I was reading an article on Haiti and this sentence struck me “Only 15 percent of the aid pledged by countries and organizations around the world has reached the country so far”. A comment went further, stating:
There was a total of $9.9 billion pledged for Haiti–emergency aid to reconstruction and democracy/institution-building. … Conferences follow the public’s concern about a disaster and countries rush to the podium with seemingly generous pledges that they either can’t or won’t fulfill. ..I’ve seen these for over 30 years in the international aid arena…when 2 years afterwards you approach an official and ask how much his/her country received or whether a particular country’s pledge was ever met…it’s always the same…”Our Congress/Parliament never appropriated the pledged amount”
I know that Indians are using their RTI Act to prod the government into action and there are a number of forums discussing what questions should be asked to receive a specific response. Asking specific questions and fixing responsibility are the two key areas. With those thoughts in mind I wondered whether it was possible to prod the Australian government into action.
According the latest media release on the topic, Australia has pledged a total of $AU24 million to Haiti.
Australia’s commitment to rebuilding Haiti includes a contribution to the World Bank’s Haiti Reconstruction Fund, a multi-donor trust fund which will coordinate international support for recovery and reconstruction.
Australia is also working with countries and regional organisations in the Caribbean and Latin America to support Haiti.
Australia will work with Brazil to help revive the agriculture sector, which accounts for more than 25 per cent of Haiti’s economy, and with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help improve their ability to respond to disasters in the region.
From what I’ve been able to find, Australia pledged $AU10 million to the World Bank Reconstruction Fund, and has provided that money (one of only five countries to do so). Encouraged, I went looking further. The Caribbean Community was pledged $AU1million, but I couldn’t find whether it had been provided. And that was all I could find.
So I’ve decided to use Australia’s new FOI Act to see whether I can find out where specifically the other $AU13 million has gone. If it’s been pledged but not paid, maybe I can imitate the success Indians and prod the Australian government into action. I’ll let you know how I go.