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Neil Watkins, ActionAid USA, 202-370-9919
Haitians Excluded From Decisions on Rebuilding After Earthquake
WASHINGTON - March 31 - Ordinary Haitians are being excluded from decisions about how best to rebuild their country after January's devastating earthquake, ActionAid said ahead of an international donors meeting in New York today (Wednesday).
Local organizations and community representatives were not adequately consulted on a draft assessment produced for the donors meeting to be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan and around 100 donor nations.
The document - the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) - was drafted by 300 experts in order to help the government come up with a recovery plan which informs donors how much money is needed to rebuild Haiti and what the funds should be spent on. The government estimates that $11.5 billion is needed to rebuild the country.
Myra de Bruijn, ActionAid Haiti Programme and Policy Manager, said: "This document has been developed mainly by and for Haiti's international partners rather than local people. It was rushed through for the donor conference and only individual experts participated as opposed to organizations. In general the humanitarian coordination system has been very problematic for local organizations as documents are mainly in English and meetings are difficult to access.
"The process of drawing up the plan was not transparent and did not involve consultation with ordinary people. ActionAid is concerned about the sustainability of such a long term strategy that is not carried out by and for the Haitian people."
ActionAid backs a statement made earlier in March by several Haitian organizations and social movements which said there was a need to construct a new inclusive model for development.
Building on this, ActionAid calls on the Haitian government and international donors to make sure there is a full partnership with local organizations and agencies in the design and implementation of the plan as well as in the monitoring and evaluation process. This means everything must be translated into local languages and there must be transparent and participatory decision-making processes. ActionAid also calls on international donors at the conference to pledge the full amount of funds needed for reconstruction.
ActionAid has worked in Haiti since 1997. Since the earthquake ActionAid and its local partners have helped more than 20,000 people with emergency relief and longer term recovery and is aiming to help 100,000 people by July.