Let me offer, as one example of the difficult relations between Haiti and the international community (and an echo of the nineteenth-century machinations I discussed in my last testimony before this committee), the donor conference I attended here in Washington last April. It was one of only two donor conferences I have ever attended, the second being in Montreal earlier this week. The results of the first are noteworthy and worrisome: despite $402 million pledged to support the Haitian government’s Economic Recovery Program, when the country was trying to recover from a series of natural disasters resulting in a 15% reduction of GDP, it is estimated that a mere $61 million have been disbursed.5 In the Office of the Special Envoy, we have been tracking the disbursement of pledges, and as of yesterday we estimate that 85% of the pledges made last year remain undisbursed.
Many of us worry that, if what’s past is prologue, Haitians themselves will be blamed for this torpor. But as we have argued before, there are serious problems in the aid machinery, and these have contributed to the “delivery challenges” on the ground.6 The aid machinery currently at work in Haiti keeps too much overhead for its operations and still relies overmuch on NGOs or contractors who do not observe the ground rules we would need to follow to build Haiti back better. The fact that there are more NGOs per capita in Haiti than in any other country in the hemisphere is in part a reflection of need, but also in part a reflection of overreliance on NGOs divorced from the public health and education sectors.
January 31, 2010
A short excerpt from Farmer's testimony:
Read the rest here.
Posted by Ryan Anderson at 9:41 AM