Haiti

Conclusions of the Montreal International Conference on Haiti, June 17, 2005

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The Montréal International Conference on Haiti brought together representatives of the Transitional Government of Haiti; donor countries and friends of Haiti; financial institutions; and national, international, and regional organizations. This high-level meeting was held June 16-17, 2005, and was co-chaired by the governments of Canada and Haiti.

The meeting built on the outcomes of the Washington Conference of July 2004, which resulted in commitments from the international community of approximately US$1.1 billion in response to Haiti's priorities, as set out in the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF). This commitment was renewed and clarified at the time of the Cayenne Ministerial Conference on Haiti in March 2005.

The Montréal meeting was intended to ensure a concerted approach to the establishment of a secure and favourable environment for the holding of democratic elections in Haiti in the last trimester of 2005. In addition, it aimed to ensure the continued flow of resources to support the social and economic recovery of Haiti through and beyond the transition period.

Security conditions

The participants recognize the central roles of the Transitional Government of Haiti in the operations of the Haitian National Police (PNH, or Police nationale d'Haïti) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, or Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti) for the stabilization of the country.

A consensus exists on the importance of taking rapid and vigorous action to establish security, with particular attention given to the protection of human rights throughout Haiti, and specifically in Port-au-Prince. Conference participants urge the Security Council of the United Nations to approve an increase in MINUSTAH personnel, in particular French-speaking civilian police, and to extend its mandate by at least one year. Participants were pleased to learn from representatives of MINUSTAH and the Government of Haiti that new measures have been taken to strengthen security, most notably in Port-au-Prince, and they recommended that these measures be implemented.

Participants welcomed the resolve expressed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the need for MINUSTAH to further target its security operations on difficult areas, adopt a firmer approach, and implement all measures required by the situation in conformity with the United Nations Security Council mandate, including the reference to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Participants also emphasized that security in Haiti requires close collaboration between MINUSTAH and the PNH. Further, it is critical that the UN civilian police (CIVPOL) actively engage in mentoring, monitoring, and restructuring the PNH, and that CIVPOL be deployed with the PNH in all commissariats.

Participants condemned criminals and gang members who seek to destabilize the country, undermine elections, and forestall the return to security in Haiti. The international community will not relent before any pressure, intimidation, or threats from criminals or armed groups.

The return to security also requires the application of an efficient plan tailored to the specific Haitian situation with regard to disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), and through the development of a national dialogue. In this regard, the participants asked the Haitian Transitional Government to clearly voice its position on these sensitive questions and take action in order to advance this agenda.

In support of specific security measures, the participants recognized the need to develop concurrent social and humanitarian programs, create employment, and provide support for the opening of the school year across the country, and in particular, in the most vulnerable regions. The donors announced the immediate reallocation of approximately US$30 million from within the ICF to reinforce government actions in these domains.

Participants urged all the political parties of Haiti to condemn violence and play a leading role in the creation of a favourable environment for the elections. In this respect, they congratulated the political parties that have recently signed a Code of Electoral Conduct that expressly rejects the use of violence and promotes a culture of dialogue and respect.

The 2005 elections

The electoral process is under the management of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), the body mandated by the Haitian Constitution to organize elections in Haiti. Participants called upon CEP and its collaborators, the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS), to coordinate their actions more effectively to bring the electoral process to a successful conclusion. The participants affirmed the need to respect the announced electoral calendar. February 7, 2006, constitutes the critical date for the newly elected president to assume office.

Despite the concerns resulting from delays in the registration of voters, the participants welcomed with satisfaction the plan put forth by CEP and its collaborators for voter registration, which includes a precise timeline for the opening of registration bureaus. They were encouraged by the recent progress made in the opening of numerous voter registration offices. At the time of the conference, CEP announced that more than half (213) of the offices are functional; it is expected that all these offices (424 in total) will be open by July 15, 2005.

The participants confirmed the financing of a budget of more than US$60 million for the entirety of the electoral process, and expect the CEP and its collaborators to ensure effective management of the electoral process in accordance with this final budget. They acknowledge with satisfaction that the government has respected its commitments concerning electoral resources, and agree that it is essential for donors to rapidly disburse their pledges for election financing.

In order to assure the credibility of the elections and to reinforce a climate of confidence, the participants highlighted the importance of national and international electoral observation. Parallel to the conference, a forum on election observation and financing was held under the leadership of Elections Canada on June 16, 2005. The conclusions of this forum will be provided to the Government of Haiti and to CEP to provide accreditation of all such international electoral missions.

Interim Cooperation Framework

The participants note that 11 months after the Washington Conference, donors have disbursed almost US$400 million in support of the ICF in the areas of political governance, economic governance, economic recovery, and basic services. Encouraged by these initial results, representatives of various donors confirmed their commitment to ICF implementation and their interest in other commitments beyond September 30, 2006.

Concrete examples of measurable results were cited:

  • the provision and distribution of 2.4 million schoolbooks for the 2004-2005 school year with further support for the purchase and distribution of additional books in the 2005-2006 school year

  • the construction and rehabilitation of more than 200 schools across the country.

  • the improvement of access to potable water for more than 150,000 rural households

  • the rehabilitation and construction of 300 km of urban, secondary, and rural roads, generating labour-intensive employment
The Montréal Conference permitted the Transitional Government of Haiti an opportunity to present its priorities in the areas of security, energy, the start of the next school year, and rapid job creation. The donors agreed with these priorities, subject to the reallocation of funds available to the ICF.

With regard to the energy sector specifically, in parallel with the conference, the Haitian government and donors active in the energy sector met to seek an immediate solution to the problem of energy provision in Haiti, while continuing to their work on the medium and long term. To accomplish this goal, a working group was created under the leadership of the Transitional Government of Haiti to propose concrete solutions by the end of June 2005.

Conclusion

The participants of the Montréal International Conference on Haiti welcomed the implementation of the ICF and the coordination among the donors and between the donors and the government. The participants agreed to build on these achievements in order to articulate a long-term follow-up plan to the ICF with the next elected government.

As well, they confirmed their commitment to support the Transitional Government of Haiti and the people of Haiti in their quest for democracy, and social and economic development. They also reiterated their support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and fully supported the actions of MINUSTAH in collaboration with the PNH to re-establish security in the country, as well as the actions taken by the Provisional Electoral Council for the holding of elections, an essential step for the stabilization of the country.

The current situation is of great concern with respect to security and poverty, but there are means to preserve what has been accomplished and to support ongoing positive change in Haiti. The conference allowed stakeholders to confirm their determination to oppose attempts at destabilizing the transition. The representatives of donor countries and friends of Haiti, of financial institutions, and of international and regional organizations reiterate their firm and long-term commitment to Haiti.

The Transitional Government of Haiti reaffirms its intention to successfully advance the transition process to create the conditions necessary for ensuring that free, transparent, and credible elections are achieved on schedule, and to transfer power on February 7, 2006, to a legitimately elected president.