USAID welcomes Haiti oversight legislation

A Haitian man helps remove rubble from a damaged building in January 2010. A upcoming law voted by the U.S. congress will enable more accountability of different reconstruction programs in Haiti. Photo by: Robert J. Fluegel / U.S. Navy / CC BY

The U.S. Agency for International Development welcomes the U.S. Congress’s new attempt to assert greater oversight of assistance and reconstruction programs in Haiti.

The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2014 passed by unanimous vote in the House on Friday and is now pending U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature to become law. If passed, the act would require the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual report “on the status of post-earthquake recovery and development efforts in Haiti.” Among the reporting requirements will be amounts “committed, obligated and expended” on programs at both the prime and subprime awardee levels for all awards greater than $25,000.

“Generally we do not comment on pending legislation, but it is important to note in this instance that USAID welcomes independent audits and evaluations of development assistance that complement our own results-driven monitoring and evaluation efforts,” Matthew Herrick, an agency spokesperson, explained in a written comment to Devex.

The act would also require the Secretary of State to send Congress a “three-year Haiti strategy based on rigorous assessments” within 180 days of its law’s enactment. That strategy, according to the bill — which has now passed through both legislative chambers — should focus on the Haitian government’s efforts in certain priority areas.

Among those are names corruption, rule of law, port capacity, the civilian police force and sustainable housing — as well as more private sector investments, including in the Caracol Industrial Park, a $300 million project partially supported by the U.S. government that has sputtered.

The bill does not explicitly name poverty reduction as one of the central strategic concerns the U.S. government should help address in the country, despite the fact that 58 percent of Haitians live in poverty and roughly a quarter in extreme poverty, according to data from the United Nations.

Do you agree with these strategic priorities for U.S.-led recovery efforts in Haiti? Please let us know by sending an email to news@devex.com or leaving a comment below.

Read more on U.S. aid reform online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Igoe michael 1

    Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.

Join the Discussion