2. Whole-of-government coordination led by the centre of government in Haiti

Recent decades have been marked by the emergence of complex and multidimensional challenges, such as the climate crisis, natural disasters, violent extremism and waves of migration (Lægreid, P. , Sarapuu, K. , Rykkja, L.H. and Randma-Liiv, 2015[1]). Solving these problems is particularly difficult because they arise from complex interdependent systems that go beyond traditional policy domains (Lægreid, P. , Sarapuu, K. , Rykkja, L.H. and Randma-Liiv, 2015[1]). Haiti is one of the countries most exposed to natural hazards, with more than 93% of its area and more than 96% of its population exposed to two or more hazards (Banque mondiale, 2018[2]). Between 1976 and 2012, catastrophic natural events have cost the Haitian economy nearly 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) per year (Banque mondiale, 2018[2]). Haiti is also experiencing large waves of emigration, with the number of Haitians living abroad peaking at 1.2 million in 2015. Although remittances account for about 25 per cent of Haiti's GDP, emigration is still an under-analysed development factor (OECD/INURED, 2017[3]). Addressing this issue requires not only specific migration and development initiatives, but also the inclusion of migration in the design, implementation and evaluation of all relevant sectoral policies. (OECD/INURED, 2017[3]) The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the vital importance of an effective crisis management coordination system, capable of developing and implementing a coherent response across different levels and silos of government (OECD, 2020[4]).

Addressing these transversal issues requires an integrated and coordinated governance approach that overcomes traditional administrative barriers, so as to design, implement and evaluate multidimensional policy responses through strong and sustainable coordination between administrative units to break down policy silos (OECD, 2020[5]). Without proper coordination between various units, managers may have to make decisions based on erroneous, biased or incomplete information. The resulting policies and services are then likely to fail because they have not been properly assessed in terms of costs, potential benefits and impacts, consistency with existing policies and substantive and procedural legality. The efforts of different institutions may also be contradictory or reduplicating, resulting in a waste of public resources. Finally, a lack of coordination can place an additional burden on citizens by duplicating procedures and adding to bureaucratic processes. Good coordination is therefore seen as a means of creating better policies and services for citizens.

Administrative coordination has always been a challenge for the public sector (Seidman, 1997[6]), a challenge exacerbated by the increase in the size of governments (World Bank Group, 2018[7]) and the atomisation of administrative (Beuselinck, 2008[8]) (M. Alessandro, M. Lafuente and C. Santiso, 2013[9]) structures in recent decades. These phenomena are accompanied by an increase in the number of stakeholders and accordingly divergent interests in the decision-making process (Slack, E., 2007[10]). At the same time, the responsibilities of governments are increasing and becoming more complex (OECD, 2020[5]) (World Bank Group, 2018[7]). For this reason, over the past few decades, co-ordination between different sectors and institutional entities to ensure greater policy coherence has become increasingly important in many OECD and non-OECD countries. The development of stronger coordination mechanisms is now widely recognised as one of the catalysts of good public governance (OECD, 2020[5]).

Effective coordination requires more than the imposition of central government authority and control through a hierarchical system; a set of functional and institutional arrangements affect the ability of the centre of Government (CoG) to achieve the strategic goals defined in the State Modernisation Programme 2018-2023 (Programme de Modernisation de l’État - PME-2023) and the Strategic Development Plan for Haiti (Plan Stratégique de Développemend d’Haïti -PSDH).

Based on the results of the OECD questionnaire administered in the context of this project (hereinafter "the OECD questionnaire"), desk research and evidence gathered during two fact-finding missions, this chapter provides an overview of how policy-makers can create stronger means of co-ordination to successfully design, implement and evaluate public policy goals. The first part of this chapter assesses the legal, institutional and functional framework of government coordination in Haiti. The second part examines the implications of the official development assistance system on coordination and decision-making in Haiti. Some policy issues may require the involvement of different players within the central government, but also the involvement of other levels of government, which will be discussed in the following chapters. Thus, this chapter only analyses horizontal coordination, while chapter 4, devoted to multi-level governance, studies coordination between the different levels of government through the national-local axis, as well as horizontal coordination between the different local governments. Chapter 6 on open government deals with engagement and coordination with civil society organisations and citizens.

The Haitian government's ability to meet the commitments set out in its Strategic Development Plan for Haiti and its PME-2023 depends, in part, on better government coordination. Indeed, in the face of new transversal and multidimensional policy challenges such as the climate crisis, pandemics and economic crises, both OECD and non-OECD countries are increasingly adopting inter-ministerial policy responses (OECD, 2018[11]). These challenges require policy responses that call for an integrated and coherent approach, where implementation involves the contribution of a multiplicity of players, stakeholders, internal and external units and institutions, hence the need for strong and effective coordination. For this purpose, OECD countries have progressively strengthened the institutional and financial capacities of their centres of government (CoG).

The OECD defines the CoG as the highest level support structure for the executive branch of government (presidency, Office of the Prime Minister, and other strategic and transversal institutions and their equivalents) (OECD, 2018[12]). Its primary mandate is "to ensure coherent and prudent government decision-making and to promote strategic and coherent evidence-based policies"1 (OECD, 2014[13]) (see Box 2.1).

