After moments of political turmoil, presidential and legislative elections took place on 7 February 2006. René Préval was declared winner with a five year term of office. A new government was formed, headed by Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis. At a series of meetings with the new Prime Minister and with his chief of staff, the integration of demographic variables into economic and social planning was discussed. In fact, their presentation of general policy (approved unanimously by the parliament) mentions population data as well as its impact on the country’s development outlook, calling for further works on demographic variables.
Prime Minister Alexis, through his representative at the ceremonies on World Population Day (11 July 2006), formally authorized the implementation of the National Population Policy, which had been prepared and published on 11 July 2000 by the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).
With regard to the contribution to the preparation of the strategy paper, attention should be drawn, in light of the results achieved, to the fact that the two previous exercises, i.e. the Framework of Intermediate Co-operation (CCI) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP-1) failed to take into account population dimensions or international migration, particularly the importance of remittances in the national reality.
It should be mentioned that the draft paper on poverty reduction was “nationalized” to a certain extent inasmuch as it was proposed as a National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy Paper (DNSCRP). In addition to having participatory thematic workshops, the paper resulted in the pursuit of departmental consultations, co-ordinated by the Ministry of Planning and External Co-operation (MPCE), and made provision for giving poor people a voice through workshops in the twenty poorest communes, as defined through the poverty map published by the MPCE.
In the preparation of the PSA, political dialogue was initiated at a meeting of the members of the Technical Secretariat responsible for the preparation of the DNSCRP, to present evidence of the need to mainstream population dimension, in particular the process of the second demographic transition and its economic, social and environmental impacts.
In this context, the Technical Secretariat organized a seminar on 21 May 2007 on “The Integration of Population Issues into Poverty Reduction Strategies” which had been attended by ministry representatives and leading figures from civil society. The seminar was facilitated by UNFPA representatives. Three presentations, advocating for mainstreaming population issues into Poverty Reduction Strategies, were held: 1) “Demographic Transition, Vulnerability and Inequalities”, 2) “The Focal Points of Urban Concentration and International Migration”, and 3) “Population and Poverty – Public Policy Proposals and Practical Recommendations”. In addition, the Ministry of Economy and Finances (MEF) through the Haitian Institute of Statistics and Information (IHSI) presented “Recent Population Data with regard to Poverty”.
Based on this initial seminar, dialogue continued among other public and private actors. As a joint effort with UNICEF and the World Bank, a seminar on “Childhood and Youth in the context of Poverty Reduction” was held, with presentations focusing on “Childhood and Youth. Inequality as a Life and Death Issue”. The seminar emphasized the importance of investing in youth given that 60 % of the Haitian population is under the age of 25 years.
Based on ongoing consultations with the government and civil society on the preparation of the strategy, and in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a debate on international migration and remittances had been initiated, “Haitian Emigration: Positive and Perverse Effects” was the topic of a presentation.
In view of raising awareness regarding population issues, and disseminating and incorporating data into development strategies, the National Network for Population and Development (NNPD), an institutional mechanism made up of various ministries and public and private organizations, organized a number of joint activities with UNFPA, such as the launch of the State of World Population Report (2006) (SWOP) and a workshop on “The implementation of the National Population Policy: the case of migration”. “Migration and Gender: the Role of Female Migrants in Haiti”; “Haitian Emigration: Volume, Implications and Perspectives”, and “Women and Migration in the National Population Policy” were among the discussed issues. Also, the NNPD organized the World Seminar on Habitat: “Management of Information for better Urban Planning”.
The Minister for Planning and External Co-operation attended the launch of the 2007 report on the State of the World Population (SWOP), presented by UNFPA representative, Tania Patriota. Furthermore, a workshop on urbanization was held, with a focus on the following issues: “Urban Development in Haiti”, “The Urban Explosion: the Case of the Metropolitan Area of Port-au-Prince”, and “Land Management in Haiti: Policy Considerations”.
Based on these diverse dialogues and national empirical evidence, the Technical Secretariat of the National Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (DNSCRP) requested a technical note including population trends as well as challenges and opportunities. Policy recommendations and a chart on the current status of the MDGs, including estimates through the end of the current government should be incorporated into the (DNSCRP) as well. At the same time, a brochure was produced on the current status of the MDGs with projections to 2010 (at the end of the presidential and parliamentary mandate) and 2015 as well as recommendations concerning progress achieved regarding the MDGs.
A major outreach effort has been conducted with civil society, academics, political leaders, mayors, students and diverse sectors in the context of the activities of the Petion Bolívar Centre. These discussions focused on the following issues: “What is the Future for the Metropolitan Area of Port-au-Prince?”, “Urbanization and Land Management”, and “The Impact of International Migration on Haiti”. Panelists at these proceedings included current ministers of the government, members of the central bank, ex ministers and experts from a number of different sectors.
These presentations resulted in the fact that communications media (radio and television) have begun to devote more space to the cross-cutting nature of population themes.
Key UNFPA documents: “Manual to Population Situation Analysis”; “Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth” (SWOP 2007); “Population Situation Analysis: Latin America and the Caribbean (PSA-LAC); and “The Case for Investing in Young People as a part of National Poverty Reduction Strategies”.
There is a need to address the population and development issues that are of importance to the government and the main political and social actors, as well as their relationships with the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Population trends, the demographic bonus, issues such as youth, spatial distribution, urbanization, internal migration and land management; international migration and remittances as well as projected population trends, should be based on quality data from population censuses and the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys. The Manual is a valuable reference tool in view of its structure, its guidance, as well as its new approach linking the “demographic transition with inequalities, poverty, and a rights-based perspective”. It thus makes it possible to diagnose the situation, identify target groups and justify the importance of mainstreaming population issues into development plans and programmes. Moreover, the substantial contribution made by the Country Support Team as well as supporting literature was necessary in the development of arguments.
111 Prepared by the Haiti Country Office, September 2007.