JICA Ogata Research Institute

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No.5 Practical Approaches to Build Back Better with Inclusive Recovery from Earthquake Disasters: Discussion Based on the 2015 Nepal Earthquake Recovery Project by JICA

The 2015 Nepal Earthquake was the first devastating disaster after the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) was adopted in 2015. The Build Back Better (BBB) concept was approved as one of the SFDRR priority actions under the active initiatives program of the Japanese government. Against this backdrop, the Nepal Earthquake recovery process, particularly in the most heavily damaged housing sector, should have been the first proving case for BBB.

However, in a situation where consensus on the detailed requirements of BBB is yet to be formulated, and common understanding of BBB has not been globally attained, the emerging concept of Inclusive Recovery (IR) is gaining more attention in the global arena. From the IR perspective, BBB might leave behind the most vulnerable people since BBB requires universal vulnerability reduction across social groups and thus society as a whole. In the BBB framework, consideration on the most vulnerable, i.e., those who do not have enough socio-economic capacity to meet the requirement for BBB, is a potential challenge. BBB and IR can complement each other from their respective perspectives under certain operational arrangements and, as such, “BBB with IR” would materialize a more desired disaster recovery process.

This paper proposes a practical coherence between BBB and IR while referring to the actual practices JICA has experienced in Nepal in the Emergency Housing Reconstruction Project (EHRP) to clarify the logical relations between them. Here, it was found that JICA’s EHRP could not perfectly exhibit the coherence of BBB and IR as hypothesized in this paper, but it was clearly confirmed that JICA’s EHRP could incrementally minimize the left behind vulnerable people by step by step enhancement of the facilitation to beneficiaries with the Community Mobilization Program (CMP).

Nonetheless, we also found that CMP itself is basically a facilitation measure for households with self-help capacity, but it is not enough for the most vulnerable. As a lesson, we learned that the disaggregation of the most vulnerable who would eventually be left behind even with facilitation such as CMP is highly important, and we have to simultaneously initiate separate additional support activities for the most vulnerable from the beginning to attain the true BBB with IR.

This paper is a translated and edited version of the Japanese original published in July 2020.


Keywords: Build Back Better (BBB), Inclusive Recovery (IR), Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR), Leave no one behind (LNOB), Housing recovery after the earthquake

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