Haitian civil society organisations’ declaration on the Interim Cooperation Framework process
14 June 2004
The undersigned organisations met in Port-au-Prince on 11 June 2004 to begin to analyse the documents and proposals produced in the ongoing Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF) process. The drafting of the ICF, agreed at the 23 March Washington DC meeting and confirmed at the meeting between the interim government of Haiti and the aid donors on 22 April, aims, according to the official documentation, « to constitute the basis of a national development programme covering our country’s priority needs in the short and medium term. »
More than 180 Haitian and foreign high level experts, divided up into 16 thematic groups, were mobilised to prepare documents addressing the state of play and proposing urgent interventions. The final document will eventually be submitted for financing at a conference which will take place in Washington DC on 19 July which will decide the allocations to be disbursed to various prioritised projects and programmes.
1. We note the following:
1.1 Despite the good technical aspect of certain documents produced, notably in the fields of road infrastructure, the environment, and women’s affairs, too few government officials (Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Secretary of State for the Environment) opened up a distribution of the produced texts with a view to creating a process of consultation and agreement.
1.2 The whole exercise is taking place in the context of an increasing loss of sovereignty. The supervision of our country is being undertaken in the framework of a long-term military occupation. This unacceptable situation is the result of a long process of the deterioration of our institutions and collapse of State structures which has been accelerated by the application of neo-liberal-inspired policies over the course of the last 25 years and by the instability linked to an interminable political crisis.
1.3 The process of drafting the ICF is controlled by external actors with the complicity of the current government in the framework of a technocratic approach. This excludes all real participation of the majority and vulnerable sectors of our country which have always been ignored in decision-making processes concerning the country’s future.
1.4 The ICF is going to become the interim government’s programme for the next two years but, up until now, the Alexandre/Latortue government (with the exception of the Ministries of Agriculture and of Public Health) has not informed the country of the main elements of its general policy that will define its principal approach over the course of its remaining 18 month mandate. This lack of information is all the more worrying in the context of the absence of a Parliament. We drew everyone’s attention to the fact that the next 18 months constitute a decisive stage for our country’s future, and for the viability of a real process of national reconstruction.
1.5 The content of the draft documents and summaries that we looked at on 11 June 2004 reveal:
a) an absence of a national vision, and a vision dominated by formulas inspired by neo-liberalism;
b) a complete silence on crucial aspects notably concerning economic policy and the country’s overall development model;
c) a technical approach which bases itself on prolonging the traditional option of a dependent State which ignores the priority social needs of our country’s poor and majority sectors;
d) superficial solutions in response to the problem of the abject poverty which effects two-thirds of our country’s citizens.We note, for example, the ICF process’ weak linkage with the work of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers;
e) too little attention paid to the problems effecting producers from the peasant sector which has traditionally been marginalized by the public investment – the same goes for the proposals elaborated around the question of food security;
f) no coherent vision linked to a preferential option in favour of a plan to strengthen national production as called for by numerous sectors for years;
g) the decision to privatise the Electricity Company (EDH), the Port-au-Prince Water Board (CAMEP), the Telephone Company (TELECO), the Airport Authority (AAN) and the Port Authority (APN) with probably disastrous effects in a country characterised by the weak purchasing power of more than 80% of users and potential consumers;
h) insufficient attention paid in certain areas to the crucial questions of reinforcing and strengthening the structure and capacity of the State. Many of the recommended measures can even reinforce the process of weakening State structures. At the same time, we realise we have a double responsibility to dismantle the traditional oligarchic State and to build a completely different State capable of shaping national development;
i) no specific convincing strategy taken into account by the various thematic groups concerning the sectors called upon to play a key role in all serious processes with national relevance: youth, women, shanty-town residents, informal sector workers, older people, small and medium size enterprises, amongst others.
2.- We are particularly alarmed by the fact that:
2.1 The ICF drafting process is taking place in a pseudo-colonial framework.
2.2 The ICF is developing without any concern for transparency. Important sums of money of around US$2million have been spent to gather together the ICF experts for a short period of a few weeks, and next to nothing has been allocated for a credible consultation process. The three so-called regional consultation meetings planned to date don’t really respect the bare minimum requirements for a serious consultation (distribution of documents in advance, a transparent and representative participation, publicising the progress reports, etc.), and will take place in the framework of a limited and partial invitation. These meetings (Gonaives, Cayes, Cap-Haitien) can in no way be considered as a valid process of consultation.
