ICYMI: Why the Global Fragility Act Matters for Haiti

“Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse. The commemoration came at a pivotal time for Haiti, which has struggled under the weight of multiple crises—political, security, economic—for years.

“Haiti is one of the priority countries recently selected for stabilization efforts under the U.S. Global Fragility Act (GFA), which will involve developing and implementing a 10-year country plan focused on preventing conflict and mitigating instability. Support through the GFA is critical to addressing destabilizing forces in Haiti. But the U.S. and its partners should also recognize that any long-term strategy must be grounded in developing responsive and inclusive democratic institutions and citizen-centered governance. Without empowering the people of Haiti to have a stake in their own future and establish core functions like the rule of law, Haiti will continue to face instability and violence.

“The current situation is dire. More than 1.1 million people in Haiti live in areas controlled by gangs, which are often funded by predatory political actors to advance their own objectives and wreaking havoc on law and order. Corruption fueled the most recent wave of nationwide protests in 2019 and continues to plague the political landscape. Democratic institutions have crumbled: After last year’s presidential assassination, Haiti has been in the grips of a constitutional crisis for nearly a year. Both the legislature and the judiciary are defunct, and the interim Prime Minister has failed to fill the vacuum. “These are long-term, complex challenges which the GFA could help address—but it must be fully funded and implemented in order to provide the support that local partners need to stabilize the country’s security environment and foster trust in Haiti’s government institutions. The country plan to address Haiti’s governance deficits and promote stability should be developed in close coordination with local partners and should consider four core components.

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