From Al Jazeera:
The conference in the Canadian city of Montreal was not intended to bring specific aid promises but to assess immediate needs and begin charting Haiti's long-term recovery from the January 12 earthquake.
"We're trying to do this in the correct order. Sometimes people have pledging conferences and pledge money and they don't have any idea what they are going to do with it," Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said at a closing news conference. ...
"We actually think it's a novel idea to do the needs assessment first, and then the planning, and then the pledging," Clinton said.
It certainly is a sad truth that all too often people in development act before they plan, and decide what to do before figuring out what needs to be done or thinking about the long-term implications of one strategy over another. But, really, is doing needs assessment before planning before acting really a "novel" idea?!
I hope, for the people of Haiti's sake and that of all those in regions in need of development, that the key players in Haiti's reconstruction can pull off the process of conducting needs assessment and careful planning before rushing into action in a spectacular fashion, serving as a model for all development work, particularly if they can integrate evaluation of the redevelopment's implementation and effectiveness into the plan.
Incidentally, I wonder if having a sound redevelopment plan from the outset could help alleviate donor fatigue. It might not have much effect on individual donors, but big foundations/NGOs/governments might find it easier to "stay the course" if they knew where exactly they were headed and how far they had come.