IPI HomeEventsSpeakers EventsMulet: Lucky We Had Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti

 

print print  |  share share back back

Speaker Events - Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mulet: Lucky We Had Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti

In an appearance at IPI, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet described in harrowing detail the conditions he found in Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake in January, 2010 and how overwhelmed the country was in trying to survive the devastation.

Mr. Mulet was arriving there four days after the quake to take up a post on an emergency basis that he had held before–Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Haiti–leading anew a UN operation that had just lost 102 people, including its head, Hédi Annabi, and deputy head, Luiz Carlos da Costa.

He was to occupy the post for the next 16 months before returning this June to his Assistant Secretary-General job, and he came to IPI on June 29 to describe the experience and the challenges the UN faced in Haiti. Over those months he said he found himself thinking, “It was very lucky that we had a peacekeeping mission in Haiti when this happened because we were able to assist and respond in a better way to the needs of the Haitian population.”

He added: “Many people question the concept of having a peacekeeping mission in Haiti. There’s no internal conflict. There’s no warfare. There’s no guerilla movement. There’s no subversion. There’s no conflict with the Dominican Republic–the border conflict–there’s no ethnic conflict. There’s no religious conflict. There’s no conflict for natural resources. They’re very lucky they don’t have oil or diamonds or coltan or any things like in the eastern Congo, for example.”

“What is a peacekeeping mission doing in Haiti?” he asked. “Why do we have 12,000 soldiers and police in Haiti?”

Responding to the question, he said, “I think it’s because the Security Council doesn’t have another tool to face a situation where you have a completely failed state. We are the backbone of the country creating the space for other actors on the development side, the economic side also to advance and do their job.”

Mr. Mulet said he despaired over the fact that the earthquake seems not to have changed Haiti and the international community’s response to it as much as he had hoped. “It’s business as usual, the same situation, the same elites, the same people in Haiti, ‘what’s in it for me?’ It's not about the country. We have not changed the way we work in Haiti either, us, the international community.”

The international community, however, could “feel very proud of the work we did there during these last months after the earthquake, trying to get back to the levels of stability, development that we had been about to achieve under Hédi Annabi, just before the earthquake when we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

In conclusion, he said, “I hope that this will be just an intermission and a way forward.”

Moderating the event was Warren Hoge, IPI Vice President for External Relations.

The Global Observatory

Defying Spain, Catalans Vote for Independence, But What’s Next?
The unofficial Catalan referendum has raised several questions about Catalonia’s future and its relationship with Madrid.

Key Global Events to Watch in November
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

November 05, 2014
Top-Down Governance Hurts Women, Youth Participation
Governments in the Sahel and Maghreb are still using top-down approaches to governance that make it hard for women and youth to have a say in public life, even though their participation can help their governments’ struggle against instability and extremism.

November 03, 2014
Apakan on Ukraine: "To Be Present Is Important"
On November 3rd, IPI’s Vienna office hosted Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

November 03, 2014
Enhancing Women's Share in Peace and Security
“We did not want to make war safe for women; we wanted to end war for everyone,” Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury said, recalling the goal of a new resolution he introduced as president of the Security Council in the year 2000.

View More