World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank: Haiti Post-Earthquake Track Record on Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development
Elaine Zuckerman, Elise Young and Lisa Vitale
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Introduction to World Bank & Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Post-Earthquake Grants
The newest global food crisis has struck at an especially vulnerable time for the world’s poor, making food increasingly unaffordable and reducing incomes of impoverished farmers, the majority of whom are women. In light of the impact of rising food prices affecting impoverished Haitians during post-earthquake recovery efforts, Gender Action is tracking the gender sensitivity and social impacts of recent World Bank and IDB agriculture and rural development investments in the country. Our goal is to ensure that these two public taxpayer-supported banks diminish rather than exacerbate Haiti’s acute food insecurity.
The World Bank and IDB are two of Haiti’s largest and most influential donors and policy advisors. Thanks to Haitian and global civil society advocacy as well as Haitian and foreign government influence, the World Bank and IDB have forgiven Haitian loan debt and positioned all post-earthquake funding in the form of grants.2 Since the earthquake, the IDB has approved 44 grants and the World Bank 7 grants for Haiti.3 Gender Action has screened these grants to assess the extent and quality of their rural and gender content. We found that the vast majority of World Bank and IDB post-earthquake grants to Haiti neither focus on agriculture and rural development, nor on the role of women. As of mid-October, only one World Bank and three IDB grants targeted the rural sector. Both banks focus most of their post-earthquake expenditures on rebuilding earthquake-destroyed infrastructure such as government ministries and registries, shelters and water supply. Contrary to both banks’ gender policy requirements, few World Bank and IDB post-earthquake grants to Haiti are explicitly gender sensitive, not even security-related programs that bring portable electricity to shelters. Hence, these post-earthquake donor projects represent lost opportunities to help poor Haitian farmers who are mostly women, prevent gender-based violence, and explicitly target more gender-inclusive development efforts.