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Jan-4 Haiti Accountability Conference

AlMac99's picture

You can upload info from here on the 2011 Jan-4 Haiti conference on Accountability Lessons Learned. The agenda is quite impressive.  I suggest you download it, review contents, share.


Among the questions to be addressed in this conference are: 

·        How effectively have international actors worked with the government at national, departmental and municipal levels?

·        How effectively have international actors worked with Haitian civil society institutions and organizations?

·        What role have citizens played the past year? Given the extraordinary influx of aid actors, did the coordination system effectively prioritize capacity and assets to match urgent needs?

·        Were there too many aid actors involved in the earthquake response?

·        What effects did the influx of organizations have on efficiency and effectiveness?

·        Did humanitarian organizations effectively absorb and disburse the resources made available to them?

·        Is the amount of funding provided for relief activities balanced with that provided for recovery?

·        Were the Humanitarian Assistance Project and SPHERE Standards respected?

When I started passing this info around, some people cited individual cases of accountability problems, asking “is that what this is all about?”  Accountability and Transparency of managing Aid to Haiti is a HUGE topic.  I have addressed some related issues in past posts such as:

Define Accountability etc.

http://haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/accountability-science-i

Institutions tackling Accountability Oversight Challenges

http://haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/accountability-science-ii

Responsibilities for US Donors (series of blogs I started, got distracted from) … see Haiti Rewired / Science Group / “Science” of Accountability / Part III

Haitians should decide what their nation needs, set priorities, do oversight on the army of people visiting their nation.

There's the scandal of nations around the world promising specific sums of money and not delivering.  Check out here http://www.haitispecialenvoy.org/
the various links to international assistance tracking.

Accountability includes 2% of money from USA to Haiti via USAID actually making it to Haiti contractors, where 98% goes thru Washington DC beltway bandits. I posted links to that story here:
http://haiti.mphise.net/institute-justice-and-democracy-haiti


Basically:

Out of every $100 of U.S. con­tracts now paid out to rebuild Haiti, Hait­ian firms have suc­cess­fully won $1.60, The Asso­ci­ated Press has found in a review of con­tracts since the earth­quake on Jan. 12.

Is the goal of USAID to provide income to beltway bandits, or to help the Haitian economy?

Also see: http://haiti.mphise.net/usaid-vs-inspector-general-rubble-clearing

An audit by US AID’s Inspec­tor Gen­eral (IG) found that more than 70 per­cent of the funds given to the two largest U.S. con­trac­tors for a cash for work (CFW) project in Haiti was spent on equip­ment and mate­ri­als.

I cited:

  • USAID claimed this unavoidable because that equipment was not in Haiti.
  • I shared documentation showing that equipment really is in Haiti.
  • IG said clearing rubble is essential to the rebuilding effort (I agree).
  • USAID said that's a means to an end - getting money into Haitian economy by paying people to move rubble around, that's what's important, not the rebuilding

So long as USAID is in charge, able to disregard what the IG says, and so long as US Congress has forgotten they have oversight authority over USAID, then nothing will change there.  But aid to Haiti is a hell of a lot bigger than what USAID is doing.

UN clusters show, at best, scores of NGOs working in a cooperative effort to try to resolve serious challenges in Haiti.
  So why are there tens of thousands of NGOs, and the entire Haiti civil society not part of this?


Tens of thousands of NGOs etc. claim to be doing certain stuff in Haiti.
There have been independent audits of what they allegedly did.
It does not matter if it is an agency of government or an NGO.
No correlation has been found between what they claim to be doing, and evidence of what got done, found by independent audits.

Some of this may be due to where there are expenditures not showing up clearly in the financial reports.  On Haiti Rewired discussion of recovery architecture, we learned of a building boom in Haiti of housing, not for quake survivors, but "mansions" for aid workers.  Rent, to stay there, is probably showing up in financial reports as some kind of aid to Haiti.  Ditto costs to transport volunteers to Haiti to do work, which local Haitians could be hired to do.
  Then there is the black hole for cargo and bribes which is named “Haiti border crossing.”
http://haitirewired.wired.com/group/architectureforhaiti


There have been a parade of investigations into the quality of the aid provided to Haiti, and the quality of the information from the providers of that aid.  These investigations produce recommendations how to fix the problems, then nothing happens.  People are getting frustrated.  I say there needs to be follow up, how come the humanitarian aid community for the most part is living in the 18th century, unable to apply 20th century technology, let alone 21st century technology?  How come the people with extremely sensible recommendations cannot get any traction?  How come the aid organizations, which produce "lessons learned" reports are unable to apply those lessons to their own operations?  How come we have tens of thousands of NGOs not talking to each other, while they trying to do work which could be done more effectively thru mutual cooperation?
  In some cases they may in fact be doing a GREAT job, which the mainstream news media is ignoring, presenting the illusion of doing nothing.

This conference is an attempt by Haitian Grassroots organizations, and others, to go to that next step, of dealing with the failure of recommendations and lessons learned to be applied.


A major part of this is the people of Haiti deciding what is right for their nation, and taking charge of the recovery effort.


AlMac99's picture

Conference Info is now on the HAW web site

http://www.haitiaidwatchdog.org/conf.pdf

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Alister Wm Macintyre

semi-retired geek