In a context in which the governance system is punctuated by socio-economic, political, environmental and humanitarian crises, strategic policy development and political leadership in Haiti is paramount. Many countries weakened by exogenous and endogenous shocks face strategic problems due to an inadequate planning and prioritisation framework for inter-ministerial coordination. In Liberia, for example, the civil wars between 1989 and 2003 killed several million people and devastated the country's economy and infrastructure. The Liberian CoG still faces many challenges, including: sub-optimal functioning that responds to needs in a reactive rather than proactive manner; a lack of standard operating procedures; difficulties in intra- and inter-ministerial cooperation and coordination; and problems in policy development and implementation resulting from the absence of a clear and coherent chain of command (Rocha Menocal and Sigrist, 2011[14]). In these fragile countries, including Haiti, the role of the centre of government and its ability to guide and coordinate the governmental agenda in this environment is accordingly essential.

In addition, centres of government in countries weakened by successive shocks face particular challenges, including increased polarisation, risks of violence, weak state capacity (including human resources), opaque decision-making processes and a plurality of players and institutions involved in policy-making processes (including the technical and financial partners). This means that centres of government cannot be understood in isolation; it is necessary to understand the broader political context and power dynamics in which individuals and institutions operate.

The Haitian executive branch is characterised by its “bicepheral” nature and is very dependent on the legislative branch. The Haitian Constitution of 1987 places executive power in the hands of the President of the Republic, who is the Head of State, and a government headed by a Prime Minister chosen from among the members of the party with the absolute majority in Parliament. The Prime Minister, in agreement with the President, chooses the members of his cabinet, and the President of the Republic chairs the Council of Ministers. Before decisions are taken by the Council of Ministers, proposals are considered by the Council of Government, a body established by tradition and chaired by the Prime Minister. By separating the functions of head of state and head of government, the 1987 Constitution attempts to break with the previous Constitutions that allowed the President to hold both functions. It is the government, and the government alone, that is responsible for conducting the nation's policy. This double-headed executive branch is also subject to greater control by the legislature. In order to limit authoritarian excesses, the 1987 Constitution gives Parliament broad prerogatives to initiate and pass laws and to control the government. In particular, it is up to the Parliament to approve the government's general policy statement presented by the Prime Minister.

As the executive branch is not unitary in Haiti, the support structure at the highest level of the state executive is itself divided into several institutions. The mandates of the latter are defined by their own organic laws or by decrees. The institutions of the centre of government in Haiti are the following:

  • The Presidency

    • The Cabinet of the President of the Republic2: this is an advisory body responsible for assisting the President in his duties. The Cabinet is composed of advisers, consultants and task managers, who may be called on by the President in all areas, as and when he deems necessary.

  • The General Secretariat of the Presidency3: this ensures the administrative and financial management of the services of the Presidency of the Republic. It organises the archives of the Presidency of the Republic to ensure the continuity of the State, handles the administrative follow-up of all decisions, in particular the bills adopted by the Council of Ministers as well as the laws voted by Parliament, manages the honorary decorations of the Republic, registers the deposit of all the texts of an official or legal nature and ensures, if necessary, their publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic when the presidential responsibility is engaged.

  • The Office of the Prime Minister

    • The Cabinet of the Prime Minister4: this is an advisory body responsible for assisting the Prime Minister in the conception, definition, development and implementation of major government policies.

    • The Secretariat General of the Office of the Prime Minister5: this is the body responsible for coordinating the various departments of the Office of the Prime Minister. It participates in the coordination and organisation of government work. It also deals with relations with Parliament and the institutions.

    • The Office of Human Resources Management (OMRH)6: this is responsible for monitoring the performance of the public service through regulation and evaluation. It formulates human resources development policies, regulates the functioning of the public service system and ensures the adaptation and harmonisation of administrative structures and procedures.

  • The General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers7 is the administrative support body of the Council of Ministers.

  • The Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation (Ministère de la Planification et Coopération Externe - MPCE)8: its mission is to direct, lead and guide the country's economic and social development planning, mobilise external resources and ensure coordination through the various sectoral structures in support of the national development effort.

  • Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF): 9 The fundamental mission of this ministry is to formulate and conduct the economic, financial and monetary policy of the Haitian State in order to promote the growth and socio-economic development of the country on a sustainable basis. It accordingly ensures the strategic management of the national economy. The MEF manages, in particular, the treasury, the national budget and the State's assets.

The institutions of the Haitian centre of government participate in various formal coordination mechanisms aimed at harmonising the overall policy of the State. In particular:

  • The High Council for Administration and the Public service (Conseil supérieur de l’administration et la function publique - CSAFP) is an entity created by the Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State, whose organisation and competences are governed by an order of 9 June 2017. It is responsible for examining general questions relating to the development, implementation and evaluation of actions related to the modernisation of the public service. The Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and comprises seven ministers. Its secretariat is managed by the OMRH.

  • The Forum of Directors-General, established by the Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State, is a collegiate body chaired by the Secretary-General of the Office of the Prime Minister and brings together all the Directors-General, at the initiative of the Council of Ministers. It is defined as an information body responsible for monitoring, evaluating and harmonising sectoral policies - among themselves and in relation to overall government policy.

  • The interministerial committees created by the Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State, including the Government Council.

In addition, the institutions of the centre of government facilitate various coordination networks at the working level. Particular mention should be made for the network of coordinators of the Studies and Programming Unit of the Public Investment Directorate within the MPCE, and the network, under the aegis of the OMRH, of the Ministerial Committees for Administrative Reform (Comités ministériels de la réforme administrative - CMRA), which, within each ministry, consist of three people, including the head of the Studies and Programming Unit, an administrative manager and a human resources manager (OMRH, 2013[15]).

