Español English French Kwéyol

Haiti Interim Cooperation Framework: what needs to change on 25 July 2006

Lack of contribution in economic recovery (particularly in agriculture) and in civil society participation from 2004 to 2006 is a fundamental point noted by the Europe-Haiti Coordination (Coordination Europe-Haiti - CoE-H), that presented an analysis of progress and shortcomings in Haiti Interim Cooperation Framework

By the Coordination Europe-Haiti - CoE-H

Received by AlterPresse on July 20, 2006


Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid

Stefano Manservi, General Director, DG Development, European Commission

John Caloghirou, Head of Unity, DG Development

Lut Fabert-Goossens, DG Development

Bruno Montariol, EU Delegation, Haiti

18 July 2006

Dear Sirs,

In advance of the international donor conference on Haiti in Port-au-Prince on 25 July, I attach a brief analysis of the progress and shortcomings of the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF) for Haiti from the perspective of Coordination Europe-Haiti (CoE-H - a network of European NGOs) and our Haitian partner organisations.

Our paper focuses on two aspects of the ICF which particularly concern us:

· The ICF’s serious shortcomings with regard to economic recovery, particularly in agriculture. We refer to figures compiled by the Cellule du Coordination Strategique of the Haitian Prime Minister’s office in May 2006 which indicate that the agricultural sector has received 74% less funding than the original ICF plans had identified this sector would need. Rapid job creation received 87% less than identified in 2004.

Aside from quantity, our paper also questions the quality of ICF assistance. We assert that the ICF is a very piecemeal attempt at agricultural regeneration which has failed to address the twin issues of developing competitive agricultural supply chains and reducing Haiti’s huge dependence on food imports (accounting for 80% of its export earnings). We call on donors and the Haitian government to:

-  make economic recovery the area of focus for future donor engagement

-  formulate and invest in a coherent, sustainable agricultural development policy which reduces Haiti’s food imports, targets particular agricultural supply chains, and invests more in addressing Haiti’s severe environmental degradation.

· The lack of civil society participation in the ICF, from its inception through to implementation, monitoring and evaluation over the past two years. The poorest and most marginalized sectors of Haitian civil society - those who are supposed to benefit most from the ICF - have been completely absent from any consultation processes. We call on donors and the Haitian government to:

-  Carry out a participatory evaluation of the ICF

-  Create mechanisms for civil society engagement in the joint steering committee for implementation and follow-up of the ICF (COCCI)

-  Open up the dialogue between donors and the Haitian government to public scrutiny and disseminate information to Haitian civil society about the progress and implementation of the ICF.

Please do not hesitate to contact CoE-H if you have any queries relating to the attached paper. Your enquiries can be directed to myself or to: Alessandra Spalletta, Coordinator of CoE-H, Rue des Tanneurs 165, B 1000 Bruxelles, Tel: +32 2 213 04 18 Mob: +32 (0)486 647 612;

We thank you in advance for the attention paid to our important proposals.

Yours sincerely

Helen Collinson
Policy Officer, Latin America and the Caribbean
Christian Aid (UK)
Tel +44 1404 814078; mob: +44 (0)790 394 7782

On behalf of: Coordination Europe-Haiti (CoE-H),


Annabelle Hagon, DG AIDCO, European Commission

Jose Soler, DG AIDCO

Claude Mainge, DG AIDCO

Remo Vahl, DG Trade

Valerie Liang-Champrenault, French representation

Berbardo Desicart, Spanish representation

Antonio Bullon, Spanish representation

Markus Knauf, German representation

Rudolf Gridl, German representation

Simon Wells, British representation

Steve Williams, British representation

I Morgantini MEP,

Johann van Hecke MEP

Glyn Ford MEP

Glenys Kinnock MEP

Fiona Hall, MEP

Richard Howitt MEP

P Schapira MEP

P Verges MEP

J Trauffler MEP

B Melis, MEP

Coordination Europe-Haiti (CoE-H) is a network of European solidarity and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working directly with Haitian partner NGOs and grassroots movements. COE-H incorporates 60 organisations in 8 European countries: Belgium, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland. CoE-H works closely with Coordination Haiti-Europe (CoH-E) in Haiti, formed by Haitian NGOs to engage with European NGOs and the EU.

