United Nations Mission in Haiti Should Be Maintained at Current Strength at Least until after November Elections, New Government’s Formation, Security Council Told

13 September 2010
SC/10026

United Nations Mission in Haiti Should Be Maintained at Current Strength at Least until after November Elections, New Government’s Formation, Security Council Told

13 September 2010
Security Council
SC/10026
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6382nd Meeting (AM)

United Nations Mission in Haiti Should Be Maintained at Current Strength at Least

until after November Elections, New Government’s Formation, Security Council Told

Special Representative Edmond Mulet Says Country ‘Stable, But Fragile’;

Haiti’s Representative Tells Council Government Focused on Ensuring Fair Elections

The current strength of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), augmented after the devastating earthquake, should be maintained at least through the elections and the formation of a new Government, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council this morning.

Due to the efforts of its people and the international community, Haiti had not experienced a second wave of disaster, due to epidemics and social unrest after the devastating earthquake, according to Edmond Mulet, who is also the head of MINUSTAH, as he introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report (see Background).

At the same time, he stressed that the overall situation remained stable, but fragile, and that the Haitian State was confronted with numerous long- and short-term challenges, including the organization of presidential and legislative elections for 28 November, the maintenance of order in the camps, which were still plagued by sexual violence, the management of debris and reconstruction and the resettlement of some 1.3 million persons who were still displaced.

Haiti must continue to rely on the support of the international community for those purposes, particularly in the short term, as it awaited the formation of a new Government after the elections.  For those reasons, the Secretary-General advocated a deferral of planning for a drawdown of the Mission until after the new Government was formed and was able to conduct planning for long-term reconstruction.

At the same time, Mr. Mulet welcomed increasing national ownership of the recovery and reconstruction processes, with the creation of new mechanisms for that purpose — including the Interim Reconstruction Commission — increased assumption of responsibilities by the Haitian National Police and coordination of humanitarian clusters transferred to the ministries.

He said that immediate humanitarian needs had largely been met, but the population was now vulnerable to the hurricane season and the military component of MINUSTAH was updating its contingency plans to prepare for the risks.  He said, however, that many efforts had been hampered by the slow dispersal of pledged funds.  He called on donors to fulfil their commitments in a timely fashion.

After Mr. Mulet’s briefing, the representative of Haiti assured the Council that everything possible would be done to organize elections that would result in an outcome that was fair and accepted by the population.  He affirmed that it was crucial for the next Government to have the necessary legitimacy to lead the reconstruction process.  Regarding that effort, he affirmed, as well, that the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti was up and running.  He said that, at its last meeting, important projects had been approved, but they faced a financial deficit.

In that context, he stressed the importance of the dispersal of funds pledged by donors, saying that only 18 per cent of such funds had been “made effective”, so far.  He thanked those who had followed through and urged others to do so, and assured donors that his Government had done everything possible to ensure transparent management.

Following those statements, Security Council members and other speakers took the floor to commend all those who were been assisting the people and Government of Haiti, as well as the efforts of Haitians under extreme circumstances.

While welcoming the maintenance of stability and other achievements of stakeholders after the earthquake, most speakers recognized that significant challenges still remained, and most supported the maintenance of MINUSTAH’s current strength until the current critical period had passed, as per the Secretary-General’s recommendations.  Most speakers also acknowledged the importance of MINUSTAH’s support to peaceful and credible elections and to institutional capacity-building during the next year.

Along with several other speakers, however, the representative of the United Kingdom stressed that MINUSTAH’s focus should be on security and should not be on long-term reconstruction efforts.  In that vein, MINUSTAH’s disaster contingency planning was vital, but future Haitian ownership of those efforts was essential.  For those reasons, many speakers emphasized the importance of institution- and capacity-building in all areas including security, reconstruction and the rule of law.

Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United States, Brazil, France, Gabon, Mexico, Nigeria, China, Russian Federation, Japan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Austria, Uganda, Turkey, Uruguay, Canada, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Norway.

A member of the delegation of the European Union also made a statement.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 12:50 p.m.

Background

The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (document S/2010/446), which covers developments since 22 April until 31 August and provides a framework for the evolution of the Mission, known as MINUSTAH, over the coming year, including the identification of milestones for the fulfilment of the mandate.

During the reporting period, the Secretary-General says, Haiti, under the Government’s leadership and with international support, has successfully avoided a second-wave disaster of epidemics or social unrest, following the devastating January earthquake.  Nevertheless, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to remain in camps or improvised shelters over the coming year, the political, social and economic situation will remain fragile, he states, noting the potential for social unrest and the huge challenge of debris removal, reconstruction and sustainable resettlement of the displaced population.

