Haiti: Grupo M and CODEVI II-01/Zone Franche de Ouanaminthe
Farmers from the Ouanaminthe Special Economic Zone.
Economic dislocation, loss of livelihood, waste management.
IFC has an active project in Haiti with Grupo M and its fully owned subsidiary CODEVI, one of the largest garment manufacturing operations in the Central America and Caribbean region. The project supports CODEVI in an expansion program that consists of the construction of a new facility for the assembly of woven garments and the acquisition of specialized machinery for dry garment assembly and processing operations. The project will be undertaken in two new buildings to be constructed on land already owned by Grupo M at CODEVI.
The complaint was submitted to CAO by a local individual on behalf of 174 farmers’ households in the Special Economic Zone of Ouanaminthe. The complaint raises concerns regarding the economic displacement of the complainants due to CODEVI’s construction of their facilities in the Special Economic Zone in 2002. According to the complaint, despite commitments made in a ‘social compensation plan’, they have yet to receive their replacement land and did not obtain adequate compensation for their crops. The complaint also alleges improper waste disposal by CODEVI, leading to pollution.
CAO found the complaint eligible in April 2020 and initiated an assessment of the complaint. During the assessment, the complainants and the company agreed to engage in a voluntary dialogue process to try to resolve the dispute. CAO released its assessment report documenting this outcome in December 2020.
During 2021, CAO engaged the parties in several online activities, including technical training for the complainants, capacity-building sessions to clarify questions related to the dispute resolution process, and the use of technology in the process. The parties initiated a discussion about the ground rules to guide their engagement, which were first discussed separately and online in early 2022.
Once COVID-19 travel restrictions and security measures were lifted in April 2022, CAO met with the parties in person in May 2022 and facilitated bilateral and joint meetings. During those meetings, the parties continued their conversation regarding the content of the ground rules document. Negotiations in that regard are still underway.
However, the security situation in Haiti does not currently enable CAO’s Mediation team to travel to the field, thus causing delays in the process. The team remains in contact with the parties and is considering alternative options to move the process forward.
A dispute resolution process is ongoing.
Status as of March 20, 2023.