Interim Cooperation Framework: what needs to change

In advance of the forthcoming international donor conference in Port-au-Prince on 25 July 2006, the Europe-Haiti Coordination (Coordination Europe-Haiti - CoE-H) (1) presents to donors a brief analysis of the progress and shortcomings of the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF) through which donors have been contributing funds to Haiti since 2004.

Below, we have analysed not just the original plans and intentions of the ICF, but also the implementation of these plans over the past two years.

The ICF covers a range of development activities intended to address Haiti’s extreme poverty and promote stability and security for its citizens after years of violence and political turmoil. Donors developing the ICF in 2004 came up with four strategic axes for intervention over a transitional period (the ICF has now been extended to the end of 2007). These were:

· Strengthening political governance and promoting national dialogue
· Strengthening economic governance and contributing to institutional development
· Promoting economic recovery
· Improving access to basic services

This paper does not attempt to analyse progress in all of the above four axes. Instead, it focuses on two elements of the ICF where poor performance is of particular cause for concern to CoE-H and its Haitian partner organisations:

· The ICF’s serious shortcomings with regard to economic recovery, particularly in relation to agriculture

· The lack of civil society participation in the ICF, from its inception through to implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

This is not to suggest that other elements of the ICF are not equally important. We recognise, for example, that police and judicial reform and human rights protection are also crucial. Likewise access to basic services is key to poverty reduction in Haiti, including access to education on which Haiti’s future depends. Moreover, by focusing on the need for investment in agriculture and rural development, we do not deny that there are serious problems of urban deprivation that also need to be addressed urgently, not least in order to reduce the potential for violence. Nor do we wish to suggest that the ICF’s shortcomings are confined solely to economic recovery and to the lack of civil society participation.

We trust that greater transparency and participation in the formulation and implementation of national development plans in the future will enable Haitian civil society organisations and European NGOs alike to contribute their diverse experience and expertise to the whole range of sectors and issues.

I Haitian Economic Recovery and the Interim Cooperation Framework

The re-engagement of international donors in Haiti since 2004, under the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF), comes at a critical time and with enormous challenges for its economic recovery. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. According to recent poverty studies conducted in the country, an estimated 76 per cent of its 8.4 million population lives below the poverty line (on less than US$2 a day) while approximately 56 per cent lives in abject poverty (on less than US$1 a day). Rural areas are the worst affected with close to four fifths of Haiti’s extremely poor living outside the cities.

The Interim Cooperation Framework - original plans for economic recovery

Agriculture is one element identified as key within the ICF’s ‘economic recovery’ axis. This axis also includes macroeconomic stability, electricity, rapid job creation and microfinance, private sector development, roads and transportation and environmental protection and rehabilitation. Each of these has its own funding line and targets.

Alongside agricultural development and support for small and medium-size enterprises, the ICF states that the economic recovery programme will encourage the development of the tourism sector and free trade zones. At the time that the ICF was drawn up in 2004, a number of Haitian civil society organisations and international NGOs raised serious concerns about the focus on tourism and free trade zones. Their concerns stemmed from the fact that earlier attempts to develop these sectors had brought few benefits to Haiti’s poor.

Free trade zones. The number of jobs created in Haiti’s free trade zones has so far failed to impress and overall employment in the sector has been in decline since trade liberalization (around 30,000 jobs today compared to 60,000 in 1980). The quality of these jobs is also poor. The Ministry of Economy and Finance describes it as the sector with the least value added and the lowest annual wage, compared with other industries in the country.

Tourism. Haiti’s deficient infrastructure means that any strategy to address tourism is unlikely to be pro-poor. It will rely on significant amounts of foreign investment but provide a small number of poorly paid, low-skilled jobs, while profits will be transferred out of the country and the sector will rely to a large extent on imported inputs, with few links to the local economy.