Analysing the centre of government through the prism of a formal set of decision-making institutions, however, may obscure part of the centre of power and governance (Wild and Denney, 2011[16]). Indeed, public governance is the totality of formal and informal arrangements that determine how decisions are made and state actions are implemented (OECD, 2011[17]). In order to situate power and governance in Haiti today, it is accordingly essential not to ignore the informal channels of governance or the actual practices of political players. The coexistence of formal and informal modes of governance is not unique to Haiti and exists in all countries, whether or not they are members of the OECD.

  • In Estonia, for example, there is a tradition of informal meetings between the Secretaries General. These meetings were set up because the formal weekly Cabinet meetings did not seem to be sufficient to discuss transversal issues or to establish lasting cooperative links. Traditionally held on a monthly basis, these informal meetings are seen as a key asset as they allow for the exchange of information, increased cooperation and a better understanding of the responsibilities of other departments through open discussion (OECD, 2015[18]).

  • At the regional level, the Eurogroup is another example: this informal circle of EU finance ministers influences and steers European economic governance by pre-approving key decisions taken by the Council, thus setting the overall direction of economic governance in the euro area (Røiseland, 2011[19]).

The Haitian government has legally mandated institutions to perform the key functions of the centre of government. However, the legal construction of the latter is governed by an anachronistic statutory framework, resulting in gaps and overlapping mandates. In addition, the CoG is fragmented due to insufficient institutional collaboration and inherent weaknesses in the planning system. These shortcomings limit the government's ability to address multidimensional challenges and achieve its policy goals.

The statutory framework governing public action in Haiti does not reflect the reality of the decision-making framework. Indeed, the PME-2023 notes that the Haitian administrative system is characterised in particular by "the functioning of administrative institutions in contradiction with the fundamental missions set out in the legal and regulatory framework in force" (Office de Management et des Ressources Humaines, 2018[20]). Previous administrative reform strategies have also identified this problem and attempted to address it. One of the goals of the Framework Programme for State Reform I (2007-2012) and the Framework Programme for State Reform II (2012-2017) was to "renew the statutory framework and harmonise the tasks of ministries and other public bodies".

The weakness of the statutory framework is reflected in three main ways:

  • The organic laws of the relevant ministries are often considered outdated or inadequate. The interviews conducted for this project highlighted this dimension, with some participants pointing out that when the 2005 Decree was adopted, stakeholders thought that the other organic laws would be revised. For this reason, the European Union conducted an organisational audit of the organic laws of six ministries in 2015: the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Interior and Local Government, the Ministry of Justice and Security, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This audit, the results of which were not made available to the OECD in the context of this Review, has not yet resulted in new legislation, but may provide a basis for future changes.

  • The common practice of creating institutions by decree, rather than by organic laws, hinders their proper functioning, as powers are not clearly defined. For example, the OMRH, which was created by decree and whose organisation and functioning are defined by the order of May 200910, is not the subject of an organic law specifying its attributions. In the absence of such a law, the powers of the OMRH are limited to setting standards and monitoring the compliance of decisions on the movement of personnel in the public service, with little accountability to the public administration. In addition, the missions of senior managers (such as the general coordinator) are usually defined by mission letters or roadmaps that may lack relevance or clarity, for example by contradicting the institutional mandates defined by decree.

  • Some transversal coordination structures exist on paper but meet rarely or not at all, such as the Superior Council for Administration and Public Service (Conseil Supérieur de l’Administration et de la Fonction Publique - CSAFP), the Directors-General Forum, the Human Resources Directors Forum and the Administrative and Financial Directors Forum11. These initiatives were extensively canvassed during the fact-finding missions organised under this project and should be encouraged.

This dissonance between the statutory framework and the actual practice of power is also found beyond the CdG. Indeed, at present, the executive has been governing by decree without the input and control of Parliament since 13 January 2020 (Biassiette, 2020[21]). Without a functioning parliament, the dynamics and mandate of the executive are distorted, and any revision of the legal and institutional framework is prevented.

In order to promote a statutory framework adapted to the challenges facing Haiti, the government must review decrees and laws according to three essential criteria: (i) identify decrees that are no longer relevant (outdated or irrelevant decrees); (ii) identify and resolve contradictions between decrees and laws, or between decrees; and (iii) identify and fill any legal gaps. This stocktaking exercise would be useful for the review of the mandates and functionalities of the CoG units and could build on the audits carried out by the EU.

The fragile statutory framework is a source of duplication and overlapping mandates, fuelled by competition between institutions for resources. Policy coordination requires multi-stakeholder participation and accordingly a strong institutional framework that clarifies the roles and functions of the players. First, clarifying the responsibilities of government ministries and institutions can help promote synergies and avoid duplication (Box 2.2). Second, a formal coordination mandate within the centre of government would provide greater certainty and legitimacy, which could encourage other stakeholders to work with the coordinating body. Finally, formalising a mandate in terms of coordinating the government agenda can raise the political profile of this function and signal a strong political will to foster public policy development in an environment of cooperation and collaboration. A distribution of coordination and monitoring roles at the centre of government must also take into account the capacity or legitimacy of the body dealing with it. The question is which body at the centre of government should be responsible for coordinating the work of the institutions and ensuring that standards are met.

The overlapping mandates of sectoral ministries are a major handicap to cohesive and coherent public action on several key government tasks:

  • Migration issues, for example, are dealt with by the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration of the Ministry of the Interior, the National Migration Office of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the national police. But none of these players have the responsibility to develop a comprehensive migration policy. Government action in this area is accordingly fragmented, with no centralised data to draw on, other than a basic document produced by the International Organisation for Migration and the Office of the Prime Minister (OECD/INURED, 2017[3]).

