UN advisory group wants international community to work closely with new gov’t in Haiti

May 15, 2017
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Marc-André Blanchard (Photo: CMC)

UNITED NATIONS, United States (CMC) — Following its recent visit to Haiti, a United Nations advisory group on the French-speaking Caribbean country has called on the international community to work closely with the new government and capitalise on the opportunities that have presented there.“Haiti now has a government and a president that has been elected – a government that has been put in place and which seems to be functioning,” Marc-André Blanchard, chair of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc advisory group on Haiti and the Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN, told a press conference at the UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.

“They have priorities that are very interesting and aligned with the [UN]2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, so there is an opportunity for action,” he added.

Blanchard further highlighted that the focus in the impoverished country, hit hard by a number of natural disasters, is moving from humanitarian assistance towards development, stating that the international community should collaborate with the government to ensure that the priorities set by the county can be implemented.

The Advisory Group has been mandated by ECOSOC to closely follow and provide advice on the long-term development strategy of Haiti to promote socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability.

It conducted a mission to the country from May 8-10, during which it met with a broad range of stakeholders, including government officials, parliamentarians, civil society and development agencies on the ground, the UN said.

Blanchard recalled the contributions made by the UN mission in the country, known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH, and noted that, while it was deployed at a difficult time, it “was actually able to achieve a lot.”

“Everybody agrees that the country is in a better situation now than it was five years ago [and that] the country is more secure now than it was a few years ago,” he said.However, Blanchard added that some security concerns, issues with institutions and corruption remained.

He underscored that the transition of MINUSTAH to a new mission, the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), with the added focus on the rule of law, governance and institutions is “the right one for the future involvement of the UN.”

The 17-member Advisory Group comprises Canada (chair), Argentina, the Bahamas, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and the United States.

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