The immediate challenge, he says, is the organization of credible presidential and legislative elections, with widespread participation, in order to bring in a President and Government with a clear and uncontested mandate to lead the reconstruction process.  MINUSTAH will continue its steadfast support in that effort.  Protecting the displaced population and other vulnerable groups is another key priority for the Mission, along with countering increased drug transit.  In that light, the current troop and police levels need to be maintained, he stresses, until an assessment of the security environment is conducted after the installation of a new Government.

He says that the success of MINUSTAH, and its eventual drawdown, is linked to progress in the reconstruction effort.  He appeals to donors and other international supporters to remember the magnitude of the earthquake and the long-term effort needed to rebuild Haiti and to channel funds through the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, which had received less than 10 per cent of the amount pledged.

Briefing

EDMOND MULET, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) introduced the Secretary-General’s report, saying he was pleased that the Government had called for an election on 28 November, which was extremely important for the reconstruction effort.  He had asked for the launch of a public information campaign and he welcomed the participation of 66 parties who had joined in the process, which would be assisted by MINUSTAH.  He had called on the Provisional Electoral Council to work in a transparent manner.

He said that the overall situation remained stable, but fragile, with an uptick in criminal activity expected as the elections neared and many remained vulnerable to sexual and other attacks in camps, despite the ongoing efforts of the Haitian National Police and MINUSTAH.  In the latest estimates, there were 1.3 million displaced persons and 230,000 buildings unstable, although half of the housing was still habitable.  The return of displaced persons remained slow, with a lag in debris removal and other processes.  He said services needed to be put in place to encourage returns, and he called for a moratorium on forced evictions.

Immediate humanitarian needs had largely been met, he said, with over 150,000 persons employed in recovery efforts, but the population remained vulnerable in the face of the hurricane season.  The military component of MINUSTAH had been updating its contingency plans to prepare for the risks.  The Provisional Reconstruction Commission, co-chaired by MINUSTAH and the Government, was also readjusting the national humanitarian architecture.  Coordination of humanitarian clusters had been transferred to the ministries, and some $1.5 billion of humanitarian projects had been approved.

He said that efforts to step up the work of the commission had been hampered by the slow dispersal of pledged funds.  He called on donors to step up the dispersal of those funds.  He outlined the logistical support being provided to the Government, and said that the time frame for the planning and implementation of the November elections was tight.  Evaluations of security had been conducted, however, and efforts were being made to assure that all Haitians participated.

He described MINUSTAH programmes for strengthening the Haitian National Police, including training to prevent and respond to sexual violence.  He said that daily patrols were being carried out in the largest camps by the Mission and the military component was creating special mechanisms to protect vulnerable persons.  Describing progress in judicial reform, he called for the expedited establishment of the Security Council for Judicial Power.  He also described programmes to reduce violence in the most problematic camp areas.

In conclusion, he said that, despite the devastation of the earthquake, Haiti had not experienced a second wave of disaster due to epidemics and social unrest.  At the same time, that relative success remained precarious.  However, the Haitian State was confronted with numerous long- and short-term challenges, such as the organization of elections, the maintenance of order in the camps, the reconstruction, the management of debris and the resettlement of displaced persons.  To deal with those challenges, Haiti would continue to rely on the support of the international community.

Statements

LÉO MÉRORÈS ( Haiti) focused his remarks on two key challenges facing the Government, namely those connected to the legislative and presidential elections and the reconstruction process.  Regarding the first challenge, he assured the Council, on behalf of his Government, that everything would be done to organize credible, transparent elections, whose results would be accepted by the population.  It was obvious that the recovery work would mean that the next Government had to have the necessary legitimacy, in order to lead the reconstruction process.  Regarding that effort, the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti was up and running.  At its last meeting, a certain number of projects had been approved, though those faced a financial deficit.  So, once again, the international community had pledged funds in March, but they really must be forthcoming.

He said that the security situation was truly precarious, with 1.3 million displaced persons, owing to the January earthquake.  That made the reconstruction work increasingly urgent; its impact on security could not be overestimated.  That was why it was so important to ensure that the sums pledged for reconstruction were made available and to ensure no outbreaks of violence, owing to the population’s disappointment over unmet expectations of help.  He assured the Council that the Government wanted the reconstruction to take place in good conditions.  Starting next year, there would be a new Government, but the current one wanted to establish the basis upon which the new one would continue the work.  Regarding financing, only 18 per cent of the pledged funds had been “made effective”, so far.  He thanked those who had followed through and urged others to do so.  The Government had done everything possible to ensure transparent management of the funds.  He appreciated the assistance it had so far received, both for reconstruction and organization of the elections.