Agriculture. Given the extremes of rural poverty, it is essential to address agricultural development. In Haiti seventy per cent of the population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture, mostly small-scale farming. The agricultural sector has suffered a dramatic decline in the last two decades. National production has fallen (both production for exports and the local market) and there has been a huge increase in food imports. While Haitian agriculture has traditionally suffered from many constraints (small size of landholdings, deforestation, lack of irrigation, storage, transport etc), there is no doubt that the recent trend of declining national production is also linked to trade liberalization. Haiti is one of the most open economies in the world and now spends 80% of its export earnings importing food.

In spite of this critical situation, there is little evidence of donors taking a strategic approach to agricultural regeneration, even though it was identified as a priority sector within the ICF’s economy recovery axis. Indeed, the approach to agriculture seems to epitomise the general lack of coherence in donor plans for Haiti. The focus is on punctual activities rather than improving the overall competitiveness of agricultural supply chains in Haiti. This is at odds with donor approaches to agricultural development in other countries, where it is standard practice to target particular supply chains, addressing key issues such as production, finance, distribution and marketing holistically for a given supply chain.

Within the ICF’s Economy Recovery axis, the main activities planned for agricultural development include:

· vaccination of livestock and disease control

· rehabilitation of rural roads, canals and irrigation pumps

· distribution of seeds and tool kits

· support for fruit farming and intensification of small livestock activities

· support for marketing and processing activities

· strengthening the capacity of the Ministry for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR)

In addition, the ICF’s agriculture plan fails to address the key issue of how competitive agricultural supply chains can be set up in Haiti when its economy is so open to imports. Given the fact that Haiti spends over 80 per cent of its export earnings on importing food, it is highly advisable - purely from a balance of payments perspective - that the Haitian government pursue a strategy to reduce food imports and replace them with national production. Addressing the competitiveness of supply chains of agricultural products sold in local markets is therefore critical and needs to be done in conjunction with a review of trade policy. However, this key issue is ignored in the ICF.

One major factor behind Haiti’s agricultural crisis is its extreme environmental degradation resulting from deforestation, soil erosion and unsustainable agricultural practices over many years, as the original ICF document acknowledged. Environmental degradation is also a key reason for Haiti’s particular vulnerability to floods and landslides. And yet less than 2% of ICF funds were pledged for environmental protection and rehabilitation in the budget drawn up in 2004.

Evaluating the progress of the ICF

In February 2006, donors meeting in Washington to discuss the ICF agreed that both an audit and an independent evaluation of the ICF should be conducted over subsequent months. To date, we have been unable to establish whether either the audit or the independent evaluation has been undertaken. Nor do we know what evaluations will inform the forthcoming ICF donor pledging conference on 25 July 2006.

Nevertheless, since 2004, several evaluations have been conducted of the ICF and various reports have been made publicly available.

In agriculture, these progress reports include the following achievements:

· small infrastructure projects undertaken - irrigation systems, rural roads, water conservation etc.

· support provided to fruit growers and livestock farmers

· distribution of 15 tons of seeds

· distribution and planting of 3.9 million plants (mangoes, papaya, bamboo)

· 3,500 farmers provided with seeds and tools after tropical storm Jeanne in September 2004

· local development plan completed for one commune

· 5 contracts signed to undertake civil works to strengthen the operations of the South Artibonite canal

· vaccination of livestock and disease control

· training of staff in the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR).

Such results reinforce the view that the ICF is a very piecemeal attempt at agricultural regeneration. These activities are unlikely to lead to the development of the productive potential of small farmers to allow them to compete on local and export markets.

It is also notable that the strengthening of MARNDR has received very little attention in practice, even though this was highlighted as a priority in the original ICF plans for the agricultural sector.

Actual spending on economic recovery compared to original plans

An analysis of the financial information relating to spending on economic recovery, including agriculture, indicates a major discrepancy between the ICF’s stated plans and their implementation. This is illustrated in the table in on p.7 compiled from:

-  the July 2004 Summary Report on the ICF, prepared by the World Bank, EU, UN and IDB which detailed the total needs in each sector and the percentage of funds needed in each sector

-  the figures on actual expenditure of ICF funds released by the Cellule de Coordination Strategique, located within the Prime Minister’s Office in Haiti in October 2005 and updated figures released by the same office in May 2006.

