This Article examines the capacity of regional organizations to coordinate foreign assistance and development programs in underdeveloped states, and in doing so, to promote the transformation of the Right to Development (RTD) - which stresses the right of nations and their people to progress in a manner that insures their ability to meet basic material, security and social needs -from conceptual template to a binding normative framework under international law. As the poorest state in the western hemisphere, but also the recipient of significant influxes of foreign aid, Haiti exemplifies the underdevelopment dilemma. For despite the large sums of aid allocated toward her reconstruction, there is mounting evidence that the current foreign assistance architecture as structured cannot ensure either long-term sustainable development nor promote the growth of democratic institutions in Haiti.
Ironically, the reasons behind this failure - donor/stakeholder bias, donor fatigue and recipient government incapacity - also explain the failure of the RTD, at least as it stands thus far, to facilitate the reconstruction and development of post-earthquake Haiti. In this sense, Haiti represents an important test case for states, and international and regional organizations, an opportunity to articulate precise, unambiguous doctrinal guidelines under the RTD, and to back up doctrine with solid, consistent practice. Because of their geographic proximity to Haiti and joint membership in the organization, the OAS member states enjoy a shared interest in the former's reconstruction especially as it relates to broader regional security and economic integration issues, the very hallmarks of the OAS' existence. The OAS itself possesses the institutional means to overcome the donor/stakeholder bias and donor fatigue problems through its ability to coordinate the actions of its member states in support of the RTD in Haiti (called "integral development" under the OAS Charter). What the organization has lacked is the imagination and institutional will to fulfill this mandate. Drawing from the growing normative recognition of the important coordinative role regional organizations can play in responding to global crises, this Article sketches a human rights-based model of foreign assistance coordination centered on the activities of the Organization of American States to ensure long-term sustainable development and democratic consolidation in post-earthquake Haiti.
Jeffery M. Brown, Benevolent Assistance or Bureaucratic Burden?: Promoting Effective Haitian Reconstruction, Self-Governance, and Human Rights Under the Right to Development, 6 Intercultural Hum. Rts. L. Rev.