I. Historic Context
II. Principle-Based Policy
- Promotion and Defense of Freedom and Human Dignity Worldwide. Haiti was founded upon the principles of freedom and human dignity when in 1804 our forefathers overthrew a colonial power to achieve freedom from slavery making Haiti the world’s first black republic. In keeping with our proud history, we must champion, support and defend freedom and liberty worldwide. This principle will serve as the foundation upon which all foreign – and domestic – policy is conceived.
- Safeguard the National Interests and Sovereignty of Haiti. Haiti will reclaim its ability to defend its borders from external threats. As such, Haiti will establish a National Defense Force in the interest of defending the borders and supporting our nation in times of disaster. The United Nations force, known as MINUSTAH, is technically an occupation of our country and a violation of our national sovereignty. We should work with the United Nations to redefine our Framework of Cooperation to drawdown their forces in a timely manner and encourage those resources to be channeled into our new National Defense Force.
- Support for Our Allies. Haiti has strategically important allies throughout the world. We have heavily relied upon the support of the international community for aid and provision of social services. In fact, foreign aid comprises 65% of our national budget. Where our interests align, we must actively support and engage our allies positioning Haiti as a trusted ally and champion of freedom. In support of this principle, our Defense Force will build strategic partnerships with our allies ensuring that all allies understand the purpose for the new force.
III. Foreign Policy Objectives
- Restore Haiti’s Reputation Globally. Haiti’s dismal internal economic and social situation can hardly escape influencing international public opinion. To restore and then sustain our national reputation, the Haitian government must transform internally. Only by putting our own house in order will we regain international recognition and respect. It is critical that we restore our reputation; otherwise, the international community will lack the confidence to engage with us on critical development issues such as investment, trade relationships and other international priorities.
- Reclaim National Sovereignty: As discussed in Section II.2, we will work to reclaim our national sovereignty. The UN mission has not met expectations and in fact has become somewhat destabilizing in our country. We are facing imminent external threats from drug traffickers and gangs as well as the Dominican Republic’s aggressive bolstering of its military capability. Further, after the earthquake, we ceded control of our ports and airports as well as responsibility for stabilizing our country and recovery and rescue efforts to the US military. This is not sustainable in the long term. We need a professional defense force to reinforce and restore sovereignty while meeting these challenges. While we wish to reclaim sovereignty, we are equally committed to cooperating fully with our regional and global allies in the development of the defense force. Internationally, countries will need to understand that the Defense Force is not a threat externally or domestically, rather it is intended to address the issues outlined above.
- Balance and Diversify Global Partnerships. We will strengthen relationships with our traditional – and core – allies, namely the United States, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Dominican Republic, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Brazil, China, South Korea, Senegal, Benin, Israel, Nigeria, Madagascar, Rwanda and Puerto Rico. These partners, however, are accustomed to working with a weak and corrupt government that has been unable – or uninterested – in leading our country. We have relied too heavily upon our traditional allies, which can contribute to “donor fatigue” and their proclivity to define our national agenda. Most recently, we were dependent upon the United States to set up our bilateral meetings during the United Nations General Assembly and donors meetings. And again, only by getting our own house in order will we achieve better balance to these key relationships. To be sure, our traditional allies are our friends; however, we need to transition these relationships from old dependency dynamics into new partnerships.
- Actively Seek Support for the Socio-Economic Development of Haiti. Given our current level of economic development, we will remain largely reliant upon foreign aid for at least another decade. Therefore, our foreign policy should align with our domestic social and economic development policy. The President has defined the 5Es: Education, Employment, Etat de Droit, Environment and Energy. Our foreign policy should reinforce all of these domestic priorities by seeking funding and technical support for the 5Es from international partners.
- Professionalize our Foreign Service. Without a strong Foreign Service, none of our objectives will be met. Active and effective diplomacy will be the single greatest factor in ensuring that we meet of objectives and benchmarks. Our Foreign Service members are dedicated individuals, but they have had limited resources, direction and support from Port-au-Prince. But currently only 32% of our Foreign Service personnel are qualified. We must train and recruit the brightest. We must build capacity within our foreign policy institutions and develop coordination mechanisms to ensure that we are presenting a coherent and consistent representation of our foreign policy goals and agenda.