2.3 The ICF constitutes an instrument which reinforces the structures and forms of the existing power structure. It risks aggravating the suffering of the most excluded and exploited sectors, accelerating the process of the destruction of our nation, and putting a brake on the necessary ruptures that it is imperative we make with the current system dominated by an oligarchic State and economic structures based on financial speculation and the suffering of chronically disarticulated sectors.
2.4 The proposals elaborated concern the short, medium, and perhaps the long term. The range of these proposals requires that these choices be discussed within a framework which takes into account the various sensitivities and the needs of various sectors and areas of the country.
2.5 The ICF process ignores the multiple efforts to draft communal and local plans that have taken place over the years, and which led to realistic proposals and changes that were carried out (for example all that occurred in the North-East concerning the experiments with decentralisation and the production of durable local development plans).
3. Our proposals:
3.1 That the basic document produced by the ICF be widely distributed in Creole to and by grassroots organisations and networks so that they are able to make informed choices.
3.2 That an inter-sector group be set up charged with establishing oversight and advocacy concerning the ICF and all drafting processes for political policies which have an impact on the future of our country. The analysis and proposals of the ICF do not correspond to the positions of our organisations and networks. We must finish with the practices of exclusion which are the root cause of the fragility of our institutions, and which make it impossible to implement on a firm base responsible decisions concerning our country’s future.
3.3 That various sectors speak out publicly about the ICF and encourage a real national debate on development options. We ask the Council of Wise People to speak out publicly on the content and preparation of the ICF. The political parties, and the decentralised local councils, also have a responsibility on this matter.
3.4 That a process based on a participatory methodology is established with a view to producing an alternative development plan. This plan must highlight the priority of mobilising national resources and savings – including those assets recovered within the framework of a serious campaign against corrupt – and will be centred on the priority needs of the majority sectors of the nation.
3.5 That a process be started to relaunch the vitally important popular movement, in particular by the creation of a space for debates and dialogue about the redefinition of economic options and the reconfiguration of the political and cultural institutions with the aim of a genuine re-birth of our nation.
Authorised by: Marie Eveline Larrieux – SOFA (Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen), Camille Chalmers – PAPDA(Plate-forme haitienne de plaidoyer pour un Developpement Alternatif), Joseph Georges – SAKS (Sosyete Animasyon ak Kominikasyon Sosyal), Signed by representatives of : COZPAM, Plateforme des organisations communautaires de la zone metropolitaine de Port-au-Prince, CRAD (Centre de Recherches Actions pour le Developpement), UNNOH (Union Nationale des Normaliens Haitiens), REFRAKA, MODEPS, RACPABA (Rezo Asosyasyon Kooperativ pou Komes ak Pwodwi Agrikol Ba Latibonit), KOREGA (Koodinasyon Oganizasyon Rejyonal Grandans), KIPEP (Komite Inisyativ pou Pwomosyon Entere Pemanan Pep Ayisyen), TET KOLE TI PEYIZAN, CADOR, CHANDEL, RECOCARNO (Reseau des Cooperatives Cafeieres de la Region Nord), GTIH, FANM YO LA, Caisse populaire de Saint Gerard, APROSIFA (Asosyasyon pou Promosyon Sante entegral Fanm), KAY FANM, FONDESSA (Fondation pour le developpement de Dessalines), KROS (Kodinasyon Rejyonal Oganizasyon Sides), OPCA, PAJ (Programme Alternatif de Justice), COOPCA (Federasyon kooperativ Belans), ITEKA (Institi Tekonoloji ak Animasyon), ANDAH (Association Nationale des Agro-professionnels Haitiens), SEDREL, APKAB (Asosyasyon Pwodikte Kooperativ Kafe Belans), RAJES (Rasanbleman Jen Savanette), POHDH (Plateforme des organisations haitiennes des Droits Humains), FANM SAJ, OGANIZASYON POPILE GRANMOUN, AMEN / PEJEFE, SAJ VEYE YO, FANM DESIDE, KNFP (Konsey Nasyonal Finansman Popile), UMHA (Union des medecins haitiens), GHRAP (Groupe Haitien de Recherches et d’Actions Pedagogiques), VEDEK (Viv Espwa pou Devlopman Kapwouj), ENFOFANM, KLK (Komite Leve Kanpe), RDP (Regroupman Demokratik Popile)
(Translated from French by Charles Arthur for the Haiti Support Group)