Oxfam Position on the Haiti Donor Conference
Oxfam commends the government of Haiti and the CCI (cadre de cooperation Interimaire) team for their valuable work in creating the CCI report for the Haiti donor conference. However, we regret that in the process of creating the report few opportunities were created for dialogue with or significant involvement of civil society organizations. The specialists working on the report were selected for their expertise, which did not provide for representation of civil society.
In the current context of Haiti, without a functioning parliamentary system, involvement of the broad spectrum of civil society is especially important. The involvement of civil society, especially NGOs working with poor communities, will improve the design and implementation of programs. In addition the exclusion of non-State actors is in contradiction with the general approach of the European Union as laid out in the ACP-EU (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Partnership Agreement.
Civil society groups have appealed for a window to be opened, allowing all sectors concerned to offer their input into the planning documents and process. They particularly wish to see a process that includes all civil society organizations, political parties, women’s organizations, and local community organizations.
Oxfam calls upon the government of Haiti and the international donors, especially the European Union, to take the following steps :
1. The Haitian government and international community should set up a CCI monitoring committee to ensure that all members of the Haitian population benefit from the programs. This group should include significant representation from civil society, including NGOs, civic organizations, local community organizations, women’s organizations, and representatives of the population impacted by these policies.
2. The Haitian external debt totals over $1.2 billion. However in 2002 Haiti’s exports only totaled $248 million. This situation cannot be sustained, and needs to be urgently addressed. The World Bank and the IMF should admit Haiti to the HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Country) initiative for debt forgiveness without delay. In addition all new resources provided to Haiti both for humanitarian emergencies and long-term development should be in the form of grants not loans.
3. The Haitian government, with the assistance of the international community, should prioritize and initiate a national campaign to ensure the rule of law and improve the security of all citizens, disarm gangs, transform the Haitian National Police, and develop training and employment for former armed individuals and victims of violence. All guns collected should be catalogued and promptly destroyed.
4. The Haitian government should give priority to and immediately begin a program of employment and training for the poorest sectors of society.
5. To ensure active civil society engagement and confidence, these efforts should be fully transparent. Substantive policy and program design papers should be translated into Creole and publicized by radio and press in Creole.
Oxfam urges the Haitian government and international community to publicly commit to these points during the donor conference and to ensure their implementation.