One Year On: Global Governance and Human Security in Post-Quake Haiti

On 12 January 2010, Haiti suffered literal state collapse, as thousands of buildings crumbled in the 21st century’s deadliest earthquake. Over 200,000 were killed, 300,000 injured and 1.5 million displaced. Almost 20% of federal government employees were killed. The Presidential Palace lay in ruins and 27 of 28 federal government buildings were destroyed. An estimated 4,000 prisoners escaped from incarceration. In a remaining government building a couple months after the earthquake, one could still see civil servants rolling up bed mats in the morning, as they sought nightly refuge in their offices and the surrounding compounds. One UN official described it as the worst disaster the UN had ever had to confront. In this nightmarish context, to whom should a Haitian turn for protection from violence and ‘downside risks’ ?

Into the vacuum left by the implosion of the state apparatus, compounded by a sudden and overwhelming need for physical and social protection, has rushed a vast complex of global public and private actors. Street patrols, food distributions, teacher training, epidemiological surveys and child protective services are being provided by a mix of bilateral, multilateral and NGO agencies.

In a new paper written for the London School of Economics Global Governance program, I explore and interrogate this emerging political system of global governance in Haiti, particularly regarding its implications for ‘human security.’ The paper draws on some of the themes and theoretical work I developed in my book, Foreign Aid and Landmine Clearance, which looked at the global governance structures involved in clearing landmines and cluster munitions.

Click here to read the report.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 12 January 2011.

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