Building back better in Nepal

15 May 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

woman carrying door in NepalTo help the micro-entrepreneurs, UNDP is allocating resources so that they can rapidly restore their businesses. Photo: UNDP in Nepal
The earthquake in Nepal is a tragedy, and there can be little consolation for the large scale death and destruction— for the lives and livelihoods lost, or for the many who are seriously injured, shattered and living in a state of fear and despair. However, the earthquake also exposed many of the vulnerabilities that amplified the impact of the shock, and has opened up opportunities for the country to recalibrate its development trajectory. There are two important lessons that should be heeded as we go forward. First, there are already strong calls from the international community for Nepal to address underlying risks and build back better. This is crucial, but it will take time and resources, not the least of which will be financial and technical support to ensure that the more than 500,000 homes destroyed or damaged are rebuilt or repaired so as to withstand future quakes. Having served in Mexico and lived in Mexico City a decade after the terrible earthquake that hit the megalopolis, I can attest to what a serious, risk-informed, massive urban planning exercise looks like. Mexico D.F. was built back much better. While it won’t be easy in Nepal, it will pay off in the … Read more

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