SUSAN RICE ( United States) offered her country’s strongest support and deepest thanks to MINUSTRAH for its extraordinary work under difficult circumstances.  The political situation remained fragile, but progress towards the November elections had been positive.  Peaceful and credible elections, and the transfer of power to a new Government, would be key milestones to Haiti’s progress.  She commended MINUSTAH’s assistance to the police force and its work to maintain the country’s stability.  The United States, however, was deeply concerned about the vulnerable populations in the camps and neighbouring communities, and the extent of sexual and gender-based violence.  Any level of such violence was unacceptable, and her country appreciated MINUSTAH’s efforts to address that situation.  She also applauded the use of the Mission’s military component in a more community-based approach, which should have an impact in that regard.

She said that addressing that violence must be part of a wider effort to empower women throughout the reconstruction process, and MINUSTAH should be encouraged to expand its efforts beyond the camps to areas both inside and outside Port-au-Prince.  Weapons and drugs into Haiti were destabilizing, and she also encouraged the Mission to leverage its capabilities, wherever possible, to help interdict those flows.  The Secretary-General’s report mentioned discussion of a force drawdown of MINUSTAH, and recognized the increase as temporary in nature, but any drawdown must be based on conditions on the ground, the conclusion of the hurricane season and the elections, and the peaceful transition of power early next year.  She encouraged other countries to support Council resolution 1908 (2010) and 1927 (2010) and to deploy police in support of the critical mission in Haiti.  Her own country had 45 police personnel in Haiti and it would double that number in the coming months.  It would welcome the contributions of other Member States in that regard.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said that the report justified hope for the future of Haiti, commending the Haitian people and MINUSTAH for their accomplishments.  She welcomed the completion of the deployment of additional troops for MINUSTAH and advocated the maintenance of current levels.  She also encouraged MINUSTAH to focus on the security of displaced persons.  She expressed concern over increased traffic in illegal drugs and said that efforts must be redoubled to strengthen the Haitian National Police.  She reported that Brazilian police had been providing assistance, in that light.

She said that the most pressing needs included taking steps to face possible hurricanes, remove rubble and resettle the displaced.  Relevant projects must be fully funded in a way that strengthened the Haitian State, through the Haitian Reconstruction Fund, as Brazil had done.  It was important that pledged funds be quickly dispersed.  Assistance must also be provided as efficiently as possible.  She called on all political parties to work towards a credible and inclusive election and, noting Brazilian contributions, called for donor assistance in that area as well.

NAME TO COME (France) aligning his statement with the one to be made on behalf of the European Union, paid tribute to the accomplishments of MINUSTAH and affirmed the importance of assistance to the coming elections.  He called on the Haitian authorities to assure the credibility of the process.  To continue to perform its varied functions, MINUSTAH must receive adequate funding, he said, noting in particular the importance of protecting women and other vulnerable persons in the camps.  He welcomed the establishment of the Provisional Commission for Reconstruction.

It was important that all donors fulfil their commitments, but also that donors receive updated information, he said, outlining his country’s contributions bilaterally and through the European Union.  He said that his country would continue to provide such assistance through a wide range of mechanisms and at all levels.

EMMANUEL ISSOZE-NGONDET ( Gabon) said that, during the various international conferences on Haiti, the Government had committed to organize general elections in November.  He welcomed the measures it had taken to create conducive conditions.  Gabon called on the Government and relevant parties to become fully involved in the ongoing constitutional reform process.  Given the reconstruction effort, Gabon supported strengthened coordination between MINUSTAH, the Government and civil society in the electoral preparations.  He also appreciated the efforts made by the international community in that regard.  Particularly welcome had been the financial contribution of the European Union and the announcement that the Union of South American Nations would also contribute.

Turning to security, he said he was pleased that the overall situation was calm, but he was still concerned about the “sexist and sexual” violence against women and children, and the upswing of gang crime, due to the prisoner escapes.  Thus, he supported MINUSTAH’s military and police staff at the current level.  Concerning the humanitarian situation, he joined the Secretary-General’s appeal to establish a comprehensive strategy to relocate the earthquake victims and he encouraged donors to adhere to their commitments.  Development of a stable and prosperous Haiti would depend, to a large extent, on implementation of those promises.  The country’s reconstruction, without a doubt, was a challenge for the international community.  From that standpoint, Gabon welcomed efforts to establish an action plan for Haiti’s recovery and it renewed its support for Mr. Mulet and United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton.

