UN Deputy special envoy cites a number of positive developments in Haiti

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Workers plant vegetation to help fortify the soil in Haiti.

There have been a number of positive developments in Haiti. So says Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Resident Coordinator for the United Nations system organizations in Haiti, Nigel Fisher.

Speaking to the UN Economic and Social Council – ECOSOC by video link from Haiti, Mr. Fisher cited a 19 June announcement to publish a revised version of recent constitutional amendments, which represented a step towards consolidating democratic institutions in Haiti. The amendments simplified the procedures of those intuitions, he said, through electoral reform and other related issues continued to be debated in the Parliament. He said Elections would be held before the end of the year, and the Government had already earmarked about a third of the financing required to execute them effectively.

Nigel Fisher: Meanwhile, the informal militia groups that had expanded their presence in the early months of this year have now disbanded – thanks to decisive action by the Haitian National Police. Debate on the creation of a possible second security force continues with growing indications that such a force, if created, would focus on civil defence, disaster response, environmental protection and border security. As the Ad hoc Advisory Group has indicated in its report, political uncertainties of the last year or so had put a break on external investment and aid flows. But with the new government in place, we are seeing increasingly encouraging signs on the development front in the context of the National Plan Framework with a focus on economic development and job creation in the industrial, tourism and agricultural sectors.

Mr. Fisher says community rejuvenation initiatives, especially in the metropolitan area, housing repairs, new housing starts and rental subsidies have enabled the housing and public buildings unit within the prime minister's office to spearhead the reduction of residual camp populations, falling to 390,000 this past June.

Nigel Fisher:  Investment in primary education is increasing enrolment numbers. But there remains a funding gap in the national programme to ensure daily school meals for 1.5 million primary students. Recently, the government has announced a new family allowance scheme focused on female-headed house-holds which is also intended to stimulate school attendance from the poorest families. And as the report ECOSOC Advisory Group indicates, the government has endorsed the new National Aid Coordination Architecture which includes the successor mechanism to the former Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and the Secretariat which would be located in the Ministry f Planning and External Cooperation. Since the visit of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, the Council of Ministers has now ratified this new mechanism. But its implementation would require coordinated support from the international community as part of a broader effort to ensure a coherent approach to Haitian institution-building. Discussions are also ongoing between the Haitian government and its partners to resolve disbursement and programme implementation bottlenecks.

Mr. Fisher said a strategic framework for 2013 -2016, which was being finalized, was fully grounded on national priorities. This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 3’24″

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