Second Anniversary of 2015 Earthquake in Nepal - Progress on Reconstruction
Statement by Nepal International Development Partners Group (IDPG)
The Nepal International Development Partners Group joins the country in commemorating the victims of the Gorkha Earthquake of 25 April 2015 and its many aftershocks. Our thoughts are with those who perished and their loved ones. We also take this opportunity to commend the resilient spirit and determination of the Nepali people, and to reaffirm our commitment to assisting the Government of Nepal and the Nepali people in their post-earthquake reconstruction efforts.
An anniversary is a good time to take stock from our collective experiences. This was the biggest disaster the country went through in almost a century. At the same time it has been a catalyst for uniting the Nation. The Nepalese security forces, youth groups, private sector organisations and civil society were amongst the first to provide humanitarian help to those in need, both before and after support came from across the globe.
After much preparatory work under the leadership of the Government and with the Post Disaster Needs Assessment as the point of departure, the reconstruction momentum has picked up. More has been done than meets the eye, and now all efforts are needed to expand this momentum in the coming year. A pivotal role in this process has been assigned to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA). It is important that the NRA has all necessary means at its disposal to steer and coordinate these multi-stakeholder efforts.
Now in rural areas, some communities are getting back on their feet and taking ownership of the task of building back. Whether it is locals rebuilding walking trails to their village, working to build back health posts or people opening bank accounts – many for the first time ever - to receive the first tranche of the government’s housing grants, there is much that is worth celebrating.
But there are also people and communities who are yet to receive help and for whom the process of reconstruction has not moved fast enough. We understand and share their frustrations and realize that these processes will need to move faster.
Recovering from such a catastrophic disaster is a lengthy process; it will not be completed in a few years. We have seen this for countries like Japan and New Zealand that have built back after major earthquakes. The challenges to building back better require sustainable solutions, not quick-fixes. Such solutions take time to put in place, and to implement. Of course, the newly appointed local government bodies will have key roles to play in this process.
To move in this direction, the Government of Nepal and its development partners have agreed on four fundamental principles to guide the reconstruction process. The first is equity - recognizing all legitimate beneficiaries and making sure all of them receive fair assistance packages, while paying specific attention to the most vulnerable. The second is ownership – ultimately,the responsibility of reconstructing homes and public infrastructure will lie with the community members themselves. Third, safer construction, meaning communities beyond just the 14 earthquake-affected districts will receive support to build more resilient buildings including homes and schools. And fourth, transparency and accountability - the housing grants will be disbursed through the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
Reconstruction has to continue to be a top priority on the national agenda for some time to come, steered by a strong NRA. The time ahead will not be easy, but working collectively, it is possible to overcome the trauma and to build back better.
Rebuilding a safer, more resilient Nepal is in the interests of the people and the Government of Nepal, all its development partners, and its friends and well-wishers around the world. Most of all, it is in the interests of the people that will take on the driving seat of Nepal’s future, its youth. We applaud the progress made so far and will continue to support sustainable and faster progress in the next year.
The International Development Partners Group(IDPG) is the apex platform of the international development partners present in Nepal who meet to exchange views and information about all aspects of development cooperation and to coordinate joint efforts. The group works closely with the government and regularly invites high level representatives for discussions.