NAME TO COME ( Mexico), fully adhering to the statement to be made by Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said that, eight months after the tragic earthquake, the United Nations had shown its capacity to mobilize international efforts and respond to the humanitarian emergency and recovery.  Although the Government had increased efforts to take on a leadership role in coordinating humanitarian and recovery activities and to confront natural catastrophes, it was still crucial to strengthen the State’s capacity to assume those responsibilities.

He said Haiti was ensuring the survival of its national institutions, despite dramatic conditions, but it would have multiple challenges to face in the coming months, and the United Nations and wider international community would have to step up their support to the people and Government to turn those challenges into opportunities and contribute to helping the country overcome the structural problems.   The November elections would be decisive in guaranteeing stability, rule of law, and the democratic process in Haiti.  He agreed with the Secretary-General that it was essential to guarantee the credibility and legitimacy of the electoral process; political stability depended on that.  MINUSTAH had an essential role to play in that connection.

RAFF BUKUN-OLU WOLE ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) said that international assistance had helped to create conditions favourable for elections.  However, there was a “disturbing disquiet” concerning modalities for the elections.  He encouraged all stakeholders to work towards a free and inclusive election, and commended MINUSTAH’s role.  He also commended the Mission’s role in security, but affirmed that the continued existence of sexual violence in the camps must be addressed.  In addition, the illicit trafficking of drugs must be effectively tackled.  The national security sector must be strengthened for those purposes.

A more comprehensive humanitarian strategy was also needed, with priority given to women and children, he said.  He commended the cash and food for work projects and other international assistance in that regard.  He said his country would soon disburse its pledges of funds to Haiti in full, and supported the extension of MINUSTAH at its current strength.

LI BAODONG ( China) said it was heartening to see the calm security situation in Haiti, with the Government gradually coming back to life, despite multiple challenges and the slow progress in many areas, as well as a rise in crime.  He hoped that the Government, with international support, would speed up security improvements to allow free and fair elections.  The key to long-term security lay also in progress in reconstruction.

He outlined Chinese assistance and called on Haitians to encourage national ownership of the reconstruction process.  The engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission should eventually be considered.  He supported the continued presence of MINUSTAH, affirming that its mandate should focus on security to allow progress in all areas.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation), noting the serious challenges facing Haiti, welcomed the avoidance of large-scale unrest and the organization of November elections, which, he agreed, MINUSTAH should support.  The major responsibility for the recovery of Haiti lay with its people, he affirmed, and he welcomed the national ownership for such efforts displayed increasingly by the Government.

Expressing concern over the increased drug trade, he also supported MINUSTAH’s efforts to provide assistance in border control.  He looked forward to a comprehensive strategic programme for international assistance and agreed that the formation of a new Government was necessary, in order to envision a plan for MINUSTAH’s drawdown.  In that light, he supported continued, adequate international support throughout the upcoming period.

TSUNEO NISHIDA ( Japan), noting the importance of political stability for Haiti, said the upcoming presidential and legislative elections were a prerequisite for achieving that stability.  Those elections must be implemented in a fair, transparent and secure manner and ensure the large participation of the Haitian people.  In that context, he encouraged MINUSTAH, along with the global community, to provide technical, logistical and security assistance to the Government, adding that Japan wished to cooperate with Haiti, MINUSTAH and others for the success of the elections.

In other areas, he expressed concern at sexual violence and forced evictions of internally displaced persons from their camps, as well as the presence of escaped inmates from collapsed prisons and the increased incidence of drug transhipments and kidnappings.  He urged MINUSTAH to exert all efforts to maintain a secure environment.  Current troop and police levels should be maintained until an assessment of the security environment could take place.  Japan would support the extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate.  Further, Japan had dispatched some 330 personnel to help remove debris and repair camps.  His Government also continued to provide temporary housing, implement counter-infection measures and dispatch disaster protection measures.  Reconstruction efforts should be accelerated to ensure humanitarian support to Haitians and Japan called on MINUSTAH to use its maximum capacity for Haiti’s reconstruction.