  • Despite its position at the heart of Haiti's Strategic Development Plan and the PME-2023, the issue of land use planning is also the subject of significant overlapping mandates between the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, the Ministry of the Interior and Territorial Collectivities, the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications, and the Inter-ministerial Committee on Land Use Planning (Comité interministériel d’aménagement du territoire - CIAT), chaired by the Prime Minister (OECD, 2011[22]) (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant Rouge, 2015[23])(see Chapter 4). Indeed, although CIAT was established in 2009 to address the lack of a coordinating body in this area, the functions of the Technical Secretariat have evolved. Its mandate, initially focused on coordination, is now devoted to the rationalisation of departmental actions. Indeed, the capacity of the technical secretariat to mobilise high-level expertise and donor resources, combined with the sustainability of its teams, make it a privileged structure for guiding and implementing the government's actions in the field of land use planning.

There are also various overlaps and duplications between the institutions of the centre of government, notably between the Office of the Prime Minister and the MPCE. The respective roles and responsibilities of the two institutions in coordinating government action are overlapping and confused. Efforts have already been made to clarify the responsibilities of each institution. In particular, three of the strategic bodies created within the Office of the Prime Minister by the Decree of 17 May 2005 bringing together key functions of the MPCE, the Economic and Social Development Council (Conseil de développement économique et social - CDES), the Public Policy Coordination and Monitoring Unit (Cellule de coordination et de suivi des politiques publiques - CCSPP) and the Budget Affairs Unit (Cellule des affaires budgétaires - CAB), were dissolved in 2016. From a legal perspective, the MPCE has the mandate to coordinate the processes for the drafting of all annual or medium-term plans at the local and national level (Decree of 2 February 2016, Article 2). The MPCE is also responsible for ensuring that sectoral plans are consistent with the government's general guidelines (Decree of 2 February 2016, Article 2). Nevertheless, it appears from the responses to the OECD questionnaire, and from interviews with strategic planning players in Haiti, that the Office of the Prime Minister is also considered responsible for developing the strategic agenda. The Office of the Prime Minister is considered responsible for the "framing" of the plan’s development, while the MPCE is responsible for the technical level of the planning process.

Finally, it emerged from the interviews conducted for this project that there is also a duplication of functions between the Secretary General and the Director of the Office of the Prime Minister in the coordination of government action. The files handled by the Cabinets of the Prime Ministers do not always pass through the Secretary-General, who accordingly has difficulty in following up certain strategic tasks.

The lack of clear and formalised mandates can hinder coordination in several ways. This can lead to competition for resources, duplication of human and financial effort, and confusion among line departments as they struggle to identify the primary contact at the centre of government. Indeed, in the absence of a clear mandate, the ability of coordinating bodies to fulfil their function depends mainly on personal relationships.

A deficit of institutional collaboration limits the government's ability to deliver on its commitments to the public. Indeed, the responses to the OECD questionnaire point to the absence of stable bridges between some key CoG institutions (notably MEF and OMRH) or to significant dysfunctions when such bridges are established.

In particular, the responses to the OECD questionnaire highlight gaps in information sharing. The interviews conducted in the context of this project identified potential explanations for this phenomenon. First, the government has difficulty collecting essential monitoring information on ongoing whole-of-government projects, despite the existence of the Haitian Institute of Statistics and Informatics (Institut haïtien de statistique et d’informatique - IHSI). Second, the information system infrastructure does not allow for easy and optimal sharing of information between institutions. Some participants also mentioned the existence of a "fiefdom" mentality within the institutions, which hinders exchanges.

Moreover, institutional collaboration in Haiti is marked by the preponderance of personal networks, which can act as a catalyst or a brake. Despite OMRH's efforts to promote a culture of meritocracy, favouritism and perceived levels of corruption in Haiti are described as "severe", according to the OECD's 2020 edition of the "Fragile States" series (OECD, 2020[24]). These two distinct phenomena can distort the mechanisms of inter- and intra-institutional collaboration. In the interviews conducted for this project, human resources managers indicated, in particular, that they were unable to control the recruitment process. Moreover, Haitian legislation makes ministers, secretaries of state and directors general the sole decision-makers in the public sphere. With formal power concentrated in a small number of individuals, there are few entry points for effective collaboration. On the other hand, over-reliance on a small number of people, coupled with high levels of personnel turnover, leaves gaps in institutional memory.

Finally, the national planning system is characterised by a lack of coherence between sectoral strategic documents and central national strategies, which weakens the coordination of government action (see Chapter 3). There are three reference documents in Haiti, in addition to a large number of sectoral strategic documents:

  • The Strategic Development Plan for Haiti led by the MPCE and built around four building blocks, describes the country's long-term strategic vision. This document guides multi-year programming (three years) and is accompanied by a three-year Development Framework and a three-year Investment Plan. All policy statements by Prime Ministers that call for a vote in the Haitian Parliament now refer to this. The PSDH has not been updated since 2012, but the revision process led by the MPCE to ensure better conditions for implementation has begun. Indeed, and above all, the breakdown of the PSDH into sectoral strategies and their articulation in multi-year budgetary programming.

  • The State Modernisation Programme 2018-2023: the operational phase of PME-2023 will develop a performance measurement framework that will define performance indicators in line with the Haiti Strategic Development Plan (PSDH).