IV. Organization & Coordination
- Regional Affairs: Create bureaus to cover five main regions – Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and North Africa and the Middle East.
- External Affairs: Create bureaus to cover three main external affairs functions – economic and commercial affairs, Diaspora outreach, tourism and cultural services and consular services.
- Multilateral Institutions: Create bureaus to cover six main multilateral institutions – United Nations, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), CARICOM, the Organization of American States (OAS), the African Union, and the European Union.
- Legal Foundation:
- Updating of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reflect structural and administrative changes
- Revising Rules of Procedure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to codify changes
- Personnel Policy and Procedures:
- Codify government pay grades, benefits, titles and responsibilities; and institutionalize hiring and review procedures
- Preparation of a manual of procedures and standards that outline personnel policies and professional responsibilities
- Evaluate and review mechanisms to strengthen diplomatic missions, including annual budget reviews for missions
- Optimize the management of nominations for international appointments
- Introduce regular rotation of diplomatic staff; the maximum stay in the same country will be five years
- Review the franchise policies and benefits for diplomatic staff
- Organize training programs for staff and regular training seminars to implement the concepts contained in this foreign policy directive, and introduce a culture of integrity, excellence and high ethical value among the Foreign Service
- Rationalize participation in international meetings (define who is eligible and relevant to attend) and evaluation procedures to determine which meetings merit attendance
- Strengthen our cultivation of contacts and relationship building
- Rationalization and efficient allocation of professional commendations
- Develop political reporting processes and procedures for all foreign service officials
- IT Improvement:
- Computerization and networking of in-house and external IT systems. The way it is currently organized is a threat to our country.
- Provide access to online forms, particularly for visa applications and immigration issues. Speed up procedures; and improve reception and first impressions
- Digitization of online archives; integration in international networks
- Determination of the comparative advantages of each partner and strategies to take advantage of a functional cooperation
- Develop policy directives to define the Haitian Government’s position on major international issues with instructions to missions on messaging – this is critical as our missions have been voting in direct contradiction to our policies in recent months
- Review all agreements and conventions to determine the list of obligations and international schedules to be met
- Scan and post internally all the international agreements signed by Haiti, accompanied by the signatures, ratifications and accessions into a central database
- Trade, Investment, Economic Affairs and International Cooperation Division
- Political Affairs Division
- Consular and Legal affairs Division
- Diaspora Outreach, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Division
- IT, Press and Communications
V. Regional Priorities
- Strengthen and Balance Relationships with Traditional Allies: This is more of a global – rather than regional – priority. We have solid, traditional allies that anchor our foreign policy and relationships. United States, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Dominican Republic, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Brazil, China, Korea, Senegal, Benin, Israel, Nigeria, Madagascar, Rwanda and Puerto Rico are to be considered our traditional allies. Haiti should work to strengthen its relationships with these allies and ensure that we are partners in these relationships rather than merely recipients as we have been. See Section III.2 for additional direction on this issue.
- Dominican Republic: Relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic are the strongest they have been for decades. In spite of the strong relationships, we have egregious economic balances and limited military threats. The DR exports nearly $1.3 billion in goods to our country, but imports almost nothing from us in return. We are the primary source of their agricultural workforce, and often Haitians incur harsh treatment from their employers and have little legal protections. We need to rebalance our trade and economic relationship while address pressing immigration issues, such as protection of our workforce.
- Trade development assistance (duty free access for Haitian apparel in Brazil): With Brazil’s leadership, Haiti can become a major hub for investment in apparel production in the Western Hemisphere.
- Energy (cooperation on developing our energy policy): On energy, we are eager to follow Brazil’s global example and become energy independent.
- National Security (support for the Haitian Defense Force);
- Agriculture and the environment (help modernizing the agricultural sector);
- Sports (send football trainers to Haiti to build out regional schools and programs).
- Reinvigorate Relationships with Europe. We had limited support from our traditional allies in Europe in the wake of the earthquake. Germany, France, Spain, Italy, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Norwegian countries made only minimal contributions to recovery. These are traditionally important sources of support for Haiti but the relationships seem to be neglected or simply on autopilot. We need to re-engage with these important countries to seek both support and investment.
