Status of Post-Earthquake Recovery and Development Efforts in Haiti (December 2016)

Also Available In Creole

This report is provided in response to the “Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2014” (P.L. 113-162) (“the Act”), which directed the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual report on the status of post-earthquake recovery and development in Haiti. The Department of State, in cooperation with other U.S. government agencies, is submitting the report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs; the Committee on Appropriations; and the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the House of Representatives, and to the Committee on Foreign Relations; the Committee on Appropriations; and the Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Senate. In view of the scope of information sought by the Act, this report is broken into multiple attachments, some of which are in tabular form. Their contents are listed in Attachment A.

It is now almost seven years since a devastating earthquake hit Haiti January 12, 2010. For the past three years, U.S. assistance has shifted from disaster relief to long-term reconstruction and development efforts focused on job creation, increasing access to basic services, government capacity building, neighborhood development, and food security. The U.S. government has committed $3.2 billion to these aid efforts, with 93 percent of those funds obligated and 78 percent disbursed as of September 2016. Over the last year, political instability, drought, and a steep decline in the value of Haiti’s national currency posed challenges for development efforts. Nevertheless, there has been progress in the four core pillars of the U.S. government’s “Post-Earthquake Haiti Strategy: Toward Renewal and Economic Opportunity:” Infrastructure and Energy; Food and Economic Security; Health and other Basic Services; and Governance and Rule of Law.

To serve as effective development partners, Haitian officials must be backed by strong and legitimate political institutions. From 2013 through early 2016, lack of consensus among Haiti’s political elites impeded progress toward timely and credible elections. Without elections to replace outgoing officials, by January 2015 Haiti’s Parliament had effectively lapsed with the expiration of all but 10 Members’ terms, leaving then-President Martelly to rule by decree. Elections for Parliament were finally held in August 2015, and first-round presidential and parliamentary elections took place in October 2015 -- the resulting February 2016 seating of an elected Haitian parliament met a key electoral benchmark.

The ensuing presidential election process did not proceed as planned. Amid unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud and threats of violence, the electoral council (CEP) canceled the run-off presidential elections that had been scheduled for December 2015. President Martelly stepped down when his term ended in February 2016, and Parliament elected one of its members, Jocelerme Privert, to a four-month term as interim President to oversee the conclusion of the electoral cycle. That term expired June 14, and Privert has continued to serve as president, although his status as interim president remains an issue for debate in Haiti’s parliament. An ad hoc elections verification commission reviewed the October 2015 presidential election process, and recommended holding a new vote due to numerous irregularities. As a result, the CEP decided to redo the first-round presidential elections completely, scheduling them for October 9. Subsequently, the damage caused by the October 6 passage of Hurricane Matthew led to a final postponement of these elections until November 20.

Throughout 2016, the successful organization of elections was a key focus of U.S. efforts. The United States spent approximately $33 million on electoral assistance for this extended electoral cycle, training election officials and observers, and providing logistical aid with the transport of officials, ballots, and equipment. Working with USAID, the National Democratic Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Processes spent approximately $12 million in U.S. government funds from 2013 to 2016 to make the electoral process more transparent and fair through civic engagement to boost voter turnout, capacity-building for Haitian election monitors, and work with civic organizations to deter electoral violence. In addition, the United States provided $2 million to the OAS for its electoral observation mission, and approximately $5 million to the UN Office of Project Services to support electoral logistics. Additional information about U.S. assistance initiatives related to good governance can be found in Attachment I.

In the area of Infrastructure and Energy, the Caracol Industrial Park (CIP), launched in 2012, continued to serve as a model public-private partnership in northern Haiti, reaching out to potential new tenants and creating additional jobs. The number of employees at CIP grew to 10,393 by June 30, up from 8,646 a year before. The value of CIP exports exceeded $100 million in the first three quarters of 2016. To spur further CIP expansion, the Government of Haiti and USAID moved forward with the improvement of the nearby port at Cap-Haitien – with USAID assistance, the Government of Haiti has prepared to award a contract for port operations and management, expected by late Spring 2017, and USAID took steps to procure services directly for port reconstruction later in 2017. USAID is also helping to train officials to ensure more efficient customs functions, and transparent port regulatory operations.

U.S. shelter assistance is focused on cost-effective ways to increase durable housing stock, building on private construction and repair efforts by increasing low- and medium-income access to capital. With the assistance of the U.S. government through USAID, the Government of Haiti’s social housing unit (EPPLS) is taking on greater responsibility for community development, including the cleaning and maintenance of common areas, drainage, and solid waste removal. The electric power plant built to supply energy to the CIP also provides power 24 hours per day to 8,000 residents and businesses in surrounding areas. After the power plant provided proper drops and meters, the collection rate has increased to 85-90 percent. Additional information about the progress of U.S. efforts to expand the industrial park, energy, housing, and ports can be found in Attachment E.

