Haiti Reconstruction Panel May Cause Delays, Development NGOs Warn

International aid organizations working in Haiti are concerned the recently approved panel to guide the country’s earthquake recovery will create a bottleneck in the reconstruction work.

The Haitian parliament approved in mid-April the creation of a panel that will decide how the more than USD5 billion donor pledges for Haiti’s reconstruction will be spent over the next two years. The commission, which will be headed by Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max-Bellerive and U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton, is not expected to be operating for at least three more months, Reuters says.

“The biggest question at this point in time is there’s nothing really there and so we’re in the process of trying to help [ensure] that what eventually stands up will function well,” InterAction President Sam Worthington said. “Of course our biggest concern is a fear of a bottleneck of process.”

InterAction is an alliance of approximately 188 international nongovernment organizations.

Worthington indicated the group is worried that urgent reconstruction work will be delay because every project will have to be approved by the panel.

“We don’t want someone directing, ‘You spend your money here, you spend your money there’, but rather [asking], ‘How do you fit within a strategy and spend your money appropriately, and how do you align yourself with that strategy?’” Worthington said.

InterAction is pushing for the panel to approve strategies instead of individual projects.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.