  • The strategy for reform of public finance and economic governance.

Despite this plurality of documents, these strategies are not currently standardised or formally aligned with the PSDH or the state budget (GPDEC, 2019[25]). The commission for the reform of the national development planning and management system, set up in 2018 at the MPCE, has indeed designed methodological documents such as the global, sectoral and spatial planning guides, but these are not yet validated, as the inter-institutional consultation phase has not been completed (Ministère de la Planification et de la Coopération Externe, 2020[26]). The MPCE also reported the creation, revision and updating of other methodological tools such as manuals, results monitoring frameworks, performance measures to strengthen coordination However, it is worth noting that in 2016, the MPCE prepared and disseminated a Procedural Manual for the Implementation of the Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Monitoring and Evaluation (planification, de programmation, de budgétisation et de suivi et évaluation - PPBSE) Chain addressed to sector ministries, local authorities and autonomous bodies (Flecher, 2016[27]). The goal of this manual is to establish norms and standardise the actions of the ministries, from the prospective phase to the monitoring and evaluation phase, particularly for the inclusion of investment projects in the three-year State investment programme. The MPCE also has a network of coordinators in the studies and programming unit located in each sectoral ministry, which is responsible for aligning sectoral strategies and programmes with government priorities.

A strong monitoring and evaluation framework for strategic planning instruments could lead to better coordination of government action. Indeed, the goals and performance indicators must be composite, which implies that they refer to a set of policy strands with similar goals to other strategic plans, within a limited timeframe. They can accordingly be used to align planning horizons and strategic planning instruments over time. A strong monitoring and evaluation framework can help ensure greater consistency of planning instruments over time.

The weight of development assistance (ODA) in Haiti means that CoG institutions (including the MPCE) must coordinate to share information, ensure that projects advance national strategic priorities, that funding is aligned with national plans, and that monitoring and evaluation frameworks can directly link ODA to national strategic impact/outcomes. Cooperation in Haiti is not only focused on development, but is also active in the justice, police and security sectors. All of this requires a strong coordination framework, which is why this topic is explored in this chapter. It is also worth noting the preponderance of decentralised cooperation, which should also be monitored at national level to ensure harmonisation.

ODA is a key source of finance in fragile countries (see Box 2.3) because of its volume and resilience, especially compared to other types of financial flows (foreign direct investment (FDI), remittances, etc.) (OECD, 2020[24]). Indeed, countries and territories affected by violence and institutional fragility often have characteristics that are unfavourable to external investment: they are susceptible to inflation and currency depreciation, they have limited regulatory frameworks, property rights are poorly protected, and essential infrastructure is lacking (Poole, 2018[28]). Domestic revenue mobilisation also faces constraints that increase the dependence of fragile countries and territories on ODA. Many low-income fragile states have undiversified economies and thus a narrow tax base, coupled with limited revenue-raising capacity (Poole, 2018[28]). As a result, these territories are often more vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks and, in some cases such as Haiti, are also exposed to natural and climatic hazards, which periodically result in significant economic shocks.

Haiti is one of thirteen territories considered "extremely fragile" in the 2020 edition of the OECD Fragile States series (OECD, 2020[24]). Its fragility, for the five dimensions assessed, ranges from moderate to severe:

  • high economic fragility (in particular, fragility in terms of regulatory quality is considered serious)

  • Severe environmental fragility

  • Great political fragility

  • Moderate security fragility

  • Great societal fragility

This high degree of fragility limits the country's ability to attract foreign investment and mobilise domestic revenues (see Chapters 3 and 4) and makes it more vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks. In this regard, ODA is an important source of funding, in terms of both volume and resilience to shocks (see Figure 2.1).

The volume of bilateral ODA to countries considered "fragile" has been increasing since 2014, reaching almost USD 81.2 billion in 2019. After remittances, ODA is the second largest external financing flow for fragile countries and territories in 2019 - 2.56 times the volume of FDI (USD 31.7 billion) and 67% of the total value of remittances (USD 121 billion) (OECD, 2020[29]). In extremely fragile countries and territories, its relative weight is even greater: in 2018, total ODA was 11.5 times greater than FDI (USD 2.2 billion) and 2.5 times greater than remittances (USD 13.2 billion) (OECD, 2020[24]).

Haiti stands out among other extremely fragile countries and territories, with foreign funds averaging 2.34 times ODA between 2002 and 2019, with a low of 0.37 in 2010 due to the earthquake (see Figure 2.2). Haiti is thus one of the few extremely fragile territories where foreign funds exceed ODA. However, the relative weight of the latter is likely to increase in all fragile countries, as the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to lead to a significant decline in FDI and remittances, making fragile countries even more dependent on aid (OECD, 2020[24]).

Many fragile countries and territories are dependent on aid, an assessment of this dependency can be based on the ratio of total ODA received to gross national income (GNI), with an average ratio of 57 fragile contexts of 8.5% in 2018 (Desai, 2020[30]). However, this ratio does not take into account the significant variations between countries, especially between fragile and extremely fragile countries. For example, the average ODA/GNI ratio in extremely fragile countries and territories is 19% (Desai, 2020[30]). In Haiti, the ODA/GNI ratio was 10.3% in 2018 and 8.6% in 2019, which is below the average for other extremely fragile territories (Table 2.1). Nevertheless, according to the 2020 edition of the OECD Fragile States series, aid dependency is rated as "severe" in Haiti. Moreover, the volume of ODA to Haiti has fallen in recent years, confirming the need to move away from dependence on aid (Ministère de la Planification et de la Coopération Externe, 2020[26]).

