Project on Policy Advocacy and Facilitation
Late in 1997, PICCR was asked by the International
Peace Academy (IPA) to participate in a series of Consultations
amongst Haitians concerning the political impasse in Haiti. PICCR's experience
of facilitation in conflict situations was one source upon which IPA sought
to draw in order to provide a perspective to the Haitian participants
in their attempts to grapple with a political crisis which had stalled
economic development in that country.
PICCR's Chair 's Terje Rød-Larsen participated in the second and
third dialogue Consultations in 1998 and visited Haiti briefly in 1998.
PICCR's Programme Director Mark Taylor participated in all five Consultations
beginning in January 1998 and has visited Haiti several times as a co-director
of the project along with IPA and the Canadian
Centre for International Studies and Co-operation (CECI). From
mid-1998, both Canada and Norway agreed to provide financial support to
the project, with Norway supporting PICCR's involvement in the IPA initiative.
At the final Consultation in June of 1999, participants asked, both informally
and formally that IPA, CECI and PICCR continue to support the process
through the provision of advisors. IPA and PICCR have done so, although
at a reduced level of involvement. Despite the conclusion of the project,
participants continued meeting on a monthly and sometimes bi-weekly basis.
With the advent of the election campaign in early 2000, the meetings in
Port-au-Prince were put on hold while a number of participants became
active in the elections in one way or another.
While the overall objective of the dialogue process has been to improve
Haitian policy-making in general and, in particular, with respect to social
and economic development, a number of lessons have been learned by the
sponsoring organisations.The IPA project was based on the assumption that
the restoration or re-creation of constructive political discourse in
Haiti is a necessary condition for setting national development priorities
and for addressing the political paralysis which had gripped the country
between 1997 and 1999. The project's strategy was to contribute to re-building
political discourse among some elements of the political classes. However,
the leadership of the most significant political grouping, LaFanmille
Lavalas, chose to remain outside the process.
The dialogue process did manage to promote political dialogue in concrete
ways and with some tangible results. However, Dialogue among the political
classes is not a sufficient condition of democratic renewal. Popular trust
and confidence in Haiti's political institutions and processes has been
undermined by their failure of to deliver an improvement in governance.
Haiti's political classes have been unable to agree on or implement economic
and social policies that might deliver an improvement in living conditions
or deliver an improvement in the social performance of the state. The
extreme poverty of Haiti de-legitimises elite-based efforts at political
and economic governance and the political fabric is such that the progressive
agendas of mass based movements are compromised by internal divisions
and/or elite power struggles which hinder implementation. The IPA evaluation
of the Project found "
a lack of communication between the political
class and a vast majority of the population
the political class has
hardly ever felt the need to articulate a substantive political discourse."
IPA's project evaluation report outlines the projects objectives and some
of the challenges which remain.
Fafo's involvement in Haiti's social and economic development expanded
in early 2000 with the launch of a living conditions survey (LCS) project
by Fafo, Institute for Applied International
Studies (AIS). CIS is working closely with the Institut haïtien
de statistique et d'informatique (IHSI) and UNDP. The project is part
of Norwegian assistance to Haiti.