In the area of Food and Economic Security, U.S. government assistance has helped Haitian farmers by increasing productivity, improving watershed management and irrigation systems, and directly linking the buyers and sellers of agricultural products. Approximately 80,000 farmers have more than doubled their incomes as beneficiaries of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative. Because most job growth comes from small businesses, USAID’s Local Enterprise and Value Chain Enhancement program has provided technical assistance and business development services that strengthened management and improved product quality for more than 1,000 micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments program helped attract investment through matching grants. Via the work of the Department of Treasury, the United States has also helped the Government of Haiti consolidate financial accounts and increase transparency and revenue generation. Attachment L provides additional information about U.S. food security initiatives, and Attachment J elaborates on U.S. engagement with Haiti’s private sector.

In the area of Health and other Basic Services, U.S. government assistance has improved health indicators through programs managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USAID. After peaking in 2011, cholera cases decreased 92 percent by 2014; however, some increases occurred in 2015 and 2016 due to heavy rains, lower adherence to preventive practices, and waning population immunity. The percentage of HIV-positive patients with access to anti-retroviral medicine has increased to 82 percent, including 90 percent of pregnant women patients. U.S. health assistance is focused on building the Government of Haiti’s capacity to provide citizens with quality health care in the future, while ensuring the health care they need today. Haiti’s Health Ministry has served as a pilot ministry by taking on increased responsibility for tracking expenditures. The ministry has also implemented a results-based financing system that directs incentive payments to high-performing health facilities.

In the area of Governance and Rule of Law, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and USAID are working to promote effective, transparent, and accountable administrative and law enforcement agencies. INL has worked to bolster Haiti’s criminal justice system, fostering respect for human rights, improving counternarcotics efforts, and renovating corrections facilities. INL trained and equipped the Haiti National Police (HNP), and helped build the force to nearly 15,000 officers. The HNP played a pivotal role in ensuring security during the August and October 2015 rounds of elections. INL and the Department’s Bureau of Political-Military affairs (PM) continued to help the Haitian Coast Guard to maintain its maritime fleet and professionalize its force.

In 2016, the HNP’s Inspector General dismissed 30 police officers on charges ranging from absence from post to criminal infractions. In December 2015, a Haitian court convicted a motor vehicles department official of embezzlement, and sentenced him to 56 months in prison, marking the first successful prosecution of a corruption case under the 2014 Anti-Corruption Act. The presiding judge in the case received training under INL’s American Bar Association-Rule of Law Initiative program. The U.S. government, through INL, helped to reduce prison over-crowding through construction of new prisons in Cabaret and Fort Liberté in 2016. INL also worked to enhance judicial independence and the courts’ administrative efficiency. USAID has provided software and training to targeted municipalities that increased tax collections and improved community planning and service delivery. Further details about engagement with civil society organizations are available in Attachments F and G, and a comprehensive list of programs and projects in Haiti can be found in Attachment B, the Activities List.

In a country more prone to natural disasters than almost any other, progress in long-term reconstruction and development has not been as great as Haiti or the United States had hoped. Still, there have been significant achievements in areas such as police professionalization, health indicators, and agricultural production. A description of the benchmarks and indicators linked with development objectives is provided in Attachment C.

While U.S. assistance providers made no major strategy adjustments in 2016, they continued to implement two key changes made two years ago. First, in the area of shelter, assistance has evolved from building new housing to complementing private sector housing solutions. The new focus, which stretches funds to benefit more Haitians, is on improvements in access to housing financing and community development, including the maintenance and improvement of existing neighborhoods. Second, the objective of building a greenfield port to support the Caracol Industrial Park changed, at the Government of Haiti’s request, to rehabilitating the existing port in Cap-Haitien. Both of these adjustments have lowered costs and enhanced project sustainability by promoting local solutions and Government of Haiti buy-in. These changes, as well as smaller strategy adjustments, are described in Attachment D.

Haiti has made important advances in its reconstruction and development. The United States has a significant national interest in helping to build a prosperous, stable, and healthy future for a neighbor so close to our shores, and is committed to assisting Haiti’s development over the long term. Additional information about the U.S. government’s engagement in Haiti is available in Attachments H, K, M, N and O.

12/31/16  Attachment A: Table of Contents
12/31/16  Attachment B
12/31/16  Attachment C
12/31/16  Attachment D
12/31/16  Attachment E
12/31/16  Attachment F
12/31/16  Attachment G
12/31/16  Attachment H
12/31/16  Attachment I
12/31/16  Attachment J
12/31/16  Attachment K
12/31/16  Attachment L
12/31/16  Attachment M
12/31/16  Attachment N
12/31/16  Attachment O