Mission on the Haïti-Dominican Republic border

February 2018

Mission on the Haïti-Dominican Republic border

The situation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic is unique in the world: it is the only case in which the entire land area of two states is located on a single shared island. In 2016 and 2017, the MOT was commissioned to develop cross-border cooperation on this atypical border.

The border marks a zone of contact between two countries with a significant economic development differential.
Today, this border region is considered by players on both sides as a potential resource, and a contributor to development and peace. In Haiti this assessment fits within a context of a legislative process of territorial reorganisation, with the rise in power of municipalities in their fields of competence.

It is in this context that the MOT became involved in March 2016, on the request of the Haitian Ministry for the Interior and local authorities, and the French Embassy in Haiti, to carry out a mission of analysis and expertise in the field, on the potential for more structured and project-oriented cross-border cooperation. This work gave an overview of the needs and obstacles of all types, but also of the reality of this potential. On the basis of a first field diagnostic and numerous interviews with local and national stakeholders, the MOT had drawn up a first proposal in July 2016 for establishing a cross-border partnership between the two states, as well as between the local authorities on the border.

With a stabilised political and institutional situation on the Haitian side, and on the occasion of the 2nd national conference for French-Haitian decentralised cooperation, Olivier Denert, Secretary General of the MOT, carried out a second mission in Haiti in December 2017, with responsibility for a side-event on Haitian-Dominican cross-border cooperation.  This stay was the opportunity for numerous meetings with national level players on the Haitian side. It also allowed the organisation of a seminar for dialogue and co-construction of the training requirements in cross-border issues, involving around 40 local and national Haitian and Dominican stakeholders, which proved to be a first, both in terms of diplomacy and intercultural learning, dialogue and sharing.

The mission came to a close with a trip to the Dominican side of the border. The trip was an opportunity for several meetings with the central authorities of the country confirming their expectations regarding local cross-border development and the structuring of a process co-constructed with Haiti, and for increasing cross-border know-how with the support of the MOT over future assistance missions.

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