IVAN BARBALIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) said, “ Haiti still faces grim reality,” with hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and a fragile political, social and economic situation.  He urged the Government to ensure that the upcoming elections were free and fair, saying MINUSTAH had an important role in providing assistance in organizing those elections.  It was essential that MINUSTAH collaborate with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in providing technical support to the Provisional Electoral Council.  As strengthening the security sector and the judicial and penal systems was a precondition for a secure environment, he commended the cooperation between MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police.

A major challenge for the Government was the sustainable resettlement of displaced persons, he said, noting that Government commitment and international assistance would be crucial to finding a solution to such a complex, delicate problem.  Welcoming the establishment of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, he said it was also crucial that donors continue their commitments.  The partnership between Haiti and the United Nations must be fostered to preserve positive developments and meet remaining challenges.  Only joint efforts would bring tangible results.

NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon) welcomed measures by the Government, including decrees and the start of the registration process in the lead-up to the elections.  He also welcomed MINUSTAH’s role in assisting the country, particularly in its recovery efforts.  He thanked the donors for covering the costs associated with the elections — $29 million — and the troop-contributing countries, and called for consolidation of the police, now that more than 4,000 had been authorized by the Council as part of its Mission, over the previous 3,000 to, among other tasks, assist the internally displaced persons and the Interim Commission.

The earthquake could have unleashed social disaster and, although it did not, he said that security was still fragile.  He pointed to prisoner escapes, sexual aggression and a resurgence in drug trafficking as major problems.  He called for consolidation of the rule of law and reform of the justice system.  He was concerned about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, especially in the refugee camps.  He noted that 1.3 million persons were living in 1,300 camps with no plan for permanent shelter in the near future.  He called on donors to swiftly make good on their March pledges; Haiti had only received $5.6 million so far.  He reaffirmed the importance of the leadership of both the Haitian Government and people and expressed the hope that the country would be able to play a commanding role in the recovery process.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING ( Austria), in support of the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, added that, since the Council’s last debate on Haiti, much progress had been made on the ground.  Everyone knew that the current period would be high-risk, where the objectives of security and protection would have to be pursued vigorously against the backdrop of the elections and reconstruction.  Those twin objectives had been met with success so far.  He emphasized the importance of efforts by MINUSTAH to boost rule of law and protect civilians, particularly women and children, and welcomed measures it had taken in close cooperation with the National Police to protect the people in the camps.  The increase in MINUSTAH’s police staff had produced the desired results.  All operational adjustments had been reviewed to meet the challenges of the sexual violence, and he welcomed that.  Also welcome had been the Mission’s additional activities in support of the electoral preparations.

He said he was aware that, despite the significant progress, much remained to be done.  He shared the Secretary-General’s analysis that MINUSTAH’s police and military staff should be maintained at current levels until evaluation of the security and political situation, following the arrival of the new Government.  The elections must be credible, fair and legitimate, and he reiterated his hope for women’s participation.  As for protecting the most vulnerable populations, efforts must be continuous and strong.  A solid protective environment must be established in Haiti.  He particularly sought an easing of the plight of displaced children and an end to their trafficking and exploitation.  Civilian protection overall was very important, and he would welcome activities by MINUSTAH to protect children and assist the victims of sexual violence.  It was also urgent to improve prison conditions and to reduce the prison population, as well as to limit the excessive use of provisional detention.

He added that Austria had mobilized nearly $17 million in contributions to Haiti, for both immediate humanitarian aid and for reconstruction, a part of which had been made available to the United Nations “family” and the Red Cross, as well as to humanitarian non-governmental organizations in Austria.  Its citizens had donated up to $45 million to the victims in Haiti.

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda), commending all those who have been assisting the people and Government of Haiti, who he also saluted for their efforts under extreme circumstances.  Recognizing that significant challenges still remained, he said that pledges must be honoured and welcomed the creation of the Interim Recovery Commission.  He emphasized the importance of coordination of all stakeholders, as well as national ownership of efforts.

He said it was important that elections were peaceful and credible and welcomed international support for those purposes.  Provision of housing for all those who needed it would require a comprehensive strategy, as would the needed strengthening of security and rule-of-law institutions.  He saluted the men and women of MINUSTAH, who he said continued to play an indispensable role in maintaining a secure environment.

PHILIP JOHN PARHAM ( United Kingdom) also paid tribute to MINUSTAH and welcomed preparatory measures being taken ahead of the November elections.  He underlined the need for all parties to ensure free and credible elections.  MINUSTAH’s focus should be on security and should not be on long-term reconstruction efforts, with capacity built for Haitians to lead those efforts.  In that vein, MINUSTAH’s disaster contingency planning was vital, but future Haitian ownership of those efforts was essential.

