Representatives from the United Nations, developing countries and the donor community opened a high-level conference today to address the crucial time gap in coverage between humanitarian relief in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and long-term recovery.
“The importance of early recovery planning – a separate but parallel process within any emergency setting – is one of the key lessons of the new millennium,” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery Director Kathleen Cravero told the meeting in Copenhagen.
“It is a lesson learned the hard way – from conflict zone to earthquake zone, tsunamis to flash floods. Even as humanitarian workers are actively distributing life-saving supplies, we need to give communities something to live for – providing the resources and know-how families, communities and countries need to get back on their feet again,” she said.
Jointly sponsored by the UNDP and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Early Recovery Practitioners’ and Policy Forum aims to outline a set of commitments and actions to boost early recovery efforts and bridge the gap between reliance and self-sufficiency.
While beginning on the first day of any crisis, natural disaster or conflict, early recovery is geared towards the future, addressing damages to infrastructure, property, livelihoods, and societies. Its goal is not just to enable a smoother transition to long-term recovery, restoring livelihoods, government capacities and shelter, but to offer hope to those who survive the crisis.
Early recovery builds on humanitarian programmes and lays critical foundations for generating self-sustaining, nationally-owned recovery. Its scope goes beyond the restoration of basic services and encompasses efforts to secure stability, establish peace and resuscitate markets.
Forum participants will draw upon the lessons learned from crisis situations in four countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Myanmar and Pakistan – where early recovery strategies have been put into action, illustrating the benefits of early recovery programming as well as the areas needing improvement.
More specifically, the forum aims to address the gaps in early recovery planning, capacity building and financing, resulting in a set of commitments participants will sign at the event’s conclusion.