Building a More Resilient Haitian State

Building a More Resilient Haitian State

Keith Crane
James Dobbins
Laurel E. Miller
Charles P. Ries
Christopher S. Chivvis
Marla C. Haims
Marco Overhaus
Heather Lee Schwartz
Elizabeth Wilke
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mg1039srf-cc
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  • Book Info
    Building a More Resilient Haitian State
    Book Description:

    Hope for a prosperous and peaceful future for Haiti lies in building a more effective, resilient state. This report identifies the main challenges to more capable governance, evaluates existing plans for improving the delivery of public services, and proposes a realistic set of critical actions. The proposed state-building priorities merit the greatest degree of Haiti's andinternational donors' policy attention and financial commitment.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5053-3
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    On January 12, 2010, an earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, Léogâne, and other cities and settlements in the south of Haiti, leaving 300,000 people dead, another 300,000 injured, and 1.3 million homeless. The Haitian government and the international community moved rapidly to address the immediate humanitarian crisis. The homeless are now sheltered in tents and provided with food and water. The airport was quickly reopened, and the port of Port-au-Prince has been returned to service. Much has stabilized in Haiti, although the threat looms of a severe hurricane season that may devastate the tent cities in which so many Haitians now live....

  9. CHAPTER TWO Background
    (pp. 9-26)

    The prototypical fragile state is inaccessible, often land-locked, surrounded by weak or predatory neighbors, and wracked by tribal, ethnic, religious, or linguistic tensions.¹ Haiti suffers from none of these disabilities. It is surrounded by friendly, comparatively prosperous neighbors. It has many natural harbors only a few hours sailing distance from the largest market in the world—the United States—to which it has preferential access.² Unlike some fragile states, Haiti has no precious gems, minerals, or other such resources over which parties might fight.

    Haiti’s fragility cannot be blamed on its geography or its demography, but rather on its history....

  10. CHAPTER THREE Governance and Public Administration
    (pp. 27-42)

    Reforming public administration is at the heart of state-building in Haiti. The paucity of skilled, trained, and properly organized government personnel and the lack of management systems within ministries and other government bodies are principal constraints on the state’s effectiveness. The implications of the institutional deficiencies in planning, budgeting, executing policy decisions, and managing people and resources cut across all the areas of government activity covered in this report, including the government’s ability to interact with donors.

    Capacity-buildingis often invoked as the answer to the state’s weakness; this chapter aims to give content to that generic and overused term....

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Justice
    (pp. 43-56)

    Haiti’s justice system is extremely flawed: The courts do not carry out their constitutional responsibilities; laws are not applied and procedures are not followed; the criminal code dates from the early 19th century; prison conditions are horrific; legal aid barely exists; legal professionals are inadequately educated; corruption is widespread; and relations are poor between the HNP on the one hand and prosecutors and judges on the other. In short, Haiti has no cognizable “system” of justice. Various plans and initiatives to address these problems since the mid-1990s have borne little fruit.

    Justice-system formation and reform are typically slow and especially...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Security
    (pp. 57-72)

    Efforts to reform the security sector in Haiti have faced three main, related challenges. First, the security situation is volatile, and the state has very limited ability to assert its authority vis-à-vis criminal networks, drug traffickers, armed gangs, and other spoilers.¹ In 1994, after a U.S.-led intervention to reinstall the elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Haitian military was abolished. Since then, the HNP has been the only state institution in the country to provide internal or external security. It has been responsible for performing a broad array of functions beyond basic community policing: counternarcotics, border protection, maritime patrolling, quasi-military tasks,...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Economic Policy
    (pp. 73-86)

    Haiti’s primary economic challenge is generating economic growth. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the only country in the hemisphere formally designated a least-developed country by the World Bank. Alone among the states of the Western Hemisphere, per capita GDP in Haiti has fallen over the past 40 years to roughly one-half to two-thirds the level that it was in 1965. Not surprisingly, Haiti suffers from high rates of absolute poverty: Fifty-four percent of the population is estimated to live on less than $1 per day, and 72 percent on less than $2. Income distribution is...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Housing and Infrastructure
    (pp. 87-100)

    The earthquake has had a devastating effect on houses and apartment buildings in Haiti. Although the tent cities have been an effective stopgap measure, the most important reconstruction challenge for Haiti and the international community is to provide housing for the displaced that will shelter Haitians from tropical storms and hurricanes in this and coming years.

    In addition to housing, Haiti and the international community will need to reconstruct and improve Haiti’s infrastructure (roads, ports, airports, electric-power system, water, and sewage), if Haiti is to enjoy sustained economic growth and the health and well-being of its citizens are to improve....

  15. CHAPTER EIGHT Education
    (pp. 101-120)

    As the Haitian government reported in its PDNA, “(the) education system already presented deficiencies before the earthquake that made it unfit to contribute to socio-economic development.”¹ Low quality, lack of access, and little oversight characterized the country’s education sector. The state played a very limited role in providing and regulating schooling, a fact that contributed to an incoherent education system. Enrollment rates and levels of educational attainment were very low. About one-half of Haitian adults were illiterate;² according to theWorld Development Indicatorsdatabase, the average adult has 2.8 years of schooling. About half of school-aged children were not in...

  16. CHAPTER NINE Health
    (pp. 121-138)

    Health services in Haiti were and continue to be delivered through four channels: public institutions, including state-run health centers and referral hospitals; private, nonprofit organizations; mixed public and nonprofit institutions owned by the state but operated by NGOs, whose staff work alongside public employees; and private, for-profit medical offices in Port-au-Prince and other large cities. The Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population (MSPP, or Ministry of Public Health and Population) is responsible for the public health system, including the delivery of health services, policymaking and implementation, and management of the government’s health budget.

    Prior to the earthquake,...

  17. CHAPTER TEN Donor Cooperation and Building the Haitian State
    (pp. 139-156)

    As the poorest country in the hemisphere, and the only country in the past three decades to see a long-term decline in GDP per capita, Haiti has been a focus of concern and interest for donors of humanitarian and development assistance for two generations. The United States has been the largest bilateral donor of humanitarian and development assistance every year since 1990, contributing between one-quarter and half of all official flows to Haiti, followed by Canada and the European Union. Multilateral donors provide much of the remainder, led by the IDB and the World Bank. In the 19 years between...

  18. CHAPTER ELEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 157-164)

    Hope for a more prosperous and peaceful future for the Haitian people lies in building a more effective and resilient state. The discussions herein of challenges have shown that Haitian state institutions are riddled with weaknesses in the areas of human resources, organization, procedures, and policies. As a result of these weaknesses, the state, on its own, has been incapable of providing security for the Haitian people, ensuring justice, promoting economic growth, or delivering public services. The appraisals of reform plans and initiatives in this report suggest that devising lists of measures needed to repair the state’s weaknesses is relatively...

  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 165-180)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 181-181)