UN partners with Japan to ‘build back better’ in Nepal

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has reaffirmed a partnership with Japan to support reconstruction in Nepal following the devastating earthquake.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the government of Nepal held a seminar in Kathmandu this week on the theme ‘build back better. The seminar was intended to exchange information and expertise, including practical experiences of Japanese rehabilitation and reconstruction processes to support building back better in Nepal. More than 20 seismology, disaster risk reduction, urban planning, housing and infrastructure specialists from Japan and Nepal took part in the discussion to ‘build back better’.

In the opening session, JICA president Akihiko Tanaka emphasized that the concept of ‘build back better’ meant preventative disaster risk reduction measures as a means of making communities more resilient.

UNDP regional deputy director Nicholas Rosellini reaffirmed UNDP’s partnership with JICA and the government of Nepal. He highlighted UNDP’s ongoing support for early recovery that bridges the gap between humanitarian response and development. He also spoke of the strong partnership for the post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) between the government and development partners. The government-led PDNA process is being assisted by UNDP, the World Bank and European Union (EU), together with other partners such as JICA and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The UNDP had held a two-day consultation meeting with Japan in Tokyo earlier this month, where an agreement was reached to strengthen the partnership to support Nepal’s recovery and reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake. On 15 May, Japan and UNDP signed an agreement for a US$1m emergency grant to manage debris and create emergency employment through a cash-for-work programme in affected areas of Nepal.

UNDP director Magdy Martínez-Solimán said last week: “The monsoon is just four weeks away, and will bring with it a high possibility of increased landslides, making it extremely difficult – if not impossible – to bring timely relief aid and recovery support to communities in rural areas. These areas are in dire need – 85-90 percent of houses have been destroyed or are unsafe.”