Aid Failures in Haiti: Not A Big Surprise

On a somewhat different subject, but relevant for South Florida–

The procurement procedures of the international organizations (the UN System) and multilateral development banks (World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank) and bilateral aid agencies (USAID, EU) have deeply ingrained historical procedures that involve strict control and supervision of the project design, execution format and competitive multi-stage procurement procedures that allow for extensive frequent and detailed challenges by the losers during the competitive bidding process.   This slows down the implementation of projects and may delay them by years.  (The procurement procedures of the City of Coral Gables may be considered light weight and efficient by international standards).   International procedures and the culture of control that exists in multilateral and bilateral institutions will make the process of reconstruction in Haiti very difficult indeed.

As co-chairs of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, [President] Clinton and [Prime Minister] Bellerive have been expressing frustrations with not just donors, but also the World Bank — the trustee in charge of managing a multidonor trust fund dedicated to the reconstruction.

The source of the friction is what the World Bank’s role should be and the projected costs for small projects. Both Clinton and Bellerive say that the fees charged by the bank for administering the reconstruction trust funds are too high for small-scale projects.

The procedures, the commission complains, are too bureaucratic and further threaten to slow down the rebuilding by adding months to the approval process with “redundant technical reviews.” The commission would like uniform vetting procedures.

via Leaders look to end dispute over Haiti earthquake aid – Haiti – MiamiHerald.com.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in financing development programs and projects

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