|Caroline Anstey is the World Bank's Country Director for the Caribbean. Here's what she said about Haiti's needs and the donors' conference.
|Caroline Anstey, World Bank|
Country Director for the Caribbean
What is the purpose of the conference?
Haiti's needs are immense and pressing. The two-day conference will give the Government, donors, civil society, the private sector and the international community a chance to discuss the Government's two year program and mobilize finance to support it.
What role is the interim government playing in this process?
The Interim Cooperation Framework, which outlines Haiti's urgent and medium-term needs over the next two years , was prepared by the government with support from the United Nations, the European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank and representatives from 26 agencies. The recommendations of the ICF were discussed at several workshops organized by the government and including political parties, civil society, and local authorities in Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, Gonaives and Cap Haitian.
What expectations does the donor community have for the interim government?
The interim government is made up of technocrats who have agreed not to run in the next presidential election. As a result, they are much freer to embrace a reform agenda.
In this respect, and although the interim government will only be in power until early 2006, many in the international donor community feel that the next two years present a window of opportunity for the government to put in place the economic, political and institutional reforms that will pave the way for the country's recovery and sustainable development.
What is unique about the Interim Cooperation Framework?
The level of government ownership, leadership and involvement in putting together this needs assessment report has been unique. Each thematic or sectoral group was led by a government representative with participation by multilateral and bilateral donors and international agencies. This is a Haitian document. The other key aspect of the framework is its results-focus. When the report outlines the objective of creating 44,000 jobs, or imunizing children, for example, there is a timetable for meeting those objectives in six month intervals up until September 2006. With the participation of some 30 international agencies, this exercise provides a unique opportunity for closer donor coordination.
How will the program be implemented?
Donor support will be channeled to projects and programs outlined in the ICF to be implemented by Government agencies and non-governmental organizations.Civil society, donors and the Government will also come together in an oversight and monitoring committee to make sure the program stays on track and hold both the donors and the government accountable.
What have the World Bank and other donors learned from the previous engagement in Haiti?
There are many lessons we can all draw from past engagement. On the donors side, too little co-ordination of aid, too much over-lap, insufficient results-focus, not enough attention paid to issues of absorptive or institutional capacity, or to monitoring the program .On the government side too little committment to political and economic governance, not nearly enough transparency or accountability. The international community and donors have now spent a lot of time discussing these lessons and the ICF tries to address them. Perhaps the two overarching lessons are that security is essential to effective development, and that aid to Haiti must be there for the long-haul. That is something all donors have acknowledged and something, of course, that didn't happen in the past. But the Government and donors also recognize that for the donors to stay engaged aid must be used wisely and transparently. This has to be a two-way street.