Haiti’s Nov. 28 elections offer an opportunity for the quake-ravaged nation to take charge of its development and move away from aid dependency, according to a top United Nations official.
Edmond Mulet, U.N. envoy to Haiti, said Haitians should use the U.N.-backed polls as a chance to counter perceptions that the tiny Caribbean nation is weak, unstable and dominated by foreign aid groups.
“Nobody wants to reconstruct Haiti the way it was, we have to do it completely differently now,” Mulet was quoted by Reuters as saying.
He, however, pointed out that the international community has contributed to the weak capacity of the Haitian government.
“We have created these parallel structures, in education, in health services, in all sorts of responsibilities that the Haitians should be assuming themselves,” he said. “We, the international community, have to change the way we work in Haiti.”
Mulet underscored the need to enforce the rule of law in Haiti, which he said is one of the major challenges that the new Haitian president will need to deal with.
“I really firmly believe that all the reconstruction effort, all the investments, humanitarian assistance, everything the peacekeeping mission has done for many years now, everything will be in vain unless the Haitians themselves lead in creating the rule of law in Haiti,” he said.
Mulet added: “We have to work with the government and through the government, with Haitian institutions, if we want to build those capacities.”