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Haiti - Reconstruction : (VIII) Reinforcement of Institutions - Strategic Plan
11/01/2011 07:42:52

Haiti - Reconstruction : (VIII) Reinforcement of Institutions - Strategic Plan
12 months after the earthquake, funding has started to come, if slowly. The domestic and international communities are starting to work together more effectively. The IHRC is taking an active role in this cooperation, as evidenced by the projects approved by the IHRC (valued at $3 billion) for which international organizations have partnered with Haitian ministries.

While donors begin to fulfill their pledges and have difficulty accessing the facts about what is needed most on the ground, many are asking how to prioritize their spending.

The strategic plan presented at the fourth meeting of the IHRC, December 14, 2010 at Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, will help guide the project implementers, donors and investors as they guide the disbursement of their pledges for the reconstruction and development of Haiti, and add much needed new funding. Developed jointly by the Commission, international experts and ministry leaders, this plan outlines many of the most important things needed in Haiti by October 2011, the end of IHRC’s mandate.

Each day of the week we'll discover a part of this strategic plan for 2011. Today we cover Supporting and reinforcing the haitian institutions.

Almost one year after the earthquake accounts of the recovery have identified coordination as a major challenge in both the humanitarian and development efforts. A lack of coordination is often a result of a dearth of leadership, or of recognized leadership. The IHRC will help address this gap by making clear the central role of Government in the recovery and providing the means for the Government to be effective in its leadership role.

In order for sustainable development to occur, the coordinating responsibility for the recovery needs to be placed with the government. All concerned ministries or Haitian entities must be involved at all stages from the concept, to the planning and implementation phases of all major operations, humanitarian or development. The best way to accomplish this in the short term is to place the government at the center of existing mechanisms, which include the humanitarian clusters and sector tables. Ultimately, the humanitarian clusters should fold into sector tables to create forums for the wider recovery effort.

Prior to the earthquake, sector tables had been put in place with mixed results. But those that played a positive role had the constant support of the ministry at the highest level, suggesting that sector tables can succeed with strong government leadership. A number of positive steps have already been taken over the past few months: The Government has taken control of an increasing number of humanitarian clusters and is now chairing or participating in most of them. A few sector tables have resurfaced under the leadership of relevant ministries. But these positive developments are lost in a multitude of “silo” coordinating mechanisms that have only superficial links with each other and the governmental.

These coordination structures must be adapted without delay to center around the sector tables, led by the ministries. Sector tables must be reinforced with a broader composition and more ambitious mandate than before the earthquake. At the same time, it will be necessary to limit the number of sector tables in recognition to the capacity of the main actors and avoid over-compartmentalizing development action. The sector tables must be recreated with the following principles:

Ministry management

The sector tables must be managed by the ministries at the most senior levels possible. Ministry sector table leaders must have decision power.

Support from dedicated secretariat

The secretariat must be made up of existing ministerial planning units or similar units, with the added support of additional expertise as required. The IHRC should bring its own expertise in direct support to the head of the secretariat.

Broad participation

The composition of the sector tables must be broadened to include main donor and implementation partners. All partners must be ready to be represented by others, to limit the number of participants and facilitate decision making. The private sector and Haitian civil society should be represented whenever possible too.

Dedicated financial support

The cost of the secretariats should be borne by the largest donor in a given sector or by pooling resources, as eamed most appropriate by the ministries and donors concerned

The same principles should apply, whether a ministry or an inter-ministerial set up is deemed necessary.

This new sector table-based coordination architecture needs to follow the structure of the PARDN and work with the IHRC, given its coordinating mandate and strategic focus. Well functioning sector tables or equivalent will in fact reinforce the effectiveness of the IHRC.

Such a coordinating mechanism will require support over the long term, hence participants to the tables must ensure that their commitment is aligned with these long-term requirements.

The task of the reinforced sector tables will be made easier if the humanitarian clusters concerned rapidly merge into their respective tables. This will create the synergy necessary between humanitarian action and the broader development context and ensure that they are mutually reinforcing. Certain clusters not covered by the above sector tables will probably need to continue their activities, but might need to regroup to ensure an efficient interface with the tables.

The secretariats will require different levels of financial support that will depend on the size and outside expertise required. Considering a secretariat of 5-6 persons, with office, equipment and other related support, including outsourcing certain activities to complete strategies and investment plans, an average of US$ 1.5 million yearly per secretariat is deemed necessary.

The reconstruction of Haiti with substantially more resources and larger international presence requires no less than this. Beyond political support and inclusiveness, it also requires dedicated units in support of the coordinating role of the ministries. This is a must to meet up to the challenges of shifting from a humanitarian to a development mode, while accelerating the finalization of sector strategies and also accelerating their implementation.

The following sector tables/coordinating entities with secretariats should be created or reinforced without delay:

Sector : Housing Government chair :MAST, as chair of the inter-ministerial commission on Housing
Sector : Debris Government chair :removal MTPTC
Sector : Infrastructure Government chair :MTPTC
Sector : Health and nutrition Government chair :MSPP
Sector : Education Government chair :MENFP
Sector : Agriculture and environment Government chair :MARNDR and MOE
Sector : Food security Government chair :CNSA
Sector : Risk reduction and management Government chair :MICT
Sector : Water, sanitation and hygiene Government chair :DINEPA
Sector : Rule of law Government chair :MSPJ
Sector : Institutional building and decentralization Government chair :MPCE and MEF

The IHRC must help the ministries build the needed capacity to lead

The ministries must, with the support of the international community, put in place adequate mechanisms to fulfill their leadership role. In the immediate term, the IHRC can help ensure that the Government builds the capacity necessary to effectively take on its coordination responsibility. It can direct support to key ministries as they draft or update strategic and investment plans.

The IHRC can also lead the international community’s strategy for capacity building more broadly. While there is a growing consensus that the central role of the Government is key for the success of the recovery of the country, such a consensus has yet to translate into a good understanding regarding what Haitian institutions require. Too often, the catch phrase “fragile states” hides a misunderstanding as to the real capacity of the Government. Lack of management capacity, lack of technical capacity, and lack of financial resources are lumped together, whereas they require different strategies to address.

The IHRC can rekindle a dialogue with the international community on how to create a concerted and coherent approach to institution building. It is critical that the donor community resurrects this dialogue and build on and recommit to the work that had already been done before the earthquake.

See also:

HL/ S/ HaitiLibre/ CIRH

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