, as well as the attendant opportunity now to advance in other fields.
He said that, in order to seize that opportunity, the work of the United Nations and the international community must be more effective and determined. Its action in Haiti, at this stage should be to ensure that the Government assumed its responsibility. The action of the international community in Haiti cannot and must not consist only in the presence of MINUSTAH with its current configuration; its composition should be adapted in accordance with the situation in the field. There was an urgent need for progress in strengthening the country’s institutional capacities and improving coordination of international cooperation to align it with the priorities set by the Haitian Government, and enhance its efficacy and visibility. As the Secretary-General stated in his report, five years into the stabilization process, Haiti was moving away from past conflict towards a brighter future. Bearing that in mind, it was essential to ensure continued international commitment.
MONA JUUL (Norway) commended the United Nations and the Office of the Secretary-General for their comprehensive involvement in Haiti. She welcomed President Clinton’s appointment, saying he could play a key role in mobilizing and coordinating international support for the Haitian Government in its efforts to consolidate peace. Norway had been the first country to give financial support to the office of the Special Envoy and it looked forward to receiving updates in the period to come. Norway had also supported capacity-building efforts in Haiti, both within public entities and civil society, with particular attention paid to gender issues and the political participation of women. It had cooperated closely with United Nations agencies and MINUSTAH and would continue that dialogue. In addition, it had supported direct initiatives in Haiti, focusing on areas that could foster stability, such as endeavours to promote dialogue between political parties, non-governmental organizations and church communities.
She said MINUSTAH had contributed much to creating conditions conducive to building peace, but much work remained to establish incentives and a framework for economic and social development. Norway welcomed President Clinton’s ambition to work with the private sector to increase foreign investment and thereby create more jobs for the Haitian people. As indicated in the Secretary-General’s report, a substantial international military and police presence would be necessary for another year. The international community’s support must continue. Member States’ engagement in the larger ongoing United Nations reforms would also be crucial, as reforms were vital to ensure effectiveness and flexibility in the field. Norway supported the Secretary-General in his planning beyond 2010 to ensure a smooth and gradual handover of MINUSTAH’s activities to the Haitian State apparatus. The success of the handover would depend on the quality of its planning, and must be done in close coordination with the Haitian Government, the United Nations system and other national and international partners.
JOHN MCNEE (Canada) said that Haiti was a top foreign policy and security priority for his country, receiving the largest amount of aid after Afghanistan. The events of the past few months had provided yet more opportunities for building on progress achieved in the country, the biggest obstacle to which was apathy or “Haiti fatigue”. Priorities now included strengthening political consensus and maintaining security through MINUSTAH as long as it was needed, along with continued reform of the national police and the judicial and correctional systems. In addition, parliamentary institutions must be further strengthened, which should bring about a greater emphasis on development.
Noting that he chaired the Ad Hoc Advisory Group of the Economic and Social Council on Haiti, he highlighted the group’s fifth report of last July, noting that the group emphasized the connections between various economic and environmental issues and wished to see better use of MINUSTAH engineers to improve the synergy between the Mission’s mandate and development needs. He said it was also crucial to improve the coordination between donors and the Government and strengthen the emphasis on tangible results that improved the quality of life of Haitians.
GONZOLO GUTIERREZ (Peru), associating himself with the statement of Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said that it was clear that, although the situation in Haiti had improved, stability there remained weak. For that reason, international support must be continued. He pledged his country’s continued contribution to that effort. In addition, there must be greater interaction between the public and private sectors in Haiti, which required a strategic alliance between those sectors. He also stressed the importance of using the engineers of MINUSTAH to help the country as fully as possible, and he praised the role of Special Envoy Clinton in the country’s recovery.
RODOLFO BENITEZ (Cuba) said Haiti, Cuba’s closest neighbour and cradle of the liberation struggles against colonialism in the Caribbean, had been neglected by the international community. The country was one of the clearest examples of the disastrous consequences of colonialism and neo-colonialism and of continued interventionism. In the framework of the United Nations, focus was centred on so-called security issues, and attention to structural economic and social problems was minimized. There could be no lasting peace when over 70 per cent of the population lived in poverty, half of the labour force was unemployed and almost half of the population was malnourished and had no access to drinking water. The improvement of the security on the ground was unquestionable, but a military solution to the situation in Haiti had never been, nor would it be, possible.