Economic recovery neglected

When donors were evaluating what was needed in Haiti in 2004, they identified economic recovery as the area which needed most funding. It was assessed as needing 38.5% of the total budget. But according to the figures released by the Prime Minister’s office in May 2006, in practice economic recovery has received the smallest share of funding (11.8%) of any of the four strategic axes in the ICF. Economic recovery got almost 80% less funding than it was thought to have needed in 2004, indicating that donors have made little concerted effort to stimulate economic regeneration in Haiti.

Within the economic recovery axis, every sector received vastly less than the ICF donors identified these sectors would need in 2004:

· environmental protection received 53% less than the already paltry amount originally allocated to this line item
· agriculture received 74% less
· rapid job creation received 87% less
· micro-finance and private sector development received 83% less.

Given this discrepancy between funds needed and funds disbursed, it is not surprising that no targets have been met with regard to job creation and micro-finance, according to the Prime Minister’s office.

Over-spend on food aid

Of the four strategic axes in the ICF, only one has seen an over-spend against the budget based on the needs originally identified. This is the access to basic services axis, where the over-spend is due to much higher amounts being spent on food security and on humanitarian aid. For obvious reasons, it is difficult to accurately anticipate humanitarian spending as it depends on the nature and frequency of emergencies that arise (tropical storm Jeanne in September 2004, for example).

Nevertheless, the huge overspend on food security is particularly notable. It was thought to need $1.8 million (mainly to set up monitoring systems and to support the National Food Security Coordination or Coordination Nationale de Securite Alimentaire - CNSP) and ended up receiving over $76 million. This aid was largely from the US and arrived in the form of food aid. It is notable that food aid was not included by donors in the original ICF resource allocation plans. It has been included in the figures for ICF disbursements retrospectively, thereby distorting and inflating the total amount reported to have been disbursed through the ICF.

The ICF and debt payments

In the table on p. 6, it is worth paying attention to the line item under ‘other themes’ which relates to external arrears clearance. This received 5.8% of ICF funds - a larger proportion than was spent on several sectors identified as priorities in the ICF plans (security, police and DDR, electricity, job creation, agriculture and roads each received a much smaller proportion of funds).

This expenditure covers overdue debt service. It means that a sizeable proportion of donor financing is going towards paying Haiti’s arrears, mainly to the World Bank and the IDB, rather than towards Haiti’s development. It should be remembered that of Haiti’s total debt burden, between 45 and 49 per cent is estimated to stem from loans to the Duvalier family and is classified as odious debt conferred on corrupt leaders. The fact that there has been a refusal to address the odious nature of Haiti’s debt continues to impact on the development potential of the country. Economic regeneration loses out while arrears are paid by international donors into donors’ accounts.


The Prime Minister’s office in its evaluation report of the ICF in October 2005 stated that although there are some achievements, progress can only be classified as minimal and positive effects on the quality of life of the population are barely perceptible. The bureaucratic procedures which significantly delay disbursements and the lack of coordination within the government are key factors behind the lack of progress. But a lack of political will to tackle Haiti’s huge economic problems has also been a major obstacle. The new government clearly recognises that economic recovery has been neglected. In June 2006 it announced the creation of a Social Appeasement Programme (PAS) for each of the country’s communes (partly funded by the ICF), designed to respond to the pressing needs of Haiti’s poorest citizens in the short term. We trust this Programme will start to reverse the poor progress of the last two years.

Recommendations for donors and the Haitian government with regard to economic recovery

In their discussions and agreements with the Haitian government over the use of donor funds in Haiti, donors should take heed of the following recommendations:

· Economic recovery should be the area of focus for future donor engagement, given the paltry engagement in Haiti’s economic regeneration to date and the amount of regeneration needed.

· Serious investment in a coherent agricultural development policy is needed to raise the productivity of small farmers and reduce the alarmingly high levels of poverty in the country. Donors must give agriculture one of the highest priorities within economic recovery work and critically must actually disburse the funds promised to the sector.