- Expand Relationships with Regional Leaders: There are many countries in our region that have emerged from similar circumstances to lead the way in political, social and economic development. They have strong Presidents who are similarly blazing a new trail in their respective countries. Colombia has redefined itself and begun to reclaim their international reputation. The Chileans are revamping their policies to attract international investment and have had great success, as are the Puerto Ricans. Building personal relationships with these regional leaders can help inform and improve our overall economic and social policy approaches. As an example of that the Dominicans were able to successfully build up a trade agreement, CAFTA, with four other Central American countries.
- Build Relationships in the Middle East: We have very weak and limited contact with the Middle Eastern countries. Clearly this region is a hotbed of democratic reform currently and is going through transition. This is also a region with tremendous oil and resource wealth that has provided only limited financial and technical support to our country. Preval, unfortunately, led us down a controversial path in the Middle East and was pictured with Ahmadinejad at international meetings. We need to reframe our relationships and actively seek assistance and expertise from like-minded nations in this region, including Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Jordan, and Turkey.
VI. Haitian Diaspora a Foreign Policy Tool
- The United States, Canada and France are using their citizens with Haitian origin to promote their interest in Haiti. Through the Haitian Diaspora Federation (HDF) and two former US Colonels, a major and a prominent doctor, the State Department is promoting their agenda. The recent push of the “international community” for the publication of the new Haitian constitution allowing Haitian Americans to become involved in politics in Haiti is part of it. This should be done as well by Haiti for this to become mutually beneficial.
- Currently in Canada, this exercise is perfectly mutually beneficial for both Haiti and Canada because Michaelle Jean is perfect bridge for the interests of both countries. This is not yet the case in the United States, France and the Bahamas. The Haitian Diaspora can be a powerful tool to lobby foreign governments and help seek economic opportunities. In the United States, there are 26 elected Haitian American officials, who can be effective to the future of our nation. In the US, Canada, France, the Bahamas and couple other countries, if that effort was well organized and supported, Haiti could benefit. Haitians constitutes between 8 to 35% of the population in most of the Caribbean Islands. Within CARICOM Haiti can be a better player in the next ten years if that effort were organized.
VII. Five Year Benchmarks
- Relations of good neighborliness, cooperation, and balanced engagement in commerce with the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
- Effective integration within CARICOM.
- Balanced partnerships with the United States, Canada, the European Union, Brazil, Venezuela, Senegal, Benin, Israel, Nigeria, Madagascar, Rwanda and South Africa, our traditional allies.
- Attract major investment projects.
- Position Haiti competitively against rising manufacturing economies, including Vietnam, Bangladesh, South Korea, and Colombia.
- Positions grounded in our principles on major international issues of interest to Haiti and active participation in major international debates.
- Renegotiated Framework of Cooperation with the United Nations to achieve drawdown of MINUSTAH troops.
- Engagement with military allies to develop and professionalize the Defense Force.
- Secure responsible exit of MINUSTAH beginning in late 2014
- The National Haitian Police is professionalized and supporting the judicial system
- Securing support from Brazil, Israel, Venezuela, and Chile to built Haiti’s National Defense Force
- Strengthening links with the Scandinavian countries, particularly for education and healthcare.
- Building a strong relationship with India, an emerging country with relevance to Haiti.
- Reproduction adapted from successful experiences in the world, such as the kibbutzim in Israel or the mobilization and organization of the population for development in Rwanda.
- Maximizing the policy of the recognition between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China.
- Attract more investment from South Korea.
- Build new programs with emerging regional leaders, including Colombia, Puerto Rico and Chile, particularly in strengthening the investment environment
- Benefits maximized in terms of technical resources of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the EU-ACP, the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank and other multilateral schemes to which Haiti is a party.
- Haiti will have a maximum of students and professionals within these organizations.
- Follow up on promises for additional support from the UNGA meeting.
- Foreign Service effectively building relationships and informing foreign policy. (Note: See Section IV. “Reorganization and Coordination” for a full action plan.)
- Instituting a culture of excellence and responsibility within the Ministry.