Haiti Donors’ Conference Held In New York

The long awaited and expected donors’ conference for Haiti have taken place. There was an outpouring of very kind words of support and at the end, about $5 billion dollars in short term promises and pledges were made. In all, both short term and long term promises and pledges, put together, were up to $10 billion dollars, spread over several years. High hopes and expectations were boundlessly displayed

There were promises, promises, promises and more promises galore. Pledges, pledges and more pledges. This was the predominant sentiment in New York City on Wednesday March 31st 2010. Many nations and international organizations engaged in laudable promises and pledges as contributions to relief and reconstruction fund for Haiti. The atmosphere was almost festive and it had a feel of carnival.

There were repeated self-promotions by prospective donor nations and or organizations. There were tomes of platitudinous self serving or self aggrandizing pronouncements by those who were announcing these promises and pledges. It was essentially a made for media event. Those who witnessed the events were entertained by some representatives of prospective donors, who made statements as they were engaged in new product placements for their nations or international organizations. At some point, the product placement attitude felt overdone. 

Despite these plenteousness of promises and pledges, many are skeptical about actual fulfillment of these pledges. These skepticisms are justified by past experiences in which donors make promises and pledges to the glare of television cameras and full court press and then, all is forgotten and nothing is done. There is no auditing or reckoning verifications to ensure follow thorough or satisfactory compliance with pledges

What is the value or benefit of unredeemed or unfulfilled promises and pledges by nations and international institutions or organizations? The intended beneficiaries to who donations would have been directed, are made to endure deferred or dead dreams and hope against dashed hope or frustrated expectations. It is hoped that past is not prologue in which loud promises and pledges are made, but remain unfulfilled or redeemed by donors, years and years after promises and pledges are made to loud applauses.

Outward demonstration of support for Haiti was pleasantly overwhelming. These were combined efforts by the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the United States Secretary of State Mrs. Hilary Clinton, and of course, her spouse, Bill Clinton, a former president of the United States, who incidentally, is, the United Nations’ special ambassador to Haiti, a position he held, even before the earthquake devastation of January 12, 2010. It is worth repeating here, that Mr. Clinton was in the process of corralling efforts and offering incentives to potential American investors in Haiti. These efforts by Mr. Clinton were beginning to create some buzz in the America media and press, just before the earthquake disaster. It is also worthy of note and mention, that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton celebrated or observed their honeymoon in the beleaguered , indomitable and indefatigable nation of Haiti. 

It is hoped that the involvement of the Clintons, and the solemn public commitments made personally by President Obama on behalf of the people and government of the United States makes a difference, a positive difference in the present and future fortunes of Haiti.

The negative roles which the United States have historically played in the affairs of Haiti are beyond legendary. The manipulations, the direct interventions, the invasions and occupations of Haiti; the exertions of undue influence and unbridled pressures on Haiti by the United States and France, at various times, are historical facts and incontrovertible evidences in public domain for all to see. 

However, in New York City, platitudes flowed endlessly and ceaselessly at the donors conference. But beyond that, hopefully, comes actual actions. 

Supporting the people and government of Haiti in the continuing relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, will help to heal old wounds were inflicted on Haiti, wounds which have festered and left to linger for hundreds of years, after Haiti freed herself from political oppression and subjugation by foreign colonial powers. Supporting Haiti in this recovery and healing process will make the world a better place for all of us.

It remains now to be seen, what the United States would do this time, when all the cameras are gone. It also remains to be seen whether all the key players in this donor conference, with an atmosphere of a festival, ensures that the people and government of Haiti play predominant roles in the rebuilding Haiti. It is noteworthy, that there repeated nagging questions regarding accountability and transparency on the part of donors, as well as, the government of Haiti. The government of Haiti has promised good management of any donated resources targeted for relief, reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti.

It is hoped as well, that donor nations, organizations and institutions allow the people and government of Haiti discretions in the planning, execution and implementation of the various revival efforts. It is hoped that donor nations and institutions are not fixated on repatriations of  profits from relief, reconstruction, rebuilding and revival efforts, as it is too frequently the case in circumstances such as these.

Brazil, Canada and some European countries and in fact, many other nations, international institutions and multilateral organizations made promises and pledges. Haitians and all others who wish Haiti well, are cautiously optimistic and hopeful, that these donors actually deliver on their wonderful promises and pledges. Promises and pledges of aid donations are only as good, as the actual fulfillment. The world must support Haiti in ensuring fulfillment of these plentiful promises and pledges. Haiti’s recovery will be greatly assisted and facilitated by what the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Kim Moon described as international solidarity worldwide for Haiti. The world should not loose sight of these donors and their promises. And progress on the ground in Haiti should also be monitored, project by project, and frequent measurements of deliverables and successful outcomes.

The short term promises and pledges of $5 billion dollars gives reasons for Haitians, Haiti and all well-wishers of the people and government of Haiti to feel elated. Time will tell as to whom among the donors  actually follows through, delivers,  and commit the monies already pledged

During the donors’ conference in New York City, the United Nations, many nations and many, many international organizations and institutions boasted of being on the ground in Haiti for years, but, to what outcome? What are the measurable outcome for the average Haitian? 

 It is hoped that these new promises, pledges and commitments are redeemed, fulfilled and delivered upon. The relief, reconstruction,  and the rebuilding of Haiti elicit the appreciation and gratitude of the people and government of Haiti and the entire world will be justly proud of roles in supporting Haiti.

Haiti Donors’ Conference Held In New York
Written by Paul I. Adujie