Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Wanted: An Agenda for Change

HAITI BRIEFING, NO 71, July 2012 

The report slipped out almost unnoticed and it is still hard to find (see docs/2009_2014 under Meeting Documents 20/03/12). But the untitled document, the product of a four-day trip to Haiti by five MEPs on the Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament(EP) makes recommendations –some would say demands – that get to the heart of EU development policy flaws in Haiti.

No one, least of all the European Commission (EC), responsible for development aid in Haiti through its Development and Co-operation Directorate General – Europe Aid (DG DEVCO) expected the report to see the light of day. “It should not have been published,” insisted one EC civil servant working on Haiti. As for a response: “It doesn’t merit one.”

So what in the report so antagonised the EC? First and foremost the MEPs want real information and real accountability. The report reiterated a demand made weeks before they left for “a list of projects that have been carried out during the last 15 years in Haiti with a detailed assessment of their current situation.”

The fact is that the report emerges into an information vacuum. There has been no overall evaluation of European Union (EU) development spending in Haiti for more than 15 years. The 114 EU individual development projects and programmes currently listed on the website of the EU Delegation in Port-au-Prince have no more than a name, value and a brief, perfunctory description.

Yet this constitutes “a comprehensive overview of programmes,” according to EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs whose three-page letter to the MEPs is their only response to the report to date. “Results matter. That’s a fact,” as Piebalgs has asserted repeatedly of EU development aid spending. And results, in the form of EU evaluation, assessment and impact reports, are exactly what is missing in Haiti.

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