He said that, despite being a small, blockaded country with very limited resources, Cuba had increased its cooperation with its sister nation mainly in the health sector, but also in energy, education, agriculture and sports. Three hundred thirty-six Cuban doctors were working in the country. He also described the training of Haitian doctors and scholarships to Haitian students in Cuba. Operation Miracle, a cooperation programme developed by Cuba and Venezuela, provided free care to patients suffering from eye problems. “What Cuba does today for Haiti is a modest example of how much more could be achieved in that country through international collaboration and assistance, especially by those States with more economic and financial resources,” he said.
CLAUDIA BLUM (Colombia) underlined the importance of a comprehensive vision to guide assistance to Haiti, which should foster development and institutional consolidation. Colombia focused its cooperation with Haiti within the wider framework of its contribution to the Caribbean region. Her country offered support to Haiti in the areas of food security, work-oriented education and disaster prevention. Highlighting the fact that MINUSTAH had had success in anti-kidnapping efforts, she said Colombia, which knew the value of that success, would continue to broaden its contribution to the Mission. Among other assistance offered to Haiti was cooperation regarding transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.
She welcomed MINUSTAH’s efforts focusing on strengthening the fight against illegal drug trafficking, particularly in the area of land and maritime interdiction. The main challenge Haiti encountered in the area of security was civilian in nature and required a police approach. Regarding the recommendation of the Secretary-General regarding the police, she said it was important to explore alternatives that avoided subtracting material and human resources from the ongoing process of reform of the National Police of Haiti.
EDUARDO GALVEZ (Chile), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Friends of Haiti by Uruguay, pledged that his country would continue its contributions to the international support of its neighbour. He welcomed the progress made in the area of security, but expressed concern over the lack of progress in socio-economic development, which, he maintained, was integrally tied to stability. For that reason, he welcomed Special Envoy Clinton’s efforts and other international support.
FEDERICO CUELLO CAMILO (Dominican Republic) welcomed the strong commitments made towards the stability and development of Haiti, as well as the recent cancellations of the country’s debts. He urged donors to follow through on their commitments. His country, sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, had also suffered through the recent natural disasters and was more than prepared to cooperate with Haiti and follow through on its agreement with the European Union, which still had to be signed by Haiti. Haiti was the owner of its future more than any other entity. He affirmed, however, the importance of the Dominican Republic to Haiti, as attested to by Haitian officials. He agreed that security should be strengthened on the border and welcomed the assistance of the international community in that area, and all others.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil) said the report had highlighted encouraging indicators, noteworthy among them the domestic macroeconomic stability and the forecast for economic growth in 2009. The cancellation of bilateral and multilateral debt was yet another positive indication, which allowed for cautious optimism. A window of opportunity had been opened. The political and economic leadership of Haiti must show practical commitment to the well-being of the people and deliver a modicum of public services. They should put aside differences in order to implement reforms that would ensure adequate governance. The international community must improve the quality and quantity of its assistance, with increased coordination among donors.
Expressing support for MINUSTAH, she said that supporting the Government’s efforts to build institutional capacity was crucial. Without capacity-building, collective and individual political and financial investment in Haiti would be lost and the success short-lived. All efforts must continue to be made to ensure that Haiti could soon rely on security forces capable of operating in a professional and autonomous manner. The quick-impact projects had proven increasingly important. As recommended by the Economic and Social Council and its Ad Hoc Consultative Group on Haiti, it would be important to have greater synergies between the mandate of the Mission and the development needs of Haiti. She supported mandate extension and reconfiguration of the security forces, as recommended by the Secretary-General.
JUAN ANTONIO YAÑEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain) said the international community should continue to help Haiti become a viable State. Spain had become the fifth largest bilateral donor, with an annual contribution of €20 million. At the Washington Conference, his country had pledged $37 million. It also contributed to the police component of MINUSTAH. Although the international community must continue to support Haiti, that support should not be limited to official development aid. There was a need to promote the creation of employment through private investments. In that regard he attached great importance to the upcoming international private trade mission headed by Mr. Clinton.
