Our Perspectives

Nepal’s road to recovery is paved with collaboration


tents in NepalIn a park located in a central urban area in Kathmandu, Nepal, citizens who lost their houses are living in tents provided by international assistance. Photo: Naoki Nihei/UNDP

Looking down from a plane above Kathmandu, I was not able to clearly assess the degree of damage from the 25th April earthquake. In rural areas, most of the houses were destroyed. In Kathmandu, many whose houses were affected are living in tents outside of their homes.

In late May, I travelled to Kathmandu to support Japan-UNDP cooperation to help the Government of Nepal in the reconstruction planning after the devastating earthquakes. I could see the colorful tents everywhere in the city, as we flew over it.

Nepal was heavily affected by the earthquake and resulting aftershocks, bearing the loss of nearly 9,000 lives. After the earthquake, Nepal received support for emergency assistance activities from numerous countries, conducting life-saving missions and medical treatment activities. Once these activities settled down, the international society started assisting the Government of Nepal on a medium- and long-term reconstruction plan. UNDP was one of the main players for this planning exercise.

In the process of post-disaster reconstruction, it is essential to first assess the degree of the damage and loss and then evaluate the financial needs for recovery and reconstruction. Based on this assessment, donors and aid agencies, as well as the affected country, can gain perspective on the damage, prepare the reconstruction plan, select priorities, and develop its projects.

The United Nations, European Union (EU), and World Bank (WB) have formulated basic policies of supporting disaster-affected countries which conduct Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). In Nepal’s PDNA exercise, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) were additional core partners, strengthening the capacity side by side with UNDP, EU and WB.

PDNA is a good joint effort for all aid stakeholders to support the government in assessing urgent and long-term recovery needs, and it reduces the burden of governments receiving multiple assessments from different organizations. As a member of the disaster risk reduction (DRR) sector team, I joined consultations with the government and conducted field surveys together with all the concerned development partners.

As a result of PDNA, the report summarized the total needs for reconstruction and recovery as US$6.7 billion. The report detailed 23 areas for reconstruction, including housing, schools, roads, government buildings, agriculture, and cultural heritage monuments. In the DRR sector, we estimated the recovery needs at US$82 million. The report allows all the partners to develop an effective future assistance strategy (The PDNA report was presented in the donor conference in Kathmandu on 25 June.). Through the entire process, I witnessed first-hand how the PDNA is a good tool to make global partnerships possible in the post-disaster-context.

Naoki Nihei Crisis response Disaster recovery Disaster risk management Resilient recovery aid coordination and effectiveness partnerships UN Agencies Asia & the Pacific Nepal Japan

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