Nepal’s 2015 constitution set the course for a major shift of power from the Federal to the Provincial and Municipal levels of government. The constitution places the responsibility for ‘Disaster Management’ with local governments.
Disaster management is also on the concurrent list for all three jurisdictions and ‘early preparedness for rescue, relief and rehabilitation’ is on the concurrent list for federal and state jurisdictions. The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act, 2017 and the Local Government Opeartion Act (LGOA), 2017 include a comprehensive list of disaster management actions for local governments. The DRRM Act integrates all key components of disaster risk reduction and management including measures for risk assessment, investments for risk reduction, strengthening disaster risk governance, preparedness for effective response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
The municipal governments recognize the significance of DRRM as they are often at the forefront of disaster response and recovery. Municipalities affected by the 2015 earthquakes and 2017 floods are more active compared to the ones not affected by recent disaster events. Further, all 753 local governments require preparing their Municipal act, policy and action plan for DRRM in addition to numerous other local acts, policies and operational guidelines. The municipal elected representatives and the staff often have a limited understanding on DRRM concepts, technical capacities and finances to undertake disaster risk reduction actions. It is timely and important to consider the municipal governments’ capacities and responsibilities to help operationalize the DRRM Act, 2017.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) - UN Migration Agency carried out an assessment to analyse and assess existing strength, capacity, resources and understanding of elected representatives and staff of municipal governments to operationalize DRRM Act, 2017. This study aims to provide an overview of needs and capacities at the municipal level in the context of new legislative changes in Nepal and for the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan for DRRM 2018-2030.
A total of fourteen municipalities in all seven provinces of Nepal were assessed, making it an extensive analysis and is first of such assessment done on DRRM in Nepal. The municipal capacity assessment methodology and process serves as an example to scale up in other remaining municipalities. Assessed, in detail, are four areas of needs and capacities, responsibility for local governments to DRRM actions.
a) Knowledge on the concepts of DRRM and disaster risk legislations at municipal level;
b) Understanding of disaster risk, economic and well-being losses;
c) Promotion of public and private investment for resilient development; and d) Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, recovery, reconstruction using ‘build back better’ techniques;