While the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti succeeded in financial terms, with US $9.9 billion pledged by donor states for reconstruction during the next year and a half, ensuring that immediate reconstruction efforts are effective for Haiti’s long term success will be a complex task. With its release timed to coincide with the gathering of international donors and Haitian government officials in New York on March 31, the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) most recent report provides insightful recommendations for the diverse range of actors involved in Haiti’s reconstruction.
Entitled “Haiti: Stabilization and Reconstruction after the Quake,” the report is grounded in the issues which both complicate and facilitate reconstruction efforts. Noting that many aspects of the public sector response were actually quite successful given the circumstances, including power provision, water supply and payments to civil servants, the report also identifies failures like President Rene Préval’s lack of visibility. An equally sober analysis of the international community puts the unprecedented nature of not just the disaster but the response itself into context.
The report appears to be aimed at policymakers, practitioners, and anyone else in a position to either influence or implement reconstruction efforts in Haiti. In keeping with this, the report categorizes its recommendations in terms of who they apply to, with some advice aimed at the Haitian Government, some at various actors in the international community, and some intended for both. Although initial reports of the security situation appear to have been overly negative, real risks are emerging. Increasingly unsafe displaced persons camps, a still incapacitated government, and the approaching rainy season all make timely action not just desirable but necessary.