Building the Haitian National Police was crucial as well, and MINUSTAH must do the utmost to strengthen national security institutions.  Over the next year, efforts should be made to assure Haitian capacity in all such areas, while MINUSTAH’s strength was maintained during that critical period.  His country, he pledged, would fully back the Mission in those efforts.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey), speaking in his national capacity, said the enormous suffering in Haiti was still vividly remembered.  Indeed, the magnitude of the earthquake and the loss of life and infrastructure damage were not easily surmountable.  He was glad to learn that the humanitarian needs were, to a large extent, being addressed, but much more remained to be done.  The number of displaced people was quite high and the resettlement plan had to be implemented.  It was admirable that the security situation had remained relatively calm, although there had been a slight increase in criminal activities, such as drug trafficking.  Due to the high number of displaced persons, vigilance must prevail to prevent further deterioration of the security situation.  MINUSTAH had an important role to play in that connection, and there was still room to increase its number of troops and police to reach the Council-authorized levels.

He said that the Mission should also continued to build national capacity, but security could not be maintained through military and police alone; political and institutional capacity were equally, if not more, important.  The elections would be crucial for Haiti’s future.  Haitians could not live forever in transition, where short-term actions were taken to meet urgent needs.  They needed a strong government and a functioning parliament.  MINUSTAH, therefore, should continue to assist in the electoral preparations.  Along with underpinning political and institutional stability, it should continue to assist in the country’s long-term recovery and development activities.  The international community’s response had been effective, but it should do better in coordinating donor support.  It had so far responded well to the challenges compounded by the earthquake, but there was a need, and room, to do better, and Turkey remained ready to support all efforts in that regard.

JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the friends of Haiti, reaffirmed continued support to Haiti with a view to consolidating peace and stability and promoting recovery.  The Secretary-General’s report provided a framework for MINUSTAH’s evolution over the coming year, including through the identification of milestones regarding the fulfilment of its mandate.  Agreeing that Haiti was entering a period of change that would be critical to its political stability, his Group stressed the importance of holding credible presidential and legislative elections in order for the Government to lead reconstruction efforts.

He welcomed MINUSTAH’s support of Haiti’s recovery and development, as well as the establishment of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission to coordinate recovery and reconstruction efforts.  He urged donors to fulfil pledges made at the March international donors’ conference in a timely manner and to continue assisting the Government in strengthening its capacity to take ownership of the reconstruction process.  MINUSTAH played an important role in providing logistical support and technical expertise to build Haiti’s rule-of-law institutions and implement its strategy for displaced persons, and those measures must be swiftly carried out.  MINUSTAH’s mandate should be extended and current troop and police levels maintained until an assessment of the security environment was conducted.  His Group would submit a new draft resolution to that effect in the coming days.

PETER SCHWAIGER, of the European Union’s delegation to the United Nations, said Haiti was now entering a critical stage for its future stability and the success of its reconstruction.  Without stability, all reconstruction efforts would be doomed to fail.  In the short term, free and transparent elections were the greatest challenge.  The transfer of power to the new authorities, the strengthening of institutions and rule of law, better protection of displaced persons and vulnerable groups were all among the most immediate priorities.  In that scenario, MINUSTAH would continue to play a major role, and the Union welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations to extend its mandate and force at the current levels of military and security personnel.  It was only after the elections, and on the basis of a detailed report of needs, that it would be wise to re-evaluate the situation and re-examine MINUSTAH’s duties, in order to ensure a gradual and realistic transfer of responsibilities.

He said that the European Union fully shared the strategy presented for the protection for displaced persons, particularly for women and children.  The Union emphasized the importance of measures by MINUSTAH, in close cooperation with the Haitian police, to deal with sexist violence and serious violations of the rights of children.

In March, he recalled, the European Union and member States had committed to contribute to the Haiti action plan up to €1.235 billion, of which €460 million came directly from the European Union budget.  He announced today that the latter figure had been reviewed upward, and was now at €522 million, meaning that the European Union was one of Haiti’s largest donors.  Of that sum, the European Commission had already spent €307 million and was “working non-stop to make it all available”, bearing in mind Haiti’s ability to absorb it.  It had also provided a considerable amount to cover expenses for health, education, and security, and to restore the Haitian Government’s ability following the quake.  The Union was also prepared to support the conduct of elections in the amount of €5 million and to contribute to security by maintaining the police forces it had already deployed, plus units from Italy and France.  Only legitimate and transparent elections would be recognized and accepted by all.

