Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Public Affairs/International Relations

First Advisor

Robert Weiner

Second Advisor

Adenrele Awatona

Third Advisor

Eden Weitzman


Haiti is a country prone to environmental and natural disasters, and is vulnerable to climatic changes in the region and the world. Haiti's environmental vulnerability is the result of over-exploitation of natural resources and failures of policies and other reforms. Haiti is located in what can be considered as the corridor for hurricanes and tropical depressions, and is placed between complex systems of fault lines. The incapacity, weakness, and - to certain extent, unwillingness of the Haitian government; the neglect of civil society; and the unwillingness of the international community to effectively respond and contain the exacerbating problem of environmental degradation and poorly enforced environmental policies have rendered the situation not only a grave concern for Haiti, but also a problem for adjoining nations in the region and beyond with severe implications. Changes in climatic conditions, coupled with other natural phenomena have impelled people to migrate out of their natural habitats, in search of refuge and security in other parts of the country deemed less prone. In the post-1994 reforms, decentralization of government systems was embraced as a way to redress deficiencies, because by decentralizing government systems, power would no longer be centralized in `'Republic of Port-au-Prince'' - centralization which was done under the Duvalier regime as means of control and to secure the regime, but enforcement mechanisms would be available for regional and local governments to enforce environmental laws and policies. Unfortunately, the post-1994 policy reforms were short-lived and did not bring any changes to this present situation.

In this analysis of the precarious nature of Haiti's environment and infrastructure, governance structure and institutions and policies will be analyzed. The goals of my analysis are as follow: first, I will attempt at understanding, contextualizing and defining the problem as it is; secondly, I will analyze the policies and reforms, and look at their impacts; and thirdly, and I will present a framework in which sustainable actions and solutions can be undertaken and implemented, in an attempt at redressing the problem and I will provide recommendations.


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