Democracy That Delivers
Global Leadership for Haiti Reconstruction

Global Leadership for Haiti Reconstruction

Global Leadership for Haiti’s Reconstruction 

Bandera Unión EuropeaA Club de Madrid Initiative implemented with the financial support of the European Union

On January 12th, 2010 at 16:53 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti’s capital and its surroundings. The catastrophe triggered massive solidarity from all over the world. The relief and emergency aid received provided for shelter, water, food and health for many of the victims. As a result major epidemics were avoided. The promised development aid from the international community will be instrumental in the future reconstruction of the country. But only a strong institutional infrastructure will allow for a resilient State that, following the initial support of the international community, can provide on its own for the needs and aspirations of its citizens.  

This Club de Madrid initiative makes available to Haiti’s political, social and economic leadership the wealth of governance experience embodied in its membership (75 former heads of state and government from over 50 countries) to support the strengthening of the Haitian State. The members of the Club de Madrid have the governance experience that can support the institutional reconstruction of the country that is essential for its physical rebuilding and socio-economic regeneration. While working in coordination with the international community, the project is determined to make this a Haitian-owned endeavour, supporting its leadership where they demand.

 “What Haiti needs now is a supporting arm of a companion on which it can lean as it gets back on its feet”.

Edmond Mulet, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General

Immediately after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, the pressing need was to satisfy the vital needs of the victims - food, water, shelter and emergency health care. The international community quickly responded, addressing the urgent task of rescuing and alleviating the suffering of survivors and disposing of the dead. These needs continue to be addressed and will be present for years to come, but Haiti also needs massive and sustained support at various levels in the medium and long term.

Haiti’s institutions were weak before the disaster struck and, weak as they were, they have now been practically decimated (17% of government workforce was lost in the earthquake). The Haitian State suffered a severe lack of mid-level management even before the quake, and many of those who were in place, have either died or have been reassigned to different functions.

When international attention typically and inevitably shifts to another crisis, a conscientious and sustained effort must be made for Haiti to remain on the international agenda. It must not be left alone to reconstruct a State capable of governing and institutions capable of providing the services citizens need. But recovery will take decades and key Haiti political leaders would benefit from political and moral support as well as counseling on how to best build sustainable institutions that can lead the reconstruction sustain their efforts.

Global Leadership for Haiti’s Reconstruction is the Club de Madrid response to Haiti’s suffering and contribution to its future. Through missions to Haiti that make available to Haitian leadership the governance and governing experience of its members; or in between missions by advocating for effective and efficient international support to Haiti’s recovery, this 18-month Club de Madrid initiative brings to the Haitian authorities peer advice and support when it is most needed.

"C’est d’ailleurs la vocation du Club de Madrid que d’agir dans le monde pour la démocratie, non pas par la force -une force que nous ne détenons d’ailleurs pas – mais par les idées et par le dialogue".

Lionel Jospin

Club de Madrid Members are uniquely positioned to support and lend independent, practical, strategic leadership experience to Haitian leaders heading a transitional environment process, which will allow them to pilot the physical and institutional reconstruction, described by Haitian leaders as an opportunity to ‘refound’ the State. The Club de Mad  works with the Haitian authorities and key stakeholders to accompany the country’s leadership finding solutions on the most important matters with the fullest possible consultation with civil society as well as official political bodies to allow for the construction of a viable, modern, democratic State, respectful of the rule of law, and help strengthen the social, economic, and political stability and viability of Haiti in the medium and long-term.

 “Democracy, human rights, security, governance and sustainable development are intrinsically linked. They are a prerequisite for government accountability and transparency, to sustain independent judiciary, free media and a framework for protecting human rights. They are also the most basic form of crisis management and conflict prevention”.

High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the EU on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy. Sept 15

 In coordination with the Haitian authorities, five areas of work have been identified for this initiative:

  • Elections and electoral processes;
  • Increased effectiveness and efficiency of international community engagement;
  • Socio-economic environment for the economic and business development of the country;
  • Strengthening of political parties and party leaders; and
  • Hand over from the Interim Commission to the Haitian-led Authority.

While emergency assistance, the reconstruction of physical infrastructure and the reestablishment of social services are all vital, political reconstruction cannot lag behind, particularly if development, political stability and the sustainability of both are to be attained. Leading political reconstruction and facilitating the consensus that would allow for that reconstruction to hold while creating the basis for the State the Haitians envision, is a daunting challenge that can benefit from the experience of leaders who have headed similar processes.

Reconstruccion Haiti

This initiative focuses on preparing Haitian political leadership for the long term process, when most of the current attention will not be available. At that critical period the Club de Madrid would give the reconstruction process additional international political support and scrutiny, particularly useful in terms of accountability and sustainability.

Ownership of the project and its goals by local actors is not only essential for the achievement of the project objectives, but also the most effective approach to ensure their sustainability. While staying within its natural niche of political leadership support, and focusing its activities on supporting Haitian leadership, the project engages as full partners with the key actors and stakeholders in each of the five topics it aims to address.

The project directly benefits Haitian leaders and representatives of different target groups, and indirectly the Haitian people, as it contributes to strengthening institutional architecture, improve international support’s delivery, development and political opportunities for Haitians.

 “State-building is intimately connected with politics. Without executive decisiveness and legislative action, state-building cannot proceed. Thus, a considerable burden rests on the shoulders of Haiti’s political leaders, who will need to rise to the challenge of overcoming a history of fractiousness, patronage, and indecision. Donors and international organizations can help ease that burden by promoting political consensus and encouraging adherence to strategic plans”.

Building a More Resilient Haitian State. RAND Corporation


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