Read/ React: "How to Help Rebuild Haiti"

Five experts weigh in on what can be done to get Haiti on its feet...

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Over on Foreign Policy, five experts tackle the question of what needs to be done to rebuild Haiti. A snippet from each below:

Paul Collier and Jean-Louis Warnholz - "Endow a Multibillion-Dollar Haiti Fund"

In Haiti, neither relief nor reconstruction will be enough: Restoration should not be the goal. The earthquake is not the first natural catastrophe that Haiti has faced. In 2008, four hurricanes wreaked devastation. Since 1994, five major natural catastrophes, an average of one every three years, have hit Haiti's population centers. Worse, these spikes of disaster have punctuated a long-term downward drift. To exit from this spiral, relief is not enough: A coordinated and targeted multibillion dollar Haiti fund now has to bring real hope of change to the country's youth.

Michele Wucker - Let Haitians Take the Lead

One of the clearest mistakes of past development efforts in Haiti was that there was never enough money available to meet Haiti's needs. Much of the money that Haiti did receive went to repaying debt and shoring up the currency, and too little was left over to invest in education, health care, and other essential infrastructure. Bosnia and Kosovo, to cite just two examples, received five times more aid per capita to rebuild after their conflicts than Haiti did after the Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government was returned to power in 1994. Haiti needs a significant long-term commitment from international donors, which should include debt forgiveness to maximize the amount of funds being invested. To avoid other past mistakes, plans for recovery must actively involve Haitians and use the rebuilding as a chance to engage Haitian civil society.

Clare Lockhart - Focus on the Structure of Aid

[O]ne key challenge is providing appropriate direction, enabling the right decisions to be made. This requires the careful design of a management system that combines the discipline of command and control -- and maintenance of order -- with flexibility to respond to continuously evolving circumstances. This task will fall to U.S. leadership under the ambassador, with the military under Lt.-Gen. Ken Keen providing the backbone of transport and logistical response. Although money, people, and supplies might be plentiful, the greatest challenges will be information gathering, sense-making, and careful logistical planning to match those resources to the greatest needs.

Dan Schnitzer - "Avoid the Old Poverty Traps"

clean energy technology could provide a way to build a new Haiti that avoids some of the poverty traps of the old system.

Although it may not seem significant, a concerted effort to provide a "subsistence level" of power for a large fraction of the population, rather than an abundant amount for a select few, will have a profound impact on Haiti's renewal. This is because the Human Development Index, a quantitative indicator of well-being, has diminishing marginal returns on per capita electricity consumption. In other words, the first few kilowatt-hours of electricity consumed by an individual have the biggest impact on his quality of life, and they are also the most valuable to a Haitian consumer. Thus, for Haiti, a small solar light or system can improve lives drastically -- far more cost-effectively and reliably than a centralized electricity grid plagued by unreliability and high costs.

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