Africa: Solidarity with Haiti
Feb 2, 2010 (100202)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"Despite $402 million pledged to support the Haitian government's Economic Recovery Program [in April 2009] ... as of yesterday we estimate that 85% of the pledges made last year remain undisbursed.... [we don't need more pledges] We need a reconstruction fund that is large, managed transparently, creates jobs for Haitians, and grows the Haitian economy. We need a reconstruction plan that uses a pro-poor, rights-based approach far different from the charity and failed development approaches that have marred
interactions between Haiti and much of the rest of the world for the better part of two centuries." - Dr. Paul Farmer, U.N. Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti January 27, 2010
As international attention to Haiti begins to fade (see http://www.google.com/trends?q=haiti&date=2010-1 ), relief efforts continue, but reconstruction has hardly begun. Both African governments and African non-governmental leaders have launched fund-raising efforts for these long-term needs. But, as veteran
Partners in Health physician and other commentators note, the danger is that past dysfunctional patterns of international intervention will be repeated.
As Yash Tandon and other analysts warned in last week's issue of Pambazuka News (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/issue/467), what has happened and may happen in Haiti is "a microcosm of the crisis of development." It will be a test of capacity to respond not just to natural disaster, but to the man-made disasters that set the context and the capacity to respond to natural disasters.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains an appeal from the new "Africa for Haiti" coalition, excerpts from Dr. Farmer's testimony to the U.S. Senate, and a commentary by Monika Kalra Varma and Kerry Kennedy, of the RFK Center for Human Rights.
Another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today focuses on the urgent need to cancel Haiti's debt, as well as the role that debt has played in keeping Haiti in poverty for over two centuries.
Among other commentaries and background on Haitian reconstruction:
Amy Wilentz, "The Haiti Haters"
Letter to PJ Patterson, Caricom's representative to the Montreal Conference on Haiti, by Norman Girvan
Note by Jocelyn McCalla, Senior Advisor, Bureau of Haiti's Special Envoy to the UN, former Executive Director, National Coalition for Haitian Rights
http://jmcstrategies.com / direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/ya9dgo8
Official Website of Montreal Ministerial Conference on Haiti, January 25, 2010
direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/ycxwkgw