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ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL EXTENDS THE MANDATE OF THE AD HOC ADVISORY GROUP ON HAITI
Discusses Report of Joint Inspection Unit on Financing for Humanitarian Operations in the United Nations System
23 July 2013

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this afternoon adopted a resolution in which it extended the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti for a year after holding a general discussion on the long-term programme of support for Haiti.  The Council also discussed the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on financing for humanitarian operations in the United Nations system. 

In the resolution (E/2013/L.31), the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in July 2014, with the purpose of following closely and providing advice on the long-term development strategy of Haiti to promote socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability.  It requested the Advisory Group to submit a report on its work, with recommendations, as appropriate, to the Economic and Social Council for its consideration at its substantive session of 2014.

Martin Sajdik, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said that the Council had been following the situation in Haiti since 1999, and since 2004 had been apprised of the situation there annually by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.  Three years after the terrible earthquake of 2010, which killed over 200,000 people, the aid phase had given way to a development phase.  The key goals were to rebuild the institutions of Haiti and encourage investors in Haiti.  Political and social stability was vital.  Today’s meeting would assess progress in Haiti, examine the remaining barriers and explore how the Council could help meet the needs of Haiti. 

Giles Norman, speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, said that the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group gave an overview of political, social and economic progress made and challenges faced.  Reform was needed in areas such as land registration and financial systems in order to attract foreign investment, generate equitable growth and create jobs.  The report highlighted the risks of ‘donor fatigue’ as any failing by donors and development partners to fulfil their commitments would truly compromise the fragile progress made.  

Ramiz Alakbarov, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for the United Nations system organizations in Haiti (via video-link), referring to developments since the Ad Hoc Advisory Group’s last visit to Haiti, said politically the President had reiterated his commitment to conducting elections in the near future and a taskforce would be established to set up an electoral commission and oversee other bodies involved in the electoral process.  On 1 July, the relevant draft law had been tabled and the text would be submitted to parliament.  Ideally, this law should be adopted this month so that elections could be organized. 

Haiti, speaking during the general debate, commended the work done by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group.  There had been significant progress in reconstruction efforts and Haiti had achieved a significant performance with regards to key Millennium Development Goals.  Concerning efforts to fight cholera, mortality and infection rates had also decreased, and regarding the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary was a key element and the Government had set up a high judicial council.  The mobilization of resources for reconstruction and dealing with emergencies was still a crucial issue and Haiti was looking at alternatives; south-south cooperation had turned out to be crucial.

During the general debate, speakers commended the work of the Advisory Group and the progress made by Haiti.  Continued support and engagement of the international community and the United Nations on the ground would be necessary to ensure that there would be no setbacks to the progress made.  Speakers welcomed the plans for the upcoming elections and hoped that they would be carried out in a transparent and peaceful manner.  Improvements had been made regarding the situation of the cholera outbreak, and infection and mortality rates had decreased.  Among other issues of concern, participants highlighted the situation of internally displaced persons in the context of the forecasts for the cyclone season and the need to improve security and the rule of law

Speaking during the general debate on Haiti were Cuba on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Colombia, United States, Mexico, South Africa, Japan and Benin.

The Council this afternoon also heard the presentation of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on financing for humanitarian operations in the United Nations system.

Tadanori Inomata, Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system, presenting the report on financing for humanitarian operations, said that the review covered the entire universe of the funding mechanisms and sources of humanitarian operations in the United Nations system.  Problems concerned the proliferation of funding activities covering different types and phases of emergencies and related activities; co-mingling of development aid and humanitarian funding; and the blurred demarcation between humanitarian assistance and the use of military assets for the protection of civilians as well as the lack of coherent system-wide assessment, and evaluation and reporting procedures.

During the discussion on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, speakers noted that the United Nations ran diverse humanitarian operations and they welcomed the comprehensive report on financing those activities.  It was critical that the Consolidated Appeals Process not only generated a financial framework but also became a strategic assistance framework.  It was also indicated that greater clarity was required among the entities working on preparedness and disaster risk reduction, and that a diversity of funding mechanisms was critical to responding to disasters.

Speaking during the discussion on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit were Japan and the United States.

The Council then took note of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on “Financing for humanitarian operations in the United Nations system” (A/67/867) and of an addendum to the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on “Financing for humanitarian operations in the United Nations system” (A/67/867/Add.1), which provides the views of organizations of the United Nations system on the recommendations made in the report.

The Council will resume its work on Wednesday 24 July, at 10 a.m. to discuss mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system under its agenda on coordination, programme and other questions, to be followed by a discussion on women and development.

