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Home Publications Blogs Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch Paul Collier: New Approach to NGOs Needed

Paul Collier: New Approach to NGOs Needed

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Monday, 08 March 2010 14:50
Paul Collier writes for the Independent about the role of NGOs in Haiti's recovery and the need for a new approach to aid. Collier is a professor at Oxford and the author of "Haiti: From Natural Catastrophe to Economic Security", prepared for the UN Secretary General last year. Echoing both Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, and Haitian President Rene Preval, Collier writes:
As the NGOs further scale-up, the already limited capacity of the state has been decimated. Essential as the NGOs have been, this imbalance threatens to leave the state marginalised in the core task of basic service provision.
Collier adds:
The practical consequences of the marginalisation of the state are that, despite their furious denials, NGOs are largely unaccountable and uncoordinated. Inevitably, accountability follows from money. NGOs depend not upon satisfying their users, but upon appealing effectively for donations from aid agencies and ordinary citizens in rich countries.
In order to combat these problems, Collier suggests the creation of an agency, run jointly by donors and the Haitian government that would oversee the distribution of aid, making sure it got to the right projects in the right places.

These recommendations strike a similar tone to the ones laid out by a group of human rights and aid organizations with a long histroy in Haiti. Monika Kalra Varma, executive director of the RFK Center told IPS:
"But rhetoric and goodwill go only so far. Forging a real partnership with the Haitian people will require a total change in the culture of delivering aid to Haiti. Yet if that kind of partnership is not achieved, we will have more of the failures we have seen for decades."
Inter-Press Service continues:
Aid to Haiti has been marked by frequent interruptions, particularly in assistance from the U.S., for political and ideological reasons. Within Haiti, massive and continuing government and private corruption has siphoned off large chunks of funding and misdirected money to people who didn't need help.

Development experts say aid to Haiti has been aid to the light-skinned elites of Haiti.

Tags: coordination | ngos | paul collier

 

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