Where is the rest of civil society?

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Charles Arthur
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

Where is the rest of civil society?

Post by Charles Arthur » Fri Jun 04, 2004 10:01 am

The Editor
Haiti en Marche
173 N.W. 94th Street
Miami, FL 33150

The Haiti Support Group

Dear Sir,

The Haiti Support Group was puzzled to read the following statement in the 31 May issue of your newspaper regarding the Interim Cooperation Framework meetings that have been taking place in Port-au-Prince over recent weeks:

"Le Bureau de Communication du Premier Ministre informe que le Gouvernement haitien conduit activement un processus de consultations qui doit aboutir l´identification d´un Cadre de Coopération Intérimaire (CCI) avec le pays, pendant la période de transition et dans le contexte d´après-crise. Cette démarche du Gouvernement Haitien s´effectue de concert avec la société civile, les partis politiques et les partenaires d´Haiti de la communauté internationale."(1)

We are puzzled because, according to our information, while the C
CI metings were indeed attended by a high number of representatives of the Haitian government, foreign governments, and international institutions and agencies, it seems the only representatives of Haitian civil society involved were representatives of the private sector.(2)

Does this mean that the Haitian government believes that civil society and the private sector are one and the same? Surely not, but then again, perhaps this really is what Mr Latortue and his ministers do believe.

We cannot be alone in wondering why all the other parts of Haitian civil society were not included in this important consultation process. It is generally agreed by development specialists the world-over that a sense of ownership of development plans amongst the wider population, i.e. civil society, is a key factor in determining their eventual success.

Where were the representatives of peasant farmers, fishermen, informal sector businesses, students, workers' organisations, youth groups, women's organisa
tions, neighbourhood committees, literacy groups, artists' associations, the community radio network, members of unregulated cooperatives, non-governmental development organisations etc.?

How ever well-intentioned the government and the international institutions may be with regard to development in Haiti, unless the Haitian people themselves are part of the plans, then we are very much afraid that such plans are doomed to fail.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Arthur
Haiti Support Group
London, UK

1) In English: "The Communications Office of the Prime Minister announces that the Haitian Government is actively leading a process of consultations that will end with the identification of an Interim Cooperation Framework for the country during the transitional period and in the context of post-crisis. This step by the Haitian Government is carried out in liaison with civil society, the political parties, and Haiti's partners in the international community."

(2) For example, of t
he 183 participants listed at the inaugural meeting of the CCI on 22 April, only the following were not representatives of the Haitian government, of international institutions and agencies, diplomats or journalists:

The past president of the Association Touristique d'Haiti,
The director of the Association Professionnelle des Banques (APB),
The director of the Association des Industries d'Haiti (ADIH),
The vice-rector of the Université d'État d'Haiti,
The chief economist of SOGEBANK,
The director of the Inter-Entreprises SA,
The president of the Association des Assureurs d'Haiti (AAH),
The director of the Groupe Croissance,
The director of the Chambre du commerce du sud.


This email is forwarded as a service of the Haiti Support Group.

See the Haiti Support Group web site:

Solidarity with the Haitian people's struggle for justice, participatory democracy and equitab
le development, since 1992.

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