GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, May 13, 2011 - The first ever World Reconstruction Conference concluded with an agreement to move forward with a framework for international cooperation in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.
The World Reconstruction Conference was organized by the World Bank, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Zoubida Allaoua, Director of the Finance, Economics, and Urban Development Department at the World Bank, said, “We are encouraged that this conference agreed on the critical next steps needed to improve support to countries overwhelmed by the scale or cost of reconstruction after disasters, and to place countries in the driver’s seat of their own recovery. The GFDRR has laid the groundwork for this framework and is recognized as having both the technical capacity and mandate to help turn these words into action, with the support of the World Bank and other partners.”
Three very concrete commitments emerged from the conference:
First, the GFDRR and the World Bank in collaboration with partners will lead the design of an international framework for international cooperation in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.
Second, the GFDRR partnership committed to lead the development of financing instruments capable of leveraging public funds through private capital markets, to provide a reliable and predictable source of finance for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.
Third, the GFDRR partnership will build on its work to date to establish a global knowledge platform—the go-to place for knowledge, expertise, and innovation for both local and global practitioners.
“We know from experience that prevention pays, if done right,” said Allaoua. “Timely and open access to information is key to better assessing risk and monitoring and reporting results during the recovery and reconstruction phase.”
"Disaster risk reduction is essential to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by protecting development investments" said Margareta Wahlström, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Over 100 leading experts from 30 countries and 80 institutions provided state-of-the-art thematic and high-level policy sessions at the event, on every aspect of disaster recovery and reconstruction.
Conference contributor Pablo Allard Serrano, National Reconstruction Program Coordinator of the Ministry of Housing and Urbanization of Chile, said “The World Reconstruction Conference provided the opportunity to establish platforms for collaboration that will help us move from planning to implementation, taking into consideration key issues such as social monitoring and feedback as well as long-term aspects that go beyond the reconstruction itself. We sincerely appreciate the World Bank´s interest in the Chilean case, and the opportunity to become part of this international cooperation platform.”
The conference concluded that an international framework will build on existing instruments and mechanisms—including the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment—to better define roles and responsibilities, capitalize on comparative advantages of each stakeholder, and provide timely knowledge services through existing networks of practitioners.
“In the immediate relief phase, you have more of an idea of who is doing what. Later on though, during recovery and reconstruction, we don't find that,” said a second conference contributor, Lt. General (Retired) Nadeem Ahmed, Former Chairman of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority and National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan. “If we have a strong, robust, coordinating mechanism that will ensure that countries understand who is doing what and where, adequate standards and policies can be set by governments.”
Around 3000 delegates attended the conference, including representatives of governments, international agencies and institutions, regional bodies, civil society, the private sector, scientists, and academics.
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Note to editor: The GFDRR is a global partnership and its members include ACP Secretariat, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Haiti, India, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Nations Development Programme, United States, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Vietnam, The World Bank, and Yemen.