Designing Environmental Restoration  Programs in Politically Fragile States:  Lessons from Haiti

Designing Environmental Restoration Programs in Politically Fragile States: Lessons from Haiti

Source: Alex Fischer and Marc A. Levy, 2011

Countries: Haiti

Topics: Conflict Prevention, Cooperation, Peace and Security Operations, Renewable Resources

Added: 28/04/2014


Haiti is a fragile state influenced by extreme poverty, a weak government, high natural disaster risk, and severe environmental degradation (de Sherbinin 1996; Howard 1998; Murray and Bannister 2004; ICG 2009). These elements of fragility are linked in a perverse web of interactions. Natural disasters prevent sustained economic growth, limit execution of strategic planning, and undermine poverty reduction programs. In turn, political instability results in shifting development strategies and fragmented ecosystem restoration initiatives. Political, economic, and environmental shocks weaken community-led efforts and have repeatedly derailed otherwise well-designed programs.


Short-term aid interventions in Haiti that focus on natural disaster relief and security have failed to patch these multiple areas of vulnerability and reverse the negative cycles that characterize Haiti’s stagnant growth and environmental degradation. The absence of sustained engagement around core development needs undermines environmental stability and sustainable growth, which are critical for conflict prevention. Unfortunately, between 2002 and 2008, close to 40 percent of monetary aid has been allocated to public security and 12 percent to humanitarian recovery sectors, thereby leaving efforts for long-term development and sustained strategic planning underfunded. According to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, humanitarian aid as a portion of official development assistance (ODA) increased from 0.2 percent in 2002 to over 20 percent in 2008 (OECD 2011). This represents an increase from US$490,000 in 2002 to US$175.47 million in 2008. The funds classified as ODA increased from US$209 million in 2002 to US$694.36 million in 2008. The United Nations peacekeeping operations reported a 2008 budget increase from US$574 million to close to US$1 billion in 2010. This represents a significant increase in funding for peacekeeping operations since the current UN peacekeeping mission was launched in Haiti in 2004 (UNSC 2009; OECD 2011).


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