A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
The humanitarian response undertaken in Haiti after the earthquake that struck on 12 January 2010 has been one of the most complex ever. However, as the first anniversary of the quake approaches, the Haitian state, together with the international community, is making little progress in reconstruction.
The Haitian authorities need to show greater strategic leadership and take decisions that reflect the priority needs of the Haitian population. They need to initiate public infrastructure projects that put people to work and build skills; support people to return home, or allocate land for new houses; and invest in agriculture. The international community should do much more to support these efforts by increasing the capacity and accountability of Haitian institutions rather than sidelining them.
The new Haitian government should:
- Show real political leadership and urgency in reconstructing the country, including by developing a public works program that creates jobs and builds skills; supporting homeless families to return or resettle in appropriate locations; implementing social protection programs such as cash transfer and micro-credit programs; and investing in agriculture and Haitian businesses;
- Put measures in place to reduce corruption and improve accountability, and speed up the decentralization of power to local authorities.
International donor governments, the UN, and international NGOs should:
- Work far more closely and effectively with the Haitian authorities, reinforcing their capacity and working to improve the performance of ministries;
- Donors should release funds promised at the New York conference in March 2010 and improve transparency related to pledges and disbursements. They should co-operate much more closely with each other and should harmonize policies and priorities;
- Major stakeholders, including Bill Clinton, should urgently review the workings of the IHRC and speed up delivery of its mandate.
The Haitian authorities, donor governments, the UN, and international NGOs should:
- Consult, communicate and effectively involve Haitian citizens in the reconstruction of their country and ensure recovery programs reflect their priority needs.