As for humanitarian concerns, the Union was committed to assist the victims through 2011, he said, adding that it was preparing a strategy document in strict accordance with Haiti.  The Union stressed the need for donor coordination, welcoming in that connection the formation of the Interim Commission, to which it was fully committed.  That body had not been established as an “extra bureaucratic layer”, but to strengthen local capacity, in order to obtain speedy results while ensuring monitoring and follow-up by the ministries concerned.  The Union advocated closer coordination between the commission and Haitian ministries.  It had begun to translate its promises, four months later, into tangible reality.

JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said that Haiti remained one of Canada’s top foreign policy priorities.  Its engagement in that country emphasized prosperity, security and democratic governance.  Haiti was the leading recipient of Canadian development assistance in the Americas and ranked second in that regard worldwide.  That support was considerably strengthened in the aftermath of the earthquake:  Canada had announced at the New York Conference in March that it was contributing $400 million to Haiti’s reconstruction and deploying additional personnel to MINUSTAH.  Canada also continued to work with the Haitian Government and the international community, guided by the principles of ownership, coordination, sustainability, effectiveness, inclusiveness and accountability.  A major forthcoming challenge was the elections, for which Canada supported the Organization of American States and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) electoral observation missions.  Ensuring successful reconstruction required good governance and strong democratic institutions.

He said that, although the living conditions for many Haitians were still precarious, most of the immediate humanitarian needs had been met and reconstruction and development efforts were moving ahead.  Still, the Government of Haiti and its international partners had to deal with some considerable challenges, such as land issues.  Canada was pleased that it could count on the leadership of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.  However, consolidating the gains would depend largely on sustained support from the international community, including through MINUSTAH.  Canada supported the Secretary-General’s “cautious” approach of maintaining Mission staff at its current level, until the security environment in Haiti was assessed — after the inauguration of the new president and new Government.  The Secretary-General had also underscored the temporary authority given to MINUSTAH to provide direct logistical support and technical expertise to Haitian officials.

Canada, he said, stressed the importance of strengthening Haiti’s justice and security systems, in the areas of police, penitentiary, border and corrections services, noting that challenges such as Haitian national police reform, must be re-examined in the post-quake context.  Any progress in the legal and security realms would help reconstruction and development.  In that regard, Canada was especially proud to have significantly increased its personnel deployed to MINUSTAH, in addition to having increased by $10 million the Global Peace and Security Fund envelope for Haiti, monies that would be used to rebuild key infrastructure of the judicial system and Haitian National Police, among others.

CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) reaffirmed her Government’s commitment to earthquake-ravaged Haiti in both the recovery and stabilization phases.  Colombia was aware that the magnitude of the tragedy required long-term and coordinated actions that went beyond emergency humanitarian assistance, and she emphasized that, while Council resolution 1927 (2010) had stressed Haiti’s leading role in the post-disaster recovery and reconstruction process, it had also underlined the need for increased coordination among all United Nations entities and other relevant stakeholders to that end.

She went on to welcome the Council’s decision to empower MINUSTAH with the leadership role in coordinating international electoral assistance in support of the Haitian Government’s preparations for, and conduct of, legislative and presidential polls, set to take place in late November.  That process should be inclusive, impartial and free.  As Haiti struggled back towards full recovery, it would be important to continue to keep track of the aid pledges and disbursement of donor funds.  To that end, Colombia congratulated the Special Envoy with regard to his work ensuring coherence across the Organization’s operations in Haiti and in appealing to donors and non-governmental organizations to channel direct budget support for the Haitian Government.

Colombia, for its part, had been coordinating efforts with the Government, Haitian civil society and other States and agencies working on the ground, she continued, stressing the importance of complementing emergency and stabilization actions with cooperation and technical assistance, so the institutional capacities of the country could be strengthened and further developed.  She noted that the Haitian National Police had a critical role to play in establishing a safe and secure environment that contributed to the consolidation of the State’s authority.  Further, she said the international community must honour its commitment to support the electoral process, as well as to support the Government and ensure that it was able to provide the strong leadership required to cope with the reconstruction process.

GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ (Peru), aligning his statement with that of Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, stressed that, despite the progress due to MINUSTAH’s efforts and those of the Government and others, huge challenges remained in Haiti, including reconstruction and the resettlement of displaced persons.  Capacity must be built in the country and the national recovery plans adequately supported.  Efforts to create a solid base for economic activity must also be increased.

