With support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) organized a seminar- “From Build Back Better to Disaster Risk Reduction: Government Responsibilities and the Role of Mutual Help” to commemorate the 3 rd anniversary of the Nepal Earthquake. About 150 participants representing the government, development partners, civil society, academia and media actively took part in the discussions.
According to a press release issued by JICA, the seminar highlighted the last three years of progress and achievements in reconstruction and recovery based on the principle of Build Back Better (BBB). Yuba Raj Bhusal, Chief Executive Officer of the NRA, in his keynote speech, explained that the Government of Nepal has been making utmost efforts to expedite the reconstruction process and shared the government is setting the target to complete all housing reconstruction by July 2019.
The same optimism was echoed by two JICA officials from Tokyo, who compared the case of Nepal with some other countries’ recent experiences and commended Nepal for making steady progress despite many challenges. NRA also shared two successful cases of accelerating the pace of housing reconstruction and bringing out positive changes in rural livelihoods.
A common approach underlying both of these examples was the mechanism of mutual help which seems to effectively complement the public support provided by the government. One of the examples shared at the seminar is the “Community Mobilization Program” for housing reconstruction supported by JICA. This group based, collective approach to housing reconstruction seems to be yielding visible acceleration impact in the JICA supported areas in Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk where the reconstruction start rate is 83% and completion rate is 40% as of March 2018.
It was also emphasized that creating a platform of mutual help would be an effective way of reaching out with livelihood support to the vulnerable groups who are the hardest hit by the disaster but often tend to be left behind. The speakers unanimously agreed that as clearly outlined in the Post Disaster Recovery Framework, Nepal’s recovery is not just concerning physical reconstruction, but it is also about making sure cultural, economic, social and even psychological well-being of the people are taken care of.
Moreover, the seminar discussion brought out the urgent need for the government to take concrete measures for enhancing urban resilience and investment in longer-term disaster risk reduction in the country by operationalizing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
Jun Sakuma, Chief Representative of JICA Nepal emphasized that disaster risk reduction is an integral part of social and economic development, and it is an essential investment if we want development to be sustainable in the long term. He concluded the seminar by reaffirming JICA’s commitment to continue its support to the Government of Nepal and its people for accelerating reconstruction and recovery while further enhancing DRR to attain the resilient Nepal.
At the seminar venue, 26 photos were displayed which show a diverse range of reconstruction and recovery assistance provided by the Government of Japan and JICA, such as housing and school reconstruction, cultural heritage rehabilitation, reconstruction of public infrastructure, and livelihood improvement for affected farmers. Included in the photo exhibition was a photo of the Dhamodaya Secondary School in Mirkot, Gorkha, which was reconstructed with JICA support and handed over yesterday on 25 April 2018 at a handover ceremony with the presence of Minister Giriraj Mani Pokahel, Ministry of Education, and Jun Sakuma, Chief Representative of JICA Nepal.
The school is part of the Emergency School Reconstruction Project (ESRP) supported by JICA which aims to rebuild over 230 schools in 6 districts.