The 2018 OECD Fragile States Report highlights the dual complexity of the globalised ODA system, in terms of local failures on the one hand and vulnerabilities in the external aid network on the other. Although the focus is often on endogenous sources of fragility, the external aid network can also be disrupted by external shocks such as economic or health crises, such as the COVID-19 crisis, which further weaken recipient countries.

The historical challenges of international development assistance in Haiti, and in particular after the 2010 earthquake, have been the subject of extensive analysis and reflection by a wide range of scholars and journalists (Katz, 2013[31]) (O’Connor, Brisson-Boivin and Ilcan, 2014[32]) (Schuller, 2012[33]). As in many fragile contexts, results are often harder to achieve and scandals more numerous (OECD, 2018[34]). The working methods of aid agencies (both multilateral and bilateral) are not very successful due to difficulties of access to the country, limited travel or access to the partner government and non-state players (OECD, 2018[34]). These dynamic environments are also usually characterised by high personnel turnover, which can hamper the transfer of information (OECD, 2018[34]), in addition to the continuity problems faced by the recipient government.

At the strategic level, traditional approaches to ODA are based on a partnership between aid agencies and sovereign states (OECD, 2018[34]). In Haiti, this partnership is hampered by weak state capacity and historical trends of resource plundering. In addition, non-state stakeholders, such as non-governmental organisations, play an important role in areas that usually fall under the jurisdiction of the state, adding complexity to the environment in which aid agencies must operate. This dynamic has even earned Haiti the nickname "Republic of NGOs" (Kristoff and Panarelli, 2010[35]). The strategic impact of ODA also depends on aid instruments - funding cycles, logical frameworks, project monitoring and evaluation - which require a degree of stability and predictability that is often lacking in Haiti (OECD, 2018[34]). This sentiment was echoed at a meeting with the technical and financial partners (TFPs) organised in the context of the Review, citing delays of several years for flagship projects.

In 2019, nearly 48 countries and multilateral organisations contributed approximately USD 747 million (gross disbursements) to Haiti, or 8.6% of GNI (OECD, 2021[36]). Given the relative and absolute weight of ODA, the effectiveness of these external inputs depends on the modalities, principles and management and coordination that allow for the optimisation of technical and financial partner flows (Ministère de la Planification et de la Coopération Externe, 2020[26]). For several decades, the government of Haiti has attempted to frame and formalise its bilateral and multilateral relations through a succession of strategies, framework documents and institutional frameworks.

Since 2004, cooperation has oscillated between the consolidation of public institutions, good governance and projects that exclude the State in favour of civil society or TFP priorities. In addition, the plurality and heterogeneity of players operating in the field pose unique challenges in terms of coordination. This ambivalence and discordance is the product of local instability and the external thinking of international players (Muggah, 2009[37]).

The late 1990s and early 2000s were characterised by sporadic and uncoordinated actions by bilateral donors to strengthen the government (particularly in the justice and public finance sectors), and by World Bank loan suspensions, justified by political instability and corruption (Muggah, 2009[37]). In 2004, in order to improve coordination, the Interim Cooperation Framework (Cadre de Coopération Intérimaire - CCI) was established as a centralised planning and fundraising tool. This innovative mechanism in Haiti included a system for joint identification of needs and implementation of funding for the transition period (2004-2006) (Cadre de Coopération Intérimaire, 2004[38]).

Although CCI stresses governance and institutional development, in the face of local constraints, some players such as the World Bank Institute prefer to "invest in strengthening the role of non-governmental players and promoting collective action" (Muggah, 2009[37]). Despite the establishment of coordination mechanisms at the strategic level (joint committee for coordination of CCI implementation and monitoring, strategic coordination unit in the Office of the Prime Minister), at the operational level (CCI inter-ministerial committee) and at the implementation level (sectoral coordination tables) (Cadre de Coopération Intérimaire, 2004[38]), the CCI has suffered from a lack of engagement on the Haitian side, limited to periodic public consultations held in Port-au-Prince (Muggah, 2009[37]). Achieving coherence and harmony among the TFPs was ambitious, given the number of players within the CCI. It was established in less than two months in 2004 by 26 partners at a conference jointly organised by the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union (Faubert, 2006[39]). However, a coordination group at agency level, chaired by the World Bank, and a coordination group at field level, chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator, have not been sufficient to harmonise the actions of the TFPs (Cadre de Coopération Intérimaire, 2004[38]) (Muggah, 2009[37]).

In 2006, the Haitian government presented the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (Document de stratégie intérimaire pour la réduction de la pauvreté - DSRP-I), the result of an agreement between the government and the IMF to support the Growth and Poverty Reduction Service (Service pour la croissance et la lutte contre la pauvreté - SCLP) initiatives. In 2007, the IMF guidelines for the Haiti strategy paper were incorporated into the National Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, in order to solicit assistance from heavily indebted poor countries.

In the context of the follow-up report on the Principles of International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations, the OECD organised a multi-stakeholder consultation in May 2009 in Port-au-Prince (OECD, 2010[40]). With regard to the use of state systems, the use of technical implementation units (Unités Techniques d’Exécution - UTE) is described by the executive as a system of parallel units that risks undermining the accountability of the authorities and weakening the public sector. However, data from the Paris Declaration monitoring survey shows that the use of public financial management systems was above the average for fragile states. However, these figures were challenged in the national consultation (OECD, 2011[22]). The report also stresses the need to clarify priorities within the DSNCRP in order to accelerate the alignment of TFP actions with national priorities, which is described as too "slow" by the Haitian executive. Despite the existence of strategic (core group, executive committee of technical and financial partners) and operational (22 sectoral groups) coordination mechanisms between donors, the heterogeneity of the players, their disparate inclusion in the coordination mechanisms and the large number of sectoral groups affect the harmonisation of actions.

