Ambassador Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica briefed the Security Council March 19, on the recent Council mission to Haiti. The four-day visit focused on fomenting national dialogue and international support in order to meet coming challenges in security, stability, recovery and development.
“The mission also corroborated the Haitian state’s lack of capacity to control its borders and territorial waters, which could potentially stimulate the development of illegal activities. The start of MINUSTAH’s maritime and air patrols, in support of the national police, should improve the situation; but these actions must be complemented by other regional and bilateral initiatives,” said Ambassador Urbina.
Urbina told the Council that the Haitian state lacks the capacity to control its borders and territorial waters, “which could potentially stimulate the development of illegal activities.” He said that the start of maritime and air patrols by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) “should improve the situation” but that this actions “must be complemented by other regional and bilateral initiatives.”
The Security Council delegation visited the naval base in Fort-Liberté to assess progress on border management, including an initiative to develop a free-trade zone near the border with the Dominican Republic.
Regarding social and economic matters Urbina said that current levels of extreme poverty “are incompatible with the goal of attaining stability in the short term,” stressing the importance of continued support from the international community “in order to implement a reconstruction and development strategy for the country.”
“It seemed evident to the mission that current levels of extreme poverty, with 80 percent of the population subsisting on less than two dollars a day and 50 percent with less than one dollar, are incompatible with the goal of attaining stability in the short term. Our Haitian interlocutors indicated the importance of continuing to work with the international community in order to implement a reconstruction and development strategy for the country,” said Ambassador Urbina.
The delegation also visited a Levi Strauss jean factory in the free trade zone in Ouanaminthe, near the Dominican border.
Haitian Ambassador Léo Mérorès, in his address to the Council said that his country is still suffering from the hurricanes that struck Haiti in 2008.
“We are still suffering from the four successive hurricanes which struck Haiti in 2008. I believe that it is right to underscore here that the weak progress achieved in the economic field in 2007, was battered by these hurricanes,” said Ambassador Mérorès.
Haiti, already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, was devastated by four successive storms in as many weeks last year, leaving 800 people dead and another one million either homeless or badly affected. The country was also hit hard by the spike in commodities prices last year as it attempted to recover from earlier natural disasters.