June 18, 2011
Assessing Progress in Haiti Act HR 1016 – Haiti Advocacy Working Group

Members of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG), a coalition of approximately 30 US-based human rights and faith-based organizations, is circulating a letter to members of the US Senate to support HR1016, a bill to strengthen reporting and oversight of the use of US aid to spur a just, equitable reconstruction process in Haiti.

HR1016, which passed the House unanimously, is under review in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Senator Landrieu (LA) and Senator Kerry (MA) are members.  Please feel free to add your signature and send the letter to your own members of Congress, who will consider the bill after it is reported out by the Senate Committee.  (See a list of committee members here http://foreign.senate.gov/)  Many thanks to Kysseline Jean-Mary Cherestal, Esq. for circulating the letter.

 

Dear Senator Landrieu,

We first want to thank you for the attention you have helped bring to crucial Haiti recovery issues, such as the plight of Haitian orphans. We ask that you use your leadership yet again to help garner support for a Senate version of H.R 1016, the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, legislation that can help assess the effectiveness of aid for the most vulnerable. This bi-partisan bill passed the House with unanimous consent on May 10, 2011 and is  currently pending review in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. With your leadership we hope that the Senate version of the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act can be rapidly passed with bi-partisan support.


As faith-based, humanitarian, human rights, Diaspora and development organizations working for Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction, we view this bill as an important reporting mechanism for guaranteeing greater oversight and accountability in the U.S. government’s Haiti aid efforts, at no additional cost to the American tax payer. The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act requires the President to report on the status of post-earthquake humanitarian, reconstruction and development efforts in Haiti as well as on-going U.S. government programs. The reporting requirements in the House-passed version will provide impetus for USAID and the U.S. Special Coordinator for Haiti to assess progress in the following areas: the protection of vulnerable populations, including internally displaced women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities; the improvement of water, sanitation, and access to emergency healthcare; U.S. and international engagement with Haitian ministries, local authorities, and Haitian citizens; coordination among U.S. government agencies and coordination between the U.S. government and U.N. agencies, international financial institutions and other bilateral donors; Haiti’s capacity to safely receive and integrate Haitian nationals living abroad; the participation of Haitian grassroots groups, civil society networks and the Haitian Diaspora in recovery and reconstruction efforts.


The urgent need for this accountability legislation was reflected in the April 19, 2011 Inspector General’s (IG) Audit of USAID’s efforts to provide shelter in Haiti. The IG reported that USAID and its grantees were not monitoring performance on two key, self-selected indicators: a) the percentage of the affected population receiving shelter and b) the percentage of the budget spent in the local community. The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, however, could help incentivize the measuring of such indicators and encourage more direct consultation with a representative range of Haitian grassroots and civil society groups in order to do so.


In light of the recent inauguration of President Michel Martelly, the beginning of the 2011 hurricane season and rains that have caused a sharp rise in cholera-related illnesses, now is an important time to recommit the US government to high aid accountability and encourage direct consultation with the Haitian government, Diaspora, grassroots and civil society groups. This holds especially true for disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures and the current transition from humanitarian relief to longer-term reconstruction.


As a strong advocate for aid accountability and the protection of vulnerable populations, your office is well-placed to spearhead the effort to pass this legislation in the Senate. We would be happy to meet with your office in the near future to further discuss this urgent matter. Thank you so much for considering our request.


Sincerely,

Andora Project, The
ActionAid USA
American Friends Service Committee
American Jewish World Service
Church World Service
Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. / Haitian Women of Miami
Haiti Diaspora Federation
Haiti Innovation and Intellectual Property Association (HIIPA)
Haiti Support Group
Haiti Renewal Alliance
Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition (HAGC)
Haitian Diaspora Federation
Haitian League, The
Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia
International Housing Coalition
International Rescue Committee
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Jesuit Refugee Service / USA
Mennonite Central Committee US Washington Office
Mobilize for Haiti
National Haitian American Elected Officials Network
National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians
TransAfrica Forum
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Methodist Church