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti (E/2013/90), which highlights the main findings of the Economic and Social Council’s Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti following its visits to Washington, D.C., and Haiti; describes the tangible progress observed in Haiti in the reconstruction process and in various socioeconomic sectors; and stresses the extreme vulnerability that the country continues to face and the need to carry out important reforms to sustain progress and translate them into long-term development.  The report covers areas in which there is a shared responsibility between the Haitian authorities and their development partners to create the conditions for the country to continue to improve.

Long-term Programme of Support for Haiti

Opening Remarks

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), said that ECOSOC had been following the situation in Haiti since 1999, and since 2004 had been apprised of the situation there annually by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.  Three years after the terrible earthquake of 2010, which killed over 200,000 people, the aid phase had given way to a development phase.  The key goals were to rebuild the institutions of Haiti and encourage investors in Haiti.  Political and social stability was vital.  Today’s meeting would assess progress in Haiti, examine the remaining barriers and explore how ECOSOC could help meet the needs of Haiti. 

GILES NORMAN, speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, presented draft resolution (E/2013/L31) entitled Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti and the Advisory Group’s report on behalf of a number of States, which renewed the Group’s mandate for another year and requested it to report to ECOSOC at its substantive session of 2014. 

Mr. Norman presented an overview of the report as requested in ECOSOC resolution 2012/32.  The report was based primarily on the Advisory Group’s visit to Haiti from 24 to 28 May 2013, its visit to Washington DC on 29 April 2013, and meetings with Haiti’s development partners throughout the year.  It gave an overview of political, social and economic progress made and challenges faced.  Progress made included the establishment of the External Aid Coordination Framework, chaired by the Prime Minister of Haiti, action on disaster preparedness, a better trained civil service, resettlement of 80 per cent of internally displaced persons from the earthquake, ongoing reconstruction, and improved infrastructure and sanitation facilities, crucial in the fight against cholera and other communicable diseases.  Reform was needed in areas such as land registration and financial systems in order to attract foreign investment, generate equitable growth and create jobs.  The report highlighted the risks of ‘donor fatigue’ as any failing by donors and development partners to fulfil their commitments would truly compromise the fragile progress made.  An appropriate international presence must continue in Haiti through MINUSTAH and the United Nations country office.  Haitian civil society could and should play a bigger role, the donor community must remain mobilized and the Haitian authorities must continue to develop the capacity to fully assume their responsibilities.  In summary, commitment and partnership remained the keys to success for Haiti.  

RAMIZ ALAKBAROV, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for the United Nations system organizations in Haiti (via video-link), referring to developments since the Ad Hoc Advisory Group’s last visit to Haiti, said politically the President had reiterated his commitment to conducting elections in the near future and a taskforce would be established to set up an electoral commission and oversee other bodies involved in the electoral process.  On 1 July, the relevant draft law had been tabled and the text would be submitted to parliament.  Ideally, this law should be adopted this month so that elections could be organized.  Logistical arrangements would take six months to take place and the United Nations in Haiti was calling for credible elections as a prerequisite for upholding constitutional continuity and the rule of law.  There were other aspects of institution building in Haiti in which the United Nations was involved, such as the training of the police force to ensure that it was in full strength by the end of 2016.  As indicated in the report, a survey showed some encouraging results and, on 9 July, the Health Minister had underlined results achieved, in particular in the area of maternal health, and a significant improvement in the provision of drinking.  In recent months, the number of internally displaced people living in camps had declined to 279,000 in June, which represented an overall reduction of around 80 per cent in the number of people and a decrease of 77 per cent in terms of the number of camps.

The Humanitarian Interim Coordinator had expressed concerns at the rights of displaced persons who were being forcefully evacuated, and a request had been made to the authorities to inquire into this situation.  Emergencies continued, such as humanitarian insecurity and cholera.  The United Nations was fully committed alongside the Government to prevention, supporting the national plan to eliminate cholera and to fill essential gaps.  The National Food Security Coordinator noted that half a million people were in a state of food insecurity in Haiti and there were difficulties concerning access to food in around 40 communes in the country; there were about 1.5 million of people in need and around half of them had received some aid, the situation could worsen if the harvest failed, particularly given the forecasts for the cyclone season.  The mid-way review of the humanitarian plan for Haiti had underlined a number of needs including the relocation of people in camps as well as dealing with the cholera epidemic.  The Prime Minister had reiterated Haiti’s commitment and support for resilience and gender, and a process of regular consultations with different bodies and individuals had begun.  Work was underway to focus on thematic and sectoral matters and large consultation processes with a number of stakeholders had been part of the budgetary process.  The Ad Hoc Advisory Group, during its visit to Haiti, had also met with civil society representatives and heard their expectations, and the United Nations had expressed its support for the participatory process which was part of the roadmap.  In order to ensure sustainable progress, efforts should be pursued in job creation, access to services, security and the rule of law.  

