Nepal has undoubtedly experienced its fair share of natural hazards over the last century, some of which recur year on year such as floods and landslides and others which have struck less frequently but have the potential to cause more devastation, as is the case with earthquakes. This makes the country one of the 20 most disaster-prone countries in the world.
The risk of exposure to natural hazards has been exacerbated by the fact that the country has only recently emerged from ten years of intrastate conflict. It is still vulnerable and has a long way to go in terms of development. Lack of government capacity, weak infrastructure (roads, buildings) and over-population in urban areas, makes it difficult to reduce the risk. There is a high need for preparedness approaches and disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies that take account of the country’s vulnerability.
Despite the risk that Nepal faces, levels of funding to preparedness between 2007 and 2009 have accounted for only 6% of total humanitarian funding. However, actual amounts have increased over the same period and will hopefully continue to do so with the introduction of the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium (NRRC). Funding for DRR is more difficult to track as currently there is no code within the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Creditor Reporting System (CRS) to which donors can report their funding.
Figure 1: Funding reported to prevention and preparedness code, 2007-2009 (US$ million). Source: Development Initiatives based on OECD CRS data
The Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium (NRRC) was launched by the Government of Nepal in May 2009 and is supported by a number of international institutions including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) along with several United Nations’ (UN) agencies and donors such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and the World Bank among others. Building on the successful risk reduction of other countries such as Bangladesh and Mozambique, the Consortium aims to generate funding for, and improve the coordination of, disaster preparedness and risk reduction in Nepal. It is not however a pooled fund (Nepal does already have one small pooled fund for emergency response). It attempts to build on the National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management (NSDRM) and to help support the Government of Nepal develop a DRR Action Plan. The NRRC is built around the assumption that a coordinated approach between different organisations engaged with DRR issues needs to be adopted, drawing on the experience and strengths of different institutions.
The Nepal Consortium is still in its infancy, yet it has shown that a properly articulated country plan can assist in attracting both interest and funding. It bridges the humanitarian and development divide, bringing together actors from both sides within an overall funding and coordinating umbrella. However, to date, not all donors have bought into the Consortium, with the absence of evidence demonstrating value for money (such as cost benefit analyses and impact assessments) cited as a key factor – a general characteristic of the global debate on preparedness. It is therefore perhaps too early to decide whether the Consortium is a model to be replicated in other countries, or a one off. Only time will tell.
For more information please see a special case study on Nepal that was carried out as part of a wider study on tracking funding for preparedness for the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).