The Fourth Edition of the World Reconstruction Conference (WRC4) concluded yesterday in Geneva, having gathered over 1 000 participants from national and local governments, civil society, the private sector, academia, and international organisations from around the world. The conference, which aimed to promote inclusion for resilient recovery, examined why certain minority groups are left behind by post-disaster recovery processes, and how they can better be included.
Jointly organised by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Commission, the WRC4 was hosted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). It focused on the theme of “Inclusion for Resilient Recovery” discussing challenges and shared experiences on different dimensions of inclusion in recovery processes. Inclusion ensures the full and meaningful participation and leadership of all groups and individuals in identifying and reducing risk across all dimensions of recovery and reconstruction. It also accounts for human diversity and promotes equality of rights, access to services and opportunities for all. Inclusive approaches create social cohesion and contribute to resilience.
Although impressive development gains have been made over the last few decades, hundreds of millions of people continue to be excluded from the benefits. Adverse natural events, including climate-related events, conflicts and man-made disasters undermine development gains and contribute to increased vulnerability and exclusion, with average annual welfare losses of over US$500 billion and up to 26 million people pushed into poverty each year. All too often, it is groups such as women and girls; ethnic, linguistic, gender and sexual minorities; people in rural areas; indigenous peoples; people with disabilities; migrants and displaced people; youth; and the elderly who are disproportionately excluded from the benefits of development, including post-disaster recovery. These categories can intersect, and those in these groups are particularly vulnerable.
The overall goal of the WRC4 was to build consensus and to renew and accelerate efforts towards realising inclusive recovery processes. The conference discussed the challenges and inherent biases in the process of recovery and the reasons why certain stakeholders are systematically excluded. The WRC4 has further contributed to the international discourse on inclusion by raising awareness, facilitating discussion, sharing best practice, lessons and solutions and setting the agenda for future engagement, with a view to advancing the implementation of the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The WRC is an important element of the collaboration between the EU, UN and WB towards building the practice of recovery and jointly advocating for sustainable and resilient recovery processes. The World Reconstruction Conference is a global forum that provides a platform to collect, assess, and share experiences in disaster recovery and reconstruction and take forward the policy dialogue.