· A coherent agricultural development policy must be developed. A central element of this policy must be the reduction of Haiti’s trade deficit and, therefore, its food imports. The aim should be to gradually replace imports by promoting national production. Such a strategy must be implemented gradually so as not to penalise urban consumers.

· The agricultural development plan should identify and target particular agricultural supply chains - particularly those supplying local markets - and work to build the competitiveness and capacity of local producers and businesses.

· To ensure a pro-poor focus is maintained, one of the key criteria for support should be that small farmers and small businesses benefit directly throughout the chain. The development of agro-businesses should complement such strategies, not replace them.

· Training and capacity building of staff in the MANRDR needs to receive greater attention. Likewise there needs to be greater investment in training and building the capacity of poor agricultural producers at a grassroots level.

· Given the extent of environmental degradation in Haiti, more investment in environmental protection and rehabilitation is needed. A failure to do so could cancel out the benefits of other investments in agriculture.

· The pressing issue of Haitian debt must be addressed. Donors should agree to immediately cancel the odious debt portion, to halt debt service payments and to apply a moratorium of 10-15 years while a full audit of the remaining debt takes place.

II Civil society and the Interim Cooperation Framework

When donors first met in Washington in July 2004 to discuss the International Coordination Framework, civil society organizations (CSOs) emphasised to donors the absolute necessity of an inclusive process for the development and implementation of the ICF. They asserted that this process should be opened up to a wide range of civil society actors in Haiti, including the poorest sectors of the population. Haiti’s poor, it was argued, should be indispensable contributors to national development plans as they are the ones who are supposed to benefit most from such plans.

At first, the ICF process was considered a window of opportunity for the revitalization of the political and economic transition in Haiti. Accordingly, several proposals were put forward by civil society organizations participating in working groups at the Washington conference. The response of those leading the ICF process was that CSOs’ proposals would be taken into account and that the ICF was to be a “living document†based on inclusive and participatory planning and implementation processes.

The reality

Despite these declarations, NGOs participating in COE-H charge that civil society participation was very limited during the drafting of the ICF in April and May 2004 and has been very limited in the two years during which the ICF has been implemented (2004-2006). Indeed the poorest and most marginalized sectors of Haitian civil society have been notably absent from any consultation processes. The joint steering committee responsible for implementation and follow-up of the ICF (COCCI), for example, has failed to engage with civil society organizations at any point.

In 2005, a group of Haitian non- state actors engaging with the EU over the Cotonou Agreement stated that neither the planning, implementation nor the evaluation of the ICF had been participatory, as a result of which the ICF was unlikely to fulfill the needs of the poorest people in Haiti (namely young people, women, people living in slum areas, people working in the agricultural sector, people working in the informal sector and old people).

Consultation with the private sector in Haiti, on the other hand, appears to have been more extensive. While the private sector is a key player in Haiti’s development, donors need to recognize that the private sector is not representative of Haiti’s diverse civil society nor the interests of its poorest citizens.

The benefits of engagement with civil society

Past experiences have demonstrated that development initiatives in Haiti are more likely to be successful if there is broad participation in the planning and implementation of such initiatives. If they had only been given the opportunity to engage with the ICF, Haitian CSOs (including COE-H partners) believe that their observations, experience and expertise would have enhanced the implementation of the ICF. For example, in the view of several Haitian partners of COE-H, international donors have wasted large amounts of money on creating an enormous number of different sectoral entities or `tables’ for implementing the ICF programme. Most of these sectoral tables have not functioned very well and the opportunity for using these sectoral tables to harmonise sectoral interventions with local priorities has largely been lost. In fact, no individual sector alone can solve any of Haiti’s major problems - whether it is environmental degradation, unemployment or any other aspect of poverty.

A genuinely participatory process would have enabled donors, government and CSOs to recognize and complement their respective strengths and weaknesses. It could have fostered a real tripartite partnership in terms of values and common objectives between Haitian civil society actors, the new government and the international community.

Lack of transparency

A major obstacle to civil society engagement in the ICF has been the serious lack of transparency with regard to both donors’ dialogue with Haitian authorities and the planning, development, monitoring and evaluation of the ICF.

