Use post disaster recovery processes as opportunities to build resilient communities - Fatma Samoura

Mar 29, 2016

Statement read by UNDP Nigeria Country Director, Pa Lamin Beyai, on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator/UN Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Nigeria, Fatma Samoura

I am pleased to be here with you today and to welcome you to Abuja for this ECOWAS regional training workshop on the development of a common Disaster Recovery Framework based on the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) methodology for the Horn Africa Region.

This training is intended to provide you with practical tools that will allow ECOWAS to participate in “Post-Disaster Needs Assessment” (PDNA) which will not only help in identifying post disaster recovery needs, especially in cases of major disasters, but also support national authorities in the design of a people centered “Disaster Recovery Framework” through South-South Cooperation. This region, as we all know, is prone to droughts and flooding. The El Nino weather phenomena in particular, and the critical issue of Lake Chad, poses major challenges to the region which have resulted in disasters that have adversely impacted on livelihoods and human security. Most critical for the region are the challenges brought about by the military insurgency in the North East which has compromised human security and dignity, and has significantly hindered the ability of national authorities to provide protection and support to communities, safeguard their sources of livelihood and protect their rights.

The current regional context is taking place in a setting characterized by a number of factors such poverty, high inequality, poor social and economic opportunities, nascent rule of law and low levels of accountability and legitimacy of state, climate change and environmental degradation. This is further fuelling violent extremism and perceived social injustice.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, in 2008 the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), the European Union (EU) and the World Bank (WB) signed a joint declaration committing our Organizations to harmonize post‐crisis frameworks to support post-disaster needs assessments and recovery planning.

Since this agreement was signed, the three partners have jointly prepared the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) guidelines and the Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) guide, which were launched at the Sendai Third World Conference on DRR on 14 March 2015.

This set of tools was developed to respond to a number of challenges that were identified during recovery processes in the past decades. These include:

  • Significant response time gaps and a lack of continuous, sustained attention from governments and international partners;
  • Recovery plans tend to be stand-alone and delinked from national development strategies;
  • Capacity limitations in terms of planning and implementing recovery processes; and
  • “Risk blind” recovery plans that have not paid attention long term disaster vulnerabilities

The Post Disaster Needs Assessment and the Disaster Recovery Framework, have been developed primarily to help Governments and their people to:

  • Coordinate disaster recovery planning;
  • Prioritize, sequence and guide transparent resource allocation;
  • Facilitate multi-sector recovery planning;
  • Ensure aid effectiveness; and 
  • Address short term needs and longer term disaster vulnerability

Distinguished Participants,

I would like to emphasize that we can and we must make sure that post disaster recovery processes are used as opportunities to promote resilient development especially in a region like ours that faces multiple challenges everyday - simple rebuilding will only replicate the conditions which make communities vulnerable to natural disasters.

Recovery and reconstruction means building back better. We need to look at what conditions made our infrastructure and livelihoods vulnerable to natural disasters and ensure that these conditions are not replicated during the recovery phase. We need to come up with measures to reduce exposure to future natural hazards – this is the essence of being Resilient. It means having the ability to Prevent, Absorb, Adapt and Transform ourselves in situations of disasters.

Disasters in Africa and in the Horn of Africa, in particular, and beyond are increasing vulnerabilities and exposure and put economic growth and human development gains at risk.

Climatic and hydrological hazards, in particular, droughts, floods are increasing in frequency and severity, these are compounded by climate change, environmental degradation and the rate of urbanization.

During this training workshop, I would like to strongly encourage you all to share your knowledge and experience of conducting assessments in the region, in particular the process for collecting and analyzing data and the process for developing recovery plans that are people centered. Adaptability and context are key in this exercise – as we may all know Resilience is about context. We see this specifically in the Nigerian context, where the challenges in the North East and other parts of the country, cannot be fully addressed when one simply looks at Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa. There are 36 States, each with varying degrees of vulnerabilities, crises, and most importantly opportunities to address on-going crises and post conflict recovery.  Through extensive consultation and collaboration, the Nigeria is in the process of completing its North East Recovery and Peace Building Assessment under the leadership of the Office of the Vice President and six States of the region.

We trust that this regional workshop will provide a good opportunity to further share Nigeria’s experience in undertaking this process and proposed recommendations to move forward.

Indeed, your participation in this training comes with the responsibility to share your experiences and utilize the knowledge gained for the region.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to the many agencies that took part in supporting the development and finalization of the PDNA and DRF training package which we will be sharing with you over the next few days. All sectors and segments of society are affected by disasters and Governments need to be able to count on the expertise of each of our agencies.

To conclude I would like to extend our special thanks to ECOWAS for coordinating this workshop for the region, and the World Bank for their commitment to fund this important effort to enhance the effectiveness of our support to the Governments we serve. This workshop is an important step in strengthening the partnership between our respective institutions in the interest of regional and national priorities of ECOWAS.

Thank you for your attention.

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