Haiti is a country with at least 9 million people and GDP of $7 billion (pre-quake).Â Think about that size of that latter number in relation to the usual magnitudes that we discuss on this blog.Â But anyway, given its long-standing economic plight, Haiti also has extensive relations with international financial and development organizations and as part of that relationship, it has a poverty reduction strategy.Â In February 2009, the government published a progress report on implementation of that strategy.Â Here’s a paragraph on implementation (para. 37)Â —
Strategic-level entities: the Strategic Orientation Investment Council (COSI), the Donor Advisory Committee (DAC), and the Priority Arbitration Committee (CAP) are not yet officially up and running. At the operational level, the Interministerial Committee for Implementation Coordination and Monitoring (CICSMO) is up and running and is chaired by the Minister of Planning and External Cooperation. The Executive Secretariat of CICSMO, the key entity for the entire implementation mechanism, the Interministerial Subcommittee for Sectoral Coordination and Monitoring (SCTICSMO), and the Departmental Subcommittees for Implementation Coordination and Monitoring in the regions (SCDCSMOs) have been established. SCTICSMO is holding its ninth monthly coordination and monitoring meeting.
Does this sound like the kind of administrative weight that a country like Haiti could handle? And with the government now essentially destroyed by the earthquake, does it sound like the kind of thing they should rush to re-establish?Â And yet as the demands come in for a “coordinated” approach to aid delivery, how does one avoid exactly this kind of structure emerging again?Â There is going to be a clear tradeoff between getting aid delivered quickly and establishing any meaningful role for the government of Haiti in the crisis mitigation and recovery process.Â Can you build a nation without a government?