Haiti progresses but health issues and poverty remain
By Erol Avdovic, Monday, March 24, 2014
UNITED NATIONS – Notwithstanding severe adversity, from a devastating earthquake to cholera, Haiti is recovering and the hope is that recent gains in the political sphere will only speedup the recovery.
Prizing inter-Haitian dialogue as an important political victory for the long troubled Caribbean country and an “unprecedented step in Haitian political history,” Sandra Honoré, head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said security and stability must be sustained through the rule of law and good governance.
But there is still a long way before the country reaches economic sustainability and consolidates the democratic process, Honoré told the Security Council on Monday.
There are also very serious health concerns, since “Haiti still has the highest number of cholera cases in the world,” Honoré said. While the number of suspected cholera cases has been reduced significantly every year from 352,033 cases in 2011 to 58,608 cases in 2013, “more needs to be done,” she said.
To combat the disease the decades of under-investment in basic systems for safe water, hygiene, sanitation and healthcare have to be addressed, Honoré said.
The UN in Haiti has developed a two-year, $68 million initiative in support of the Government’ s 10-year National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera.
Talking about the economic path of recovery, gains made in the stabilization of Haiti “should be preserved with the support of MINUSTAH,” Honoré said
With post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation, Haiti’s economic growth rate last year was 4.3 percent, according to the UN.
There is a reason for “cautious optimism and renewed hope,” Honoré told the council, noting the growth statistics.
But the overall positive climate of recovery felt in Haiti does not just stop at the economy, according to the UN. It is also seen in political trends. Haitian Parliament and political parties have already launched discussions on democratic governance, elections and amendments to the Constitution.
On March 14th the so called El Rancho Accord was formally signed, stipulating that long-delayed local, municipal and partial senatorial elections will be combined and held by the end of 2014.
“The March 14th accord emanating from the inter-Haitian dialogue, has prepared a path toward inclusive and transparent elections to be held later this year, a sine qua non for the continuous functioning of Parliament in January 2015,” Honoré said.
Further progress is expected in the electoral function, human rights and police development to enhance civil security.
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