The 2010 earthquake marked a turning point in cooperation between the government and technical and financial partners. In response to the influx of donations, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (Commission intérimaire pour la reconstruction d’Haïti - CIRH) was created to manage the emergency funds raised, under the leadership of the Haitian Prime Minister and Bill Clinton as UN Special Envoy. The government also adopted the Action Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of Haiti (Plan d'action pour le relèvement et le développement d'Haïti - PARDH) on 31 March 2010.

As in previous years, the OECD has sought to assess whether the goals of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness have been met in the 2011 Monitoring Report on Principles of International Engagement in Fragile States (OECD, 2011[22]). Once again, participants stressed the risks of substitution of non-state players, the lack of alignment with national priorities and the lack of coordination among donors. In particular, the participants in this exercise stressed the large number of TEUs and the strong labour market distorting effect of this international intervention, which could weaken the public sector. International alignment with the priorities of the PARDH was considered insufficient, particularly with regard to implementation modalities that are often defined unilaterally by donors. Nevertheless, they report that 82 per cent of their technical cooperation was coordinated with national programmes, an improvement over 2007 (OECD, 2011[22]). The massive influx of personnel and ODA following the earthquake also led to a weakening of existing coordination systems and a loss of institutional memory in favour of a complex cluster system. The drop in the percentage of coordinated missions between lessors to 18% is symptomatic of this dynamic (OECD, 2011[22]).

In 2012, the Haitian government inaugurated the Coordination Framework for External Development Assistance (Cadre de coordination de l’aide externe au développement - CAED) as a joint governance mechanism for external assistance, replacing the CIRH. The CAED is intended to be more in line with the Haitian political will, and is placed under the aegis of the Office of the Prime Minister and the MPCE. This structure consists of a strategic committee called the Aid Effectiveness Committee (Comité d’efficacité de l’aide - CEA), a technical secretariat and topic and sectoral tables, including departmental tables. At the same time, the External Assistance Management Module (module de gestion de l’aide externe - MGAE) was introduced to make aid flows more transparent, based on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aid effectiveness project. The MGAE is the information unit of the CAED, with the goal of promoting transparency and harmonisation of cooperation flows. In this database, the information compiled, processed and disseminated in real time, includes official development assistance and humanitarian aid. In particular, the module conducts a data collection cycle (on a quarterly basis, including funding forecasts) aligned with the budget of the Republic of Haiti.

The CAED and the MGAE are different from their predecessors in that they are rooted in the structure of the Haitian state. However, current practices of external players continue to favour extra-state structures. The MGAE, for example, although designed for direct data entry by the TFPs, is currently input with information provided through a collection template prepared for this purpose (Ministère de la Planification et de la Coopération Externe, 2020[26]). The MPCE also specifies that this type of data is more easily collected through the Development Assistance Committee (Development assistance committee - DAC) platform and not the MGAE, as some players have difficulties in sending their updated data within the deadlines required by the Ministry. Initiatives to reform the MGAE data collection process to encourage TFPs to contribute fully to it would accordingly be beneficial, and could eventually allow for a periodic analysis of international cooperation in Haiti (Ministère de la Planification et de la Coopération Externe, 2020[26]).

Haiti participated in the 2018 monitoring cycle of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, which is a biannual monitoring exercise established by the Busan Partnership Agreement. This monitoring identifies, in particular, the use of national public financial management systems by development partners in support of cooperation, estimated at only 19% in 2018 (GPDEC, 2019[25]). This is lower than the average of 28 per cent reported by Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with a larger gap in terms of budget performance (GPDEC, 2019[25]).

The provision of funds to NGOs in Haiti is still a controversial element of the international cooperation system. Although NGOs are a group through which much foreign aid flows, there is no updated version of the law governing the activities of NGOs operating in Haiti. The only legal instrument in this regard dates back to 1982 (a law updated by presidential decree in 1989). Mechanisms have been devised in recent years to enable the State to better supervise and control the actions of NGOs, but it has had difficulty implementing them. As of this date, only 651 NGOs have been legally recognised (and thus supervised), of which thirteen have obtained legal recognition in FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19 (Ministère de la Planification et de la Coopération Externe, 2020[26]).

Haiti does not yet have an official international cooperation policy. Marc Anglade, national coordinator of CAED, said that the government is preparing a public policy for international cooperation and management of foreign aid for the year 2021 (Anglade, 2020[41]). Particular emphasis will be placed on South-South relations, as well as on revitalising the CAED to address the silo management of international aid. The need for greater coordination is all the more obvious as the interlocutors are fragmented on the Haitian side, according to the TFPs concerned. The MPCE is the privileged interlocutor of certain donors (UN, Canada, USA), the MEF is the interlocutor of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Office of the National Authorising Officer is the interlocutor of the European Union12. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for international relations, such as agreements and conventions. A less fragmented interface between international cooperation players and the government could lead to greater coherence between programmes and national priorities (Box 2.4).

