A step towards better disaster governance: Report on lessons learned from the 2015 earthquake

Feb 4, 2017

A new report from the Ministry of Home Affairs—prepared with technical support courtesy of UNDP—provides insight on how overall governance, institutional mechanisms, resource mobilization, capacities, coordination, participation and preparedness for DRR/M can be improved

Recognizing the importance of consolidating and highlighting the learnings gleaned from the recent earthquake in order to inform effective management of future disasters, a new report has been prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs, with technical support from UNDP Nepal. Titled ‘Lessons and Learnings of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake Response’, the document—comprising a comprehensive analysis of various dimensions of the disaster, and providing insight on how overall governance, institutional mechanisms, resource mobilization, capacities, coordination, participation and preparedness for disaster risk reduction/management (DRR/M) can be improved—was formally launched on February 3, 2017 during a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Platform in Kupondol, Lalitpur.

The report was tethered to four main objectives: firstly, to do with contextualizing the science behind the earthquake, by presenting a detailed scientific and technical analysis of the country’s geological factors, earthquake history, seismic hazards and risks, and of course, the Gorkha Earthquake itself and the many aftershocks that followed in its wake. Then, to compile a record of the damages and losses that were incurred during the disaster, as well as chronicle the response on the part of different stakeholders—such as the government, donor agencies, development partners, I/NGOs and the private sector. The third was linked to reviewing the existing disaster management policies, legal provisions and other institutional arrangements related to DRR/M in the country. And lastly, the report sought to pull together all the major lessons learned in terms of post-disaster response at the national, district and community levels, and based on these, offer recommendations for policy interventions that could ensure better preparedness and response in case of future crises.

A slew of experts and representatives—including those from the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, various line ministries, related departments of the government, the National Planning Commission, security agencies, donor agencies, UN agencies, Red Cross, civil society organizations, the Disaster Preparedness Network Nepal, the Association of International NGOs in Nepal—Task Group on Disaster Management (AIN-TGDM), and private sector actors, among others—have contributed insights and data to the report. The document also incorporates information on the work carried out by the National Reconstruction Authority during the first year of its mandate.

Stressing upon some key points articulated by the report, UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer spoke of how the current phase of rebuilding, recovery and reconstruction in the country represented an opportunity to “analyze, understand and realize the gaps and to find ways and means in strengthening capacities for not just better response but for the entire disaster risk governance system.” He added that better disaster risk governance is the need of the hour and “would set the tone for a safer and resilient Nepal for the next decade and a half.”

Also launched on the occasion was the National DRR Policy and Strategic Action Plan, the contents of which indicate a shift of focus from a reactive to a proactive approach for DRR/M, another initiative in which UNDP has closely collaborated with the government. 

Read the full report here.

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