His country had emphasized the importance of a strategic alliance between the public and private sectors in Haiti, he said, adding that it was also essential to pursue electoral and Governmental reform.  In that light, MINUSTAH’s mandate should be renewed with the greatest support possible by the international community.  Peru had increased its troop contribution and was steadfastly committed to contributing to the rebuilding of Haiti.

OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile), also aligning himself with Uruguay’s statement, reaffirmed his country’s ties with Haiti and its long-term recovery efforts.  He hoped that peaceful elections would take place, as orderly Governance and the rule of law would play a large role in the recovery.  Paying tribute to the accomplishments of MINUSTAH, he supported the renewal of its mandate.

He said that international efforts should fall under national ownership for reconstruction and development and acknowledged the leadership of the Government in many efforts thus far.  He emphasized the importance of ending sexual violence and empowering women, particularly by incorporating them into MINUSTAH initiatives.

JORGE ARGÜELLO (Argentina), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, reiterated his country’s firm commitment to Haiti and expressed its continued participation in MINUSTAH.  After the earthquake, Argentina deployed an additional infantry company of 150 military personnel to assist the provision of security in the distribution of humanitarian aid to the Haitian population.  His delegation favoured the new characteristics given to the Mission, and also shared the Secretary-General’s view of the assessment of the security environment and accompanying mandate and troop-level recommendation for the Mission.  He also shared the Secretary-General’s view that Haiti, under the leadership of its Government and with international support, had successfully avoided a second-wave disaster of epidemics and social unrest, for which he understood that MINUSTAH had been a decisive stabilizing factor.  Nonetheless, the political and economic situation in the country remained complex.

In that context, and with a view to contributing to the reconstruction, he said that Argentina was working with Peru to offer MINUSTAH the “Jose de San Martin” combined engineering company.  Argentina also worked actively in the field of police cooperation with Haiti to develop the latter country’s institutional capacity to control its own security.  In 2009, Argentina and Chile had issued a report on the situation of the Haitian national police and an action plan to coordinate and assess assistance in that field.  This year, after two devastating earthquakes in both Haiti and Chile, that initiative would likely be resumed once the Haitian Government was able to assess its needs and priorities in that regard.  During the donors’ conference, Argentina had pledged $16 million as part of the commitment of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to contribute $100 million.  Argentina had also pledged an additional $1 million for the implementation of projects in the field of food security and capacity-building, with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

He added that his delegation considered MINUSTAH to still be a decisive factor for establishing a secure and stable environment in Haiti, which was the main reason why its mandate should be extended.

TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) said that, as a sign of her Government’s commitment, it was now nominating to MINUSTAH a team of five police personnel with expertise in sexual and gender-based violence.  That would be Norway’s first such specialized team to serve in a United Nations peacekeeping mission and was a reflection of the great importance her country placed on contributing to the Organization’s work to stamp out such violence.  She also commended MINUSTAH’s support to Haitian authorities in setting up community police substations that could assist victims of sexual and gender-based violence in camps for internally displaced persons, as well as in crime-prone areas.

She stressed that the potential for unrest still prevailed in Haiti, and solutions must be found that permitted the United Nations to carry out its work in insecure areas of Port-au-Prince.  To that end, she commended the work done by the Community Violence reduction programme, and recommended its extension.  Norway also welcomed MINUSTAH’s measures to address gender-based violence, including the training and the establishment of a referral system and mechanisms for reporting and data collection.  She encouraged that Mission and other bodies, including the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission to take into account recommendations laid out in the 11 July statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council.  Finally, she stressed that, while there were some positive developments related to preparations for presidential and legislative elections, Norway was concerned about shortcoming in the voter registration process that might negatively impact the polls and their legitimacy.  The challenge now was to achieve a gradual transition from relief to recovery mode, keeping in mind the “volatile” humanitarian situation.  Norway expected the United Nations to play a leading role in the longer-term recovery process.

Mr. MÉRORÈS ( Haiti) took the floor again to thank the Council President and speakers for their positive comments, of which he would advise his Government.  The recommendations would be followed up on the path towards stabilization.  Several speakers had referenced the problem of sexual violence, he noted, ensuring them that the Government was well aware of it and, together with the police, was in the process of remedying that situation.  On behalf of the Government, he also thanked MINUSTAH for its work.  Under extremely difficult conditions, it had allowed the Government and country to progress towards stabilization.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.