KATYNA ARGUETA, Deputy Programme Director at the United Nations Development Programme Office in Haiti, took the floor to say that Mr. Alakbarov had given such a comprehensive statement there was nothing else for her to add.

General Discussion

Cuba, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had played a key role in the remarkable progress made in Haiti following the earthquake of 2010.  The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States supported Haiti by contributing most of the military and police personnel to MINUSTAH, as well as via bilateral channels.  The priority sectors in Haiti were energy, employment, rule of law, strengthening of State institutions, education, environment, eradication of hunger and extreme poverty, health, agriculture and infrastructure. 

Haiti commended the work done by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, which was an important mechanism capable of keeping the question of Haiti on the agenda of the international community.  There had been significant progress in reconstruction efforts and Haiti had achieved a significant performance with regards to key Millennium Development Goals.  From the point of view of humanitarian efforts, measures implemented had meant that over 1 million people had been re-housed since the earthquake in 2010.  Concerning efforts to fight cholera, mortality and infection rates had also decreased.  Concerning the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary was a key element and the Government had set up a high judicial council.  Training for the judiciary and an increase in the number of prisons, as well as measures countering long periods of preventive detention had been implemented.  A number of civil servants had been arrested and charged for corruption offences.  The mobilization of resources for reconstruction and dealing with emergencies was still a crucial issue and Haiti was looking at alternatives.  South-south cooperation had turned out to be crucial to help counter the vulnerability of the country to natural disasters.  Real synergy between external and local actors was needed to keep Haiti on the path of development.  

Brazil said that the chief challenge in Haiti was the holding of local and legislative elections as soon as possible, the importance of which could not be overstated.  The legitimacy to be conferred by the pending elections was absolutely key in the fight against poverty and to advance the rule of law and the promotion of investment, which were aspects at the core of Brazil’s collective support to Haiti.  Brazil commended the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for its community violence reduction programme.  Brazilian solidarity towards Haitian development and sovereignty was deep-rooted and longstanding. 

Dominican Republic said following the devastating earthquake of 2010, in which hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and homes, they welcomed long-term sustainable programmes to support Haiti’s rebuilding.  The important work carried out by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was commended.  The Dominican Republic emphasized that their sister country of Haiti was the only least developed country in Latin America, and was extremely vulnerable not only economically and politically but also to other natural disasters such as hurricanes.  Capacity building needed to be developed to prevent threats to Haiti from the reduction of international aid. 

Colombia recalled that the question of Haiti had received the highest priority and thanked the Ad Hoc Advisory Group’s work that had achieved significant progress and implemented measures to address the multifaceted problems faced by Haiti.  The implementation of the strategic plan required sustained funding and to reduce support to Haiti at this stage would jeopardise progress achieved so far.  Colombia was committed to promoting actions that would have a long-term impact oriented to attending to the most urgent needs of the population; areas of cooperation included agriculture, the environment and public policy. 

United States said that support for Haiti remained one of its foreign policy priorities and appreciated the role played by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group to elevate concern for Haiti.  The United Nations and the United States had worked to help Haiti improve its emergency response capabilities, improving risk assessments and intergovernmental cooperation.  The United States supported major and diverse economic projects throughout Haiti and not just Port-au-Prince.  Challenges to Haiti’s internal security continued to exist and efforts to train national police would be key.  Greater cooperation among Haiti, the United Nations and development partners was necessary.

Mexico said, as promised in its 2010 commitments, Mexico’s partnership with and contributions to Haiti were a national priority, with key areas being education, health, agriculture and social and economic development.  For example, Mexico had built 16 market places, training centres and a holistic health care institution.  Government support ranged from humanitarian aid to medicine to technical assistance.  Further assistance efforts had been shared with countries such as Japan, Chile and Spain, and Mexico was part of the ‘Friends of Haiti’ Group within the United Nations system. 

South Africa urged the international community to continue to provide financial support to Haiti as the country still faced many challenges, particularly the bureaucratic processes involved when channelling assistance through certain implementing agencies to Haiti, which was a stumbling block.  In view of that South Africa was exploring alternative options in terms of providing assistance to Haiti.  Overall, South Africa supported the resolution and recommendations in the report, as well as any initiatives aimed at assisting the developmental process in Haiti.

Japan said it had extended assistance to Haiti in key areas such as security, food aid, building hospitals and providing vital medical equipment; construction materials had been used to ensure the functionality of key departments after disasters.  Japan had also collaborated with the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations country team on the ground and would continue to provide support to Haiti, focusing on health, hygiene and education, so that development in Haiti could be sustainable in the long term.

