More on the Haiti donor conference

For those of you interested in a somewhat more straightforward presentation of the Reconstruction Plan than that set out in my ramblings of yesterday, I can recommend a very good piece by Colum Lynch in yesterday’s Turtle Bay. Lynch also links to an editorial by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in the Washington Post that even more explicitly posits ‘build back better’ as a founding ideology for Haiti’s refounding:

In partnership with the international community, Haiti’s leaders are committing to a new social contract with their people. That means fully democratic government, grounded in sound economic and social policies that address extreme poverty and deep-rooted disparities of wealth. It also means fair and free elections, conducted with U.N. help, preferably by the end of this year.

This social contract must empower women — as heads of households providing for their families, as entrepreneurs developing businesses, as advocates for the vulnerable, with full rights as decision makers in evolving democratic institutions and civic action organizations. It must offer new opportunities for economic advancement — above all, jobs. The U.N. cash-for-work program should be a model. At the end of the day, only Haitians can build Haiti back better.

Haiti’s leaders are well aware that this new partnership requires a commitment to good governance, transparency and mutual accountability — between the government and the governed, between the public and private sectors, between Haiti and the international community. It requires fresh approaches to long-standing problems. Among them: the future of Haiti’s overcrowded capital. If Haiti is to flourish, social infrastructure and economic development must be dispersed from Port-au-Prince to regions and cities throughout the country. That is why Haiti’s national plan contains ample provision for environmental recovery, land reform, and new investment in fisheries and agriculture.

Watch this space! In the meantime, if any readers will be attending the New York conference and would be interested in guest-blogging on the reception of the plan and discussions surrounding decentralization, please contact me.

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