Nearly half of the countries where UNDP works are prone to conflict, disasters, political instability and economic shocks. UNDP assists countries that are addressing sudden and slow-onset events that destabilize economies and communities by supporting their governments as they move out of the crisis response phase and into the planning and implementation of longer-term recovery activities. As one of the few partners with a mandate and a permanent presence on the ground before, during and after a crisis, UNDP is well positioned to take action at the onset of crises to establish a clear link between humanitarian activities, recovery planning and the transition to sustainable development pathways. Due to its experience in development policy and practice, UNDP can play a strategic role in efforts to integrate development principles into recovery processes, looking beyond the idea of restoring the status quo to a vision of building communities back better, reducing poverty and vulnerability, protecting and quickly restoring development gains and reducing the risk of future events by adopting strategies that transform risk into resilience.
The importance of UNDP’s work on recovery is increasing as the number of people affected by disasters around the world continue to rise. Changing temperatures, extreme weather patterns, variations in precipitation and rising sea levels are modifying hazard levels and exacerbating disaster risks. The frequency and intensity of weatherrelated events are expected to increase, with heat waves, drought, flooding, cyclones and wildfires exacting a heavier toll on human and natural environments. Across the globe, these threats, when combined with poverty, exposure, continued urban migration and the destruction of natural ecosystems, drive risk to dangerous and unpredictable levels.
From 2012 to 2014, 994 disasters impacted more than 326 million people across the globe. The cost of physical damage caused by these events is also rising - from an estimated US$20 billion on average per year in the 1990s to about $100 billion per year in the first decade of this century. As climate change and migration accelerate, the cost of recovery will continue on an upward trajectory.
Recovery strategies that champion inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable rebuilding and more equitable societies are in short supply and high demand.
Recovering from disasters is a challenging process.
Disasters undermine hard won development gains and create greater pressures than are found in ‘normal’ development settings: heightened urgency; the need for rapid reaction and speedy results; media scrutiny; lack of experience, capacity and expertise; a multiplicity of national, local and international actors whose efforts all require coordination; and resource scarcity and few dedicated funding sources to meet recovery needs.
Responding to these demands requires a clear road map, an efficient, well-organized process, knowledge gained from past failures and successes, rapid decision-making and implementation capabilities and skilled coordination.
The main objective of this Guidance Note on National Post-Disaster Recovery Planning and Coordination is to provide practical advice to UNDP Country Offices on how to design and implement recovery initiatives that will strengthen government capacity to lead and manage national recovery efforts in the early, medium and long-term.