The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the approval of a $712,300 grant from its Multilateral Investment Fund to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti (CCIH) for a program to develop alternative mechanisms to resolve business disputes.
The program’s ultimate goal is to contribute to the improvement of Haiti’s business environment through the introduction of arbitration and conciliation services, which offer the private sector quick, efficient and transparent methods to solve commercial controversies.
At present, due to the deficiencies of the Haitian justice system and the time, costs and uncertainties of lawsuits, companies rarely bring cases to court. The alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR) will help build confidence and give a greater degree of predictability to conducting business.
The new program will benefit from the MIF’s experience in developing such mechanisms. The fund has financed similar projects in 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Haiti it will include strategies to adapt ADR tools to the needs of micro, small and medium-size enterprises.
The MIF grant will assist the CCIH in establishing a Center for Conciliation and Arbitration. The center will function in the chamber’s new building, which was refurbished with a grant from the European Union. The CCIH will invest $300,000 in cash and in-kind contributions in the project.
Besides equipping the center with information systems and a law library, the program will finance the design of the center’s organizational structure and a financial plan for operation, as well as the development of a code of ethics for arbitrators and conciliators.
The CCIH will enter agreements with two Haitian universities to launch specialized programs to train arbitrators and conciliators, drawing from training modules developed by other ADR centers.
Candidates will likely be lawyers, notaries, auditors, accountants and engineers, in order to create a pool of experts capable of handling cases in sectors such as construction, insurance, banking, transportation and trade. Under the program, 25 arbitrators and 50 conciliators will be trained.
In order to inform potential users about ADR mechanisms, the CCIH will build alliances with other professional associations and business chambers to reach their members. Workshops will be held for different stakeholders, including large firms, small and medium-size companies, the judiciary, attorneys and community leaders.
The MIF is an autonomous fund administered by the IDB. This new program reflects the fund’s mandate of promoting private sector development and investment in Latin America and the Caribbean.