Effective management of external assistance is above all about establishing guidelines for development cooperation, clearly defining the political goals of development and the role of each actor in implementing these goals. Despite a legal mandate to do so, the MPCE, which is responsible for mobilising external resources for development, does not have an overview of programmes and projects involving sectors with their own conception of cooperation. This poses a problem of timing, but also of evaluation and monitoring of ODA.

The interviews conducted with stakeholders in the context of this project revealed that the intrinsic flaws of the planning system constitute an obstacle to an optimal alignment of TFP actions with national priorities. Indeed, the 2018 monitoring exercise notes that the quality of national planning is "weak" (57%), particularly with regard to the coherence of national planning with the Sustainable Development Goals, and the link between strategy and budget (GPDEC, 2019[25]). The monitoring exercise concludes, however, that the alignment of development partners with the country's priorities is "average" (60%), with 74% for the goals. The alignment of priorities was found to be weaker in interviews with donors and stakeholders in Haiti. In particular, the Haitian interlocutors perceive an increasingly weak will to harmonise or align the TFPs with national priorities.

The sectoral and thematic tables (tables sectorielles et thématiques - TST) are also supposed to serve as consultation and facilitation mechanisms between the ministries and institutions concerned and the TFPs. Unfortunately, the TSTs have done very little in the last two fiscal years due to the increasing insecurity and the global pandemic (Ministère de la Planification et de la Coopération Externe, 2020[26]). In addition, there are many different types of TST, which tends to make policy harmonisation more difficult. A revitalisation of this consultation mechanism would accordingly be useful to anchor international cooperation activities in the government's sectoral priorities.

According to the interviews conducted in the context of this project with the TFPs active in the field of public governance, the working groups, organised on a topic basis, constitute the main coordination mechanism between donors. Meetings are not regular; the pandemic and the growing insecurity in Port-au-Prince have made them rare. According to participants, there are no formal mechanisms to avoid duplication of activities among donors. In the Haitian context, this poses two additional problems. First of all, the fragmentation of interlocutors on the Haitian side leads some institutions to request technical support from several TFPs in order to maximise their chances. In the absence of formal tools for donor coordination, there is accordingly a significant risk of duplication of effort. Second, the informal and compartmentalised nature of donor cooperation, in a framework of high personnel turnover, makes it difficult to maintain an institutional memory of cooperation and actions.

The tools for monitoring and evaluating the activities of the TFPs are specific to each institution, particularly with regard to goals, indicators and time perspectives. These monitoring and evaluation reports are shared with other players or with the government on an ad hoc basis. Increased coordination in this area could lead to better harmonisation of activities among the TFPs. The key performance indicators of the various monitoring and evaluation frameworks of major national strategic plans (PSDH, PME-2023, etc.) could include the performance indicators designed for ODA investments, as required by international donors. This cannot be done overnight, as it requires strong coordination. This is also discussed in Chapter 3, but it is important to note that it requires institutionalised and sustained coordination.

This chapter has argued that centres of government are the cornerstone of public governance systems and proposed a review of the institutional capacities for coordination of the Haitian centre of government, including multidimensional policy definition and implementation, strategic planning, and decision making. In a governance framework punctuated by socio-economic, political, environmental and humanitarian crises, strategic policy development and political leadership in Haiti are paramount. In this sense, better coordination of government policies and actions is of paramount importance for Haiti to achieve its goals. This chapter focuses primarily on the executive branch and its units within the centre of government. State institutions outside the executive branch have accordingly not been studied in depth in the centre of government's analysis of coordination. The need for coordination between the institutions at the centre of government and the autonomous agencies outside the executive branch could, however, be examined during an implementation phase of the Review's recommendations.

The Haitian government has legally mandated institutions to perform key functions of the centre of government, including coordination. Nevertheless, the legal construct of the centre of government is governed by an anachronistic statutory framework, resulting in gaps and overlapping mandates that impede the design, coordination and implementation of transversal government policies. These various overlaps and gaps are visible between the institutions of the CoG and even within some institutions such as the Office of the Prime Minister. Clarifying the mandate of the Haitian centre of government and its various players would help overcome this fragmentation in order to better respond to the multidimensional challenges.

In addition, coordination in Haiti is hampered by low levels of institutional collaboration and weaknesses in the planning system. In particular, some councils or forums do not meet, or meet very little, and various networks of officials useful to participants have been abandoned. In addition, there are no bridges between key institutions such as OMRH and the Ministry of Finance. In contrast to these shortcomings, the large number of sectoral and topic tables tends to make coordination and decision-making more complex. Finally, the national planning system is characterised by a lack of coherence between sectoral strategic documents and central national strategies, which weakens the coordination of government action (see Chapter 3).

The Haitian CoG faces an additional complicating factor in decision-making. The burden of development assistance requires an increased level of coordination to share information, to ensure that projects advance national strategic priorities, that funding is aligned with national plans, and that monitoring and evaluation frameworks can directly link ODA to national strategic impact and results.


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← 1. Translation by the author.

← 2. Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State.

← 3. Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State.

← 4. Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State.

← 5. Decree of 1 February 2016 amending the Decree on the organisation of the central administration of the State.

← 6. Decree of 1 February 2016 amending the Decree on the organisation of the central administration of the State.

← 7. Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State.

← 8. Decree of 1 February 2016 amending the Decree on the organisation of the central administration of the State.

← 9. Decree of 13 March 1987 amending the Decree of 31 October 1983 on the reorganisation of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.

← 10. Order of 25 May 2009 on the organisation and operation of the Office of Management and Human Resources known as OMRH.

← 11. Internal background report by D. Alexandre.

← 12. Interviews conducted for this project.

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