The process of institution-building in Haiti was essential for consolidation of progress made. That goal must be pursued through democratization of the State and the Constitutional reform should be supported by elections at the end of 2009. As part of institution-building, the rule of law should be strengthened and the judicial and penitentiary system be reformed. He supported the recommendations for the gradual reconfiguration of the military and police components of MINUSTAH, as well as for the Mission’s mandate extension.
JORGE VALERO (Venezuela) said the issue of Haiti was one of great sensitivity for his country as they were neighbours who had both struggled for liberation from foreign Powers. Solidarity and local initiatives should now strengthen freedom and democracy in Haiti. It was crucial that the will of Haitians be made known in those two areas. In that vein, Haitians should be employed in all roles and wherever possible replace foreign workers in international support efforts. Venezuela had engaged in many actions of solidarity with Haiti in areas including energy and health care, and had welcomed Haitian students to its universities. Venezuela agreed that MINUSTAH must be reconfigured, and the will of Haitians must be prioritized in that effort.
Speaking on behalf of the 14 member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica) said the latest report described some encouraging developments. While the situation remained tremendously complex, he noted that there had been increased political cooperation in a number of very important areas, including the holding of senatorial elections. Those gains, while they might seem incremental, were the result of the determination of the Haitian people to rise above and surely beyond their circumstances.
He drew attention to the pivotal role being played by MINUSTAH on the ground in Haiti; noting that the Mission had extended practically to all spheres, including the strengthening of national and local institutional capacity, increased policing operations and surveillance, and reform of rule-of-law structures. Also, in the area of human rights, during the period under review it had sought to enhance its efforts to protect and promote economic, social and cultural rights, supporting women’s participation in the political process, the enhancement of child protection capabilities and the promotion of HIV/AIDS health education.
He welcomed MINUSTAH’s ongoing collaboration with the Haitian Government in the area of border management ‑‑ a significant concern for the region ‑‑ through maritime, air and land patrols. The continued support of the international community would be crucial for the consolidation of stability and, in that connection, CARICOM welcomed, and was in fact deeply encouraged, by the high level of commitment shown by the country’s partners at the Washington Conference held in April this year, and the subsequent cancellation of the country’s debt. Those actions were strong expressions of the profound confidence of the international community in the Haitian people, whose improvement of livelihood and development remained vital to the success of the stabilization process and beyond.
MARÍA FERNANDA ESPINOSA (Ecuador) said her country, committed to the stabilization of Haiti, participated actively in MINUSTAH. Not only did it send soldiers, it had also established a peace-mission school for training soldiers for peacekeeping missions. Ecuador participated in MINUSTAH with soldiers and volunteers who contributed to Haiti’s reconstruction and socio-economic development.
While acknowledging the progress made in several areas, she expressed concern about the level of development and the food security situation, calling for adequate coordination among all actors. The new Special Envoy, Mr. Clinton, would help meet the development challenges and mobilize the needed international support. It was to be hoped that the Council would consider seriously the report of the Economic and Social Council’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Haiti.
Prime Minister PIERRE-LOUIS (Haiti) said in concluding remarks that speakers had noted the significant progress made, thanks to the efforts of Haiti’s Government and people, as well as the international community. However, they had indicated that there were still threats to the country’s stability and security, including poverty, unemployment, human vulnerability, international crime, lack of investment and low productivity.
She said the international community must honour its promises and allow Haiti to implement its socio-economic programme. The Government must continue its fight against corruption, among other things, and efforts to establish good governance. When MINUSTAH had deployed in Haiti, there had been less than 500 police officers. Now, the police force stood at more than 10,000 officers. That significant progress in security had been recognized by all. It was to be hoped that in the near future, the Government would regain full sovereignty so that it could ensure the security of its people, based on development.
Mr. ANNABI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said that the strong support that speakers had expressed for MINUSTAH was very much appreciated and would inspire him and his colleagues to redouble their efforts. He also thanked Special Envoy Clinton, as well as troop and police contributors, particularly those from Latin America. He concluded by saying that the words of Prime Minister Pierre-Louis demonstrated the Haitian Government’s commitment to play its role in creating the country’s future.
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* The 6184th & 6185th Meetings were closed.