Benin said the fact that elections would be held very soon demonstrated the maturity of the situation in the country and hoped that the elections would take place in a peaceful manner.  Benin expressed concern about the situation of displaced persons, especially in the context of the cyclone season, and noted that requests had been made to ensure their protection.  Investment programmes in some regions had allowed for the development of a protection infrastructure.

Action on Resolution on Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti

In a resolution on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti (E/2013/L.31), the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in July 2014, with the purpose of following closely and providing advice on the long-term development strategy of Haiti to promote socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability; requests the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, in accomplishing its mandate, to continue to cooperate with the Secretary-General and his Special
Representative for Haiti and the Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in
Haiti, the United Nations Development Group, relevant United Nations funds and programmes and specialized agencies, the international financial institutions, regional organizations and institutions; and also requests the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti to submit a report on its work, with recommendations, as appropriate, to the Economic and Social Council for its consideration at its substantive session of 2014.

The resolution was adopted.

Statement by Haiti Following the Adoption of the Resolution

Haiti thanked all delegations that had expressed support for the work of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group and demonstrated the commitment of their countries to continue supporting Haiti.

Documentation

The Council has before it a note by the United Nations Secretary-General containing the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on “Financing for humanitarian operations in the United Nations system” (A/67/867); and an addendum to the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (A/67/867/Add.1), which provides the views of organizations of the United Nations system on the recommendations made in the report.

Presentation of the Report of the Joint Inspection Unit on Financing for Humanitarian Operations in the United Nations System

TADANORI INOMATA, Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system, presenting the report on financing for humanitarian operations, said that the review covered the entire universe of the funding mechanisms and sources of humanitarian operations in the United Nations system.  While a number of reform initiatives and new mechanisms, including the expansion of the Central Emergency Response, had led to improvements, there were a number of gaps and duplications of efforts, deriving principally from the growing number of multiple channels and mechanisms of financing such as Emergency Response Funds, pooled funds such as Common Humanitarian Funds, and Multi-Donor Trust Funds funded by a number of key donors at the country level.  The problems were concerned with the proliferation of funding activities covering different types and phases of emergencies and related activities; co-mingling of development aid and humanitarian funding; and the blurred demarcation between humanitarian assistance and the use of military assets for the protection of civilians as well as the lack of coherent system-wide assessment, and evaluation and reporting procedures.

The report contained eight key strategic recommendations, six of them were addressed to the Secretary-General, including ensuring that the Consolidated Appeal Process was developed as an instrument to provide a strategic financial planning framework, to enable all humanitarian actors with common evidence-based needs assessments; increasing reporting, transparency and accountability on the use of military assets; establishing a systematic and impartial process and procedure to convene and organize relief and reconstruction conferences; establishing system-wide guidelines on the establishment, replenishment and provision of emergency and recovery funds; promoting the development of harmonised humanitarian portfolio databases at the country level; and supporting the establishment of joint management units in each country. 

The report made two recommendations for the consideration of the General Assembly.  The General Assembly should mandate the Secretary-General with support of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to present a proposal on a set of good humanitarian funding principles through advocating a soft earmarking and participatory approach; and that the General Assembly, on the basis of a report by the Secretary-General, should adopt a capacity building policy to assist disaster-affected countries in developing national insurance schemes.  Finally, Mr. Inomata also briefed delegations on good practices identified in the field visits to Haiti and which had led to the recommendations in the report.

General Discussion

Japan said the United Nations ran diverse humanitarian operations and welcomed the comprehensive report on financing those activities.  Recommendation 1 of the report was important as it said the Consolidated Appeals Process was an instrument to generate a strategic financial framework.  It was critical that processes not only generated a financial framework but also became a strategic assistance framework.  In addition, when establishing systematic management of resources, it was important that the views of the field and Headquarters were well communicated to each other. 

United States applauded efforts by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to communicate global humanitarian appeals, which had for the first time provided host governments, donors and humanitarian actors with a more complete sense of the financial requirements required by a situation.  The Central Emergency Response Fund was a vital tool which the United States contributed to annually.  The United States urged all humanitarian actors to fully implement their activities to ensure greater accountability, most of all to beneficiaries.  Greater clarity was required among the entities working on preparedness and disaster risk reduction.  A diversity of funding mechanisms was critical in responding to disasters.

The Economic and Social Council took note of a note by the United Nations Secretary-General containing the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on “Financing for humanitarian operations in the United Nations system” (A/67/867); and an addendum to the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on “Financing for humanitarian operations in the United Nations system” (A/67/867/Add.1), which provides the views of organizations of the United Nations system on the recommendations made in the report.


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ECOSOC13/034E


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