Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Haiti Reconstruction Plan Highlights

Here are the highlights of the Haiti reconstruction plan expected to be presented at a March 31 international donor's conference in New York:

• The creation of an Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) by a vote of parliament to oversee how and where billions of dollars of aid flowing into Haiti are spent over the next 18 months.

• The commission would exist for 18 months and its decisions would be guided by a 20-member board of Haitians and foreigners whose voting members include donors that have given either $100 million toward Haiti's reconstruction over the next two years or $200 million in debt relief. The board will review and approve projects regardless of the funder.

• The commission would be co-chaired by Haiti's prime minister and an international figure involved in the recovery process. The president of Haiti would retain veto power. The chairs would be supported by an executive director, who manages the day-to-day operations. Haiti is expected to offer Bill Clinton, the former U.S. president and now U.N. special envoy to Haiti, the job as co-reconstruction czar.

• A key role of the IRHC's mandate would be to support the establishment of a Haitian Development Authority (HDA) that would plan, sequence and coordinate projects over 10 or more years in redeveloping Haiti. Haitians involved in the HDA would have worked alongside foreigners on the commission -- and eventually take over their task once the commission morphs into the HDA. • All projects -- from a school to hospital, regardless of the funder -- would have to go to the IHRC/HDA for approval to ensure that they fit well with Haiti's master plan and vision. Foreign donors or nongovernmental organizations would no longer be able to build what they want without Haitian approval.

• Once fully operational, the HDA could be chaired by a well-respected and senior Haitian government official, who would oversee the daily operations of the HDA and would report to Haiti's prime minister.

• The task of the IRHC, and ultimately the HDA, would be the initial implementation of a Haiti Development Plan, which would be presented and endorsed at the 2010 Haiti donor conference. Haiti's government has said it needs $34.4 billion to redevelop the country over 10 years. This includes the $11.5 billion in post-disaster needs assessment.

• Multidonor Trust Fund: This will be one more mechanism for donors to channel funding for Haiti's reconstruction, allowing resources to be pooled for large projects. These projects would also have to be approved by the IRHC/HDA. The fund will be managed by the World Bank with the Inter-American Development implementing the construction.

• To address transparency and construction concerns, the IRHC/HDA would be complemented by an independent audit authority and a communications office.

Source: U.S. State Department concept notes on creation of the Haiti Development Authority and interviews with individuals familiar with the proposal.

Source: MiamiHerald

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