This lack of transparency also applies to the preparations for the forthcoming donor pledging conference in Port-au-Prince on 25 July in Port-au-Prince. As late as three weeks before this conference, COE-H’s Haitian partners reported that they were unable to ascertain what arrangements had been made for civil society participation in the conference or who would be invited to represent civil society at this event, thereby hampering their efforts to develop collective positions for the conference or to input meaningfully in its deliberations. Likewise, in the month before the conference, members of CoE-H made concerted - and so far fruitless - efforts to establish whether or not the audit and independent evaluation of the ICF that donors had committed themselves to in February 2006 had actually been carried out, and to discover what documents or evaluations will be used as the basis for discussions at the donor conference in July.

Donor plans versus a national development plan

Following the elections of 2006, the national context in Haiti has changed and the population has clearly demonstrated its determination to put an end to the interim transition. Haitians now want a new national development plan that reflects the new political, economic and social reality of the country and enables them to become actors in their own destiny. Donors contributing to the ICF need to recognize this changed situation - even if they themselves may have decided to extend the ICF to the end of 2007. In the view of COE-H member organizations and their Haitian partners, the excessive influence of the international community at the expense of a real empowerment of the Haitian population in the whole process is no longer acceptable.

This is all the more pertinent at a time when Haiti is preparing its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The PRSP will serve as a new framework for donor support, including EU support. As has been the case with PRSP processes in other countries, the elaboration and implementation of a PRS is supposed to promote national ownership and participation. Indeed, donors themselves (including the EU, World Bank and IMF) have emphasized that PRSPs should involve a wide range of civil society representatives in their planning, implementation and follow-up.

Consequently, it is now urgent and essential that the Haitian government and donors create new and sustainable mechanisms for engaging civil society in the planning, follow-up and evaluation of all future development programmes, learning from the mistakes of the ICF exercise.


The massive participation in the presidential elections of 7 February 2006 is a clear sign of Haitians’ hopes for the future and of their willingness to work jointly with public authorities in the formulation of a national consensus on the problems of development facing the country. But if they are excluded yet again, this goodwill is likely to evaporate and with it all hopes of eliminating poverty and insecurity in Haiti.

Recommendations for civil society participation in the ICF

In view of the forthcoming donors meeting on 25 July in Port au Prince, CoE-H member organizations ask the European Union and its Members States to consider the following recommendations in its dialogue with the Haitian government:

· Carry out a participatory evaluation of the ICF and publish the conclusions and recommendations of this evaluation. Publicly report on the implementation of these recommendations.

· Improve the functioning of the joint steering committee for implementation and follow-up of the ICF (COCCI) by setting up mechanisms for more inclusive participation of civil society organizations.

· Improve the quality of information circulated to Haitian civil society organizations about the progress and implementation of the ICF.

· Take into account the plans that already exist in Haiti, for example the community-based plans in the North East region, and also the approaches already developed under the auspices of decentralization.

· Translate key documents into Creole to enable grassroots organizations and networks to input meaningfully into the decision-making process.

· Implement a public awareness-raising campaign of the ICF and its mechanisms so that ordinary Haitians can better understand the programme and its activities.

· Circulate public information about the PRSP process, including the agenda, the framework and methodology proposed, and also the process for approving the national budget for implementing the PRS. Take account of CSOs’ recommendations for the formulation of the PRSP.

· All efforts on the part of the government and the international community must be made with total transparency in order to promote broad engagement and citizens’ trust.

Coordination Europe-Haiti (CoE-H)

18 July 2006

Coordination Europe-Haiti (CoE-H)

Coordinator: Alessandra Spalletta

Rue des Tanneurs 165,

B-1000 Bruxelles

Tél: +32 2 213 04 18 Mob: +32 (0)486 647 612 ;

1) Coordination Europe-Haiti (CoE-H) is a network of European solidarity and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working directly with Haitian partner NGOs and grassroots movements. COE-H incorporates 60 organisations in 8 European countries: Belgium, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland. CoE-H works closely with Coordination Haiti-Europe (CoH-E) in Haiti, formed by Haitian NGOs to engage with European NGOs and the EU.