Thank you, Mr President and welcome to the Council. I thank Nigel Fisher for his interim leadership of MINUSTAH and welcome the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sandra Honoré, and thank her for briefing today.
Since our last debate on Haiti, we welcome Haiti’s progress in assuming responsibility for its own security and in fostering an environment that can attract sustainable development. And we recognise the important contribution MINUSTAH is making.
We welcome the transfer of responsibility for security in some regions to the Haitian National Police (HNP) in line with the core objectives of the 2013 – 2016 Consolidation Plan. We note the advances made in Haitian National Police promotion, vetting and training, and would like to see continued progress in this area.
We are pleased to see Haiti building partnerships for sustainable economic development and taking an increasing role in regional fora. This is crucial because economic investment will create the basis for Haiti’s future stability.
Notwithstanding the progress that continues to be made, we remain concerned that delays to crucial political and democratic processes are holding back the country’s development and stability.
The continued delay in the holding of planned elections, and the negative impact that could have on the ability of the political institutions to function, is of particular concern. We call on the Government of Haiti to broker a political agreement that will allow elections to be held this year. Elections are vital to establish political stability and to build the trust and confidence of the Haitian people, the international community and potential investors.
An attractive investment climate will be strengthened by Haiti’s ability to police itself. We welcome the progress made by the Haitian National Police towards reaching the target of 15,000 active police officers by 2016. But further efforts are required to build their institutional and operational capabilities. As highlighted by the Secretary-General’s report, increased recruitment must be accompanied by improvements in strategic planning, administration, internal affairs and training. For the Haitian National Police to be effective, there must also be reform of the justice sector to create an independent and impartial judiciary at regional and national levels.
MINUSTAH should focus its resources and efforts on supporting the Government of Haiti in meeting its obligations to improve the political and security situation in the country. This means getting the configuration of troops and police right. So while we recognise the positive results of the additional work undertaken by the mission’s engineering teams in supporting quick impact projects (including road repair, well-drilling, draining and canal cleaning, water distribution and the erection of prefabricated units) we believe that these tasks should now be handed over to others; where possible the local private sector. Where national actors do not yet have the capacity to take on these tasks, all elements of the UN system in Haiti need to work together to build that capacity.
We believe that MINUSTAH’s continued presence in Haiti remains necessary for now. However, we support the reconfiguration of resources set out in the Consolidation Plan for 2013-2016 and are encouraged to see that the withdrawal of military peacekeepers has not been detrimental to the security situation in the areas vacated. We support the recommendation to continue, as the situation allows, a balanced withdrawal of troops. We also welcome the Secretary - General’s decision to explore the option of a transition to a smaller, more focused assistance Mission by 2016, and look forward to hearing more about his proposal. Any significant change to the mission’s configuration should come with credible benchmarks to ensure that the Haitian government has the support and capacity to shoulder increasing responsibility.
UN presence in Haiti must adapt to changing circumstances and to the changing challenges. Challenges will continue, but will increasingly be related to governance and economic development. The nature of the UN presence should adjust accordingly, shifting the balance from peacekeeping to development assistance. The Secretary-General’s report and its recommendations provide a good basis for that transition.
MINUSTAH has made some progress over the past 12 months and we thank all those who have contributed. Looking forward, efforts should focus on further improving the security situation and helping break the political deadlock, building the conditions for stability, development and growth. MINUSTAH must ensure the burden of progress is shared with the government and other partners and, where appropriate, transferred to them. In June the United Kingdom opened its first Embassy in Port-au-Prince since 1966. This is a visible symbol to the Government of Haiti of British support for them on the road to the stability and prosperity which they and their people sorely need and deserve.
Thank you, Mr President.