A Sustainable Development Strategy for Jimaní

Jimaní is a 12,000 people city by the Dominican Republic - Haiti border. Active human and goods transportation traffic goes through it daily and a significant part of its economy is linked to the bi-national market that operates twice a week when the border is fully opened and there is free crossing among the countries, mostly used for trade. About half of the town was washed away by a flash flood in 2004 and the city and its surrounding areas are in constant threat by the increasing water level of salt lakes Lac Azuéi and Lago Enriquillo which have been rising continuously for the past 5 years or so, ruining agricultural land and displacing people and communities.

Although Dominican - Haitian relations are continuous and fluid and in many areas a necessary part of co-dependent economies and sectors, include a tense element which easily escalates and is often mixed with historic conflict and rivalry, patriotism, ethnicity and even racism and xenophobia. This becomes evident on not uncommon strikes or social conflict incidents on both sides of the border, affecting traffic and the economy and livelihood of Jimaní.

Based on interviews, field experience and research, we completed an early visual representation of a sustainable development strategy to enable and empower the people of Jimaní to improve their quality of life. We then conducted a "Articulación Comunitaria para la Resiliencia Social. Jimaní de cara al futuro hoy" workshop on October and December 2013 to discuss and validate this strategy, components, roles, viability, phases and participation with partners and stakeholders.

This visual representation is a very early draft, and needs further and thorough validation with the local stakeholders. At a quick glance, one can easily detect missing elements or challenges, such as farmers (about half of Jimaní's population is considered rural), underage prostitution, mixed relationships and children of Haitian born on Dominican territory.

Jimaní Sustainable Development and Resilience Plan
Jimaní Sustainable Development and Resilience Plan

A wide range of additional issues, challenges, ideas, processes and players to be included where suggested by the stakeholders during the validation process.