UNDP and EU partnership for resilient recovery

Recovery work in Kathmandu Valley following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal and northern India in April 2015. A PDNA for Nepal was released in a record six weeks after the disaster; the report informed a recovery strategy and extensive global support. Photo: Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi/UNDP Nepal/2015)

Over the past eight years, UNDP and the EU have geared up their support to countries around the world at risk for disasters by proactively preparing for future recovery processes and helping them to assess the needs after disasters do occur and to lay foundations for building back better.


The European Commission, the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) and the World Bank signed a joint declaration in 2008 committing to collaborate on a common approach to assessing, planning and mobilizing support for recovery to countries and populations affected by disasters.


The main instrument for achieving this goal has been the development and use of Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNAs) that bring together national and international stakeholders to align recovery efforts in a coordinated and effective way. A PDNA is a government led and owned exercise supported by the EU, the UN System and the World Bank. Through a PDNA, information is collected on the socio-economic effects and impacts of a disaster on key sectors, as well as the recovery needs, including the human development needs of the affected population. A single, consolidated assessment report is prepared and serves as a basis for formulating a comprehensive recovery framework. The findings guide the design and implementation of early- and long-term recovery programmes and help determine international development assistance needed.


Since the signature of the EC-UNDG-World Bank Joint Declaration on Post-Crisis Assessments and Recovery Planning in 2008, the three partners have come together to conduct 48 PDNAs in 40 countries under the leadership of the affected governments. Recent PDNAs have been conducted in Albania, Cape Verde, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal and Vanuatu, to name a few. This work is a collaboration that stretches from global headquarters of all the parties down to local offices and staff on the ground.


The EU and UNDP (on behalf of the UNDG) work with the World Bank and the specialized UN agencies to strengthen the methodological basis of these assessments, create capacities within the international community, regional organizations and partner governments for the conduct of PDNAs and continue to advocate for the importance of coordinated and well-costed recovery strategies for the countries that we serve.


The PDNA Roll Out Project


Over the course of the PDNA alliance, it became clear that a demand exists for PDNA capacity building among governments, UN and WB staff and other partners. To address this, in October 2012, UNDP and the EU initiated a PDNA Roll Out Project that would build stakeholder capacities and develop the tools required to harmonize and strengthen collaborative post-disaster action and ensure that governments in selected disaster-prone countries can carry out PDNAs to internationally-accepted standards.


Under this project, the disaster recovery team of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support has led the preparation of standard common training materials on PDNA protocols and has made both methodological and sector guidance accessible to users. A two-volume manual – The Post-Disaster Needs Assessments Guidelines (Volume A and Volume B) – presents a methodological framework and 18 sector-specific guides, as well as an overarching methodology for bringing together sectoral information into a recovery plan.


A series of 22 workshops and training sessions have raised awareness of PDNA processes and strengthened capacities of government staff and development practitioners. A Training of Trainers workshop was conducted in 2014, with 40 persons attending. This was followed by training sessions at the national level in 12 countries and for six UN regional centres. In addition, six training sessions target staff of regional inter-governmental organizations; all of these in a bid to bring expertise closer to where it is needed. To date, over 1,100 government officials and professionals have attended training.


In addition, the project has generated a roster of 70 experts – in core PDNA processes and sector specialists – to be immediately deployed upon a country’s request following a disaster. These experts are drawn from UNDP, eight other UN agencies, the World Bank and individual consultants.


The PDNA Roll Out Project, which finalizes in 2016, has been made possible by contributions of EUR 1.4 million from the EU and EUR 721,000 from UNDP.