UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery Strategic Review

02 Sep 2010

Remarks by Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Adminsitrator

Thursday, 2 September 2010, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am pleased to be here today to introduce this session on the ongoing realignment of UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. 

UNDP is keenly committed to our mandate in the crisis prevention and recovery area.

Countries affected by disaster, conflict, or security threats posed by armed violence / face additional challenges in achieving the MDGs, and need additional support from the international community.

UNDP must help enhance countries’ preparedness and resilience to cope with the challenges they face, and contribute to real increases in human development in partner countries. 

If we look at headlines just in recent weeks, we can see how UNDP’s work on crisis prevention and recovery is more significant than ever. 

Floods in Pakistan have affected – as we have heard -- millions of people and have left about 20 per cent of the country submerged.  This has taken a staggering toll on human suffering as well as infrastructure, livelihoods, and the economy.  

As in Haiti, UNDP supports recovery by strengthening the disaster management authorities and institutions through early recovery programme which focuses on restoring community infrastructure, basic services and livelihoods; and cleaning-up flooded villages and homes, including through cash-for-work projects.

Working with the World Bank and the relevant Regional Development Banks on the long term recovery and reconstruction damage needs assessment – or PDNA -- , rebuilding national capacities and institutions and the rule of law. 

Haiti, Pakistan, and other similar situations highlight the need for as seamless a transition as possible between the relief period and early recovery.

More and more we are learning that these are not successive stages of the process but, rather, simultaneous ones.

Families and communities need support to rebuild their lives and livelihoods as quickly as possible. It is unfortunate that this component of the international response to complex emergencies is all too often poorly funded.

As these catastrophic events in Haiti and Pakistan show, UNDP needs to be well prepared to respond quickly and effectively in any situation where time and efficiency are of the essence, and, at the same time, strengthen our efforts to reduce the risks of such disasters and their impacts in the future. 

The challenge is to become more systematic and effective at identifying and resolving stresses before they emerge; before they turn violent and to work more strategically with our partners and to building long term national capacities for crisis management.  To do this, UNDP as a whole needs to consolidate its critical mass of expertise into a more fully integrated crisis prevention and recovery practice with collaboration from across the organization on a more focused set of strategic priorities.

The Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery is at the heart of our response strategy in order to face these challenges.

As Jordan will detail for you shortly, under his leadership BCPR has embarked on an internal realignment process driven by the need to increase coherence, enhance performance, and focus on strategic partnerships.

Significant progress has already been achieved and we hope to will be able to implement most of the required changes by the end of the year.

The rest of the house is not only supporting Jordan in this effort but also accompanying him with more effective processes.

For example, in sixteen country offices we have already put into practice specific “fast track” policies to accelerate delivery in special development and crisis situations.  These are expected to reduce significantly the time needed to buy goods and services without diminishing transparency and accountability. 

These policies also enable speedier deployment of personnel to reinforce a country office’s capacity in a crisis. 

Fast-tracking is available to all country offices should they face the need to respond to a crisis situation or to an event which leads to a crisis situation. 

As a further example, UNDP is also keenly pursuing inter-agency collaboration in the interest of effective crisis response.  In this regard, we are in the process of concluding an agreement with the World Food Programme which will enhance our collaboration in supporting countries to move from humanitarian response to recovery.

Again, thank you for giving us the opportunity to provide you with an update on the ongoing realignment of the UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

I would like to hand over to Jordan.  

Thank you very much.