On behalf of UN-HABITAT and on my own behalf, I would like to reiterate my sincere condolences to the people and Governments of Pakistan , India and Afghanistan for the terrible tragedy that befell them on 8th October, 2005.
At the outset, I wish to thank the members of the International Community gathered here to-day for the moral and financial support they have given to the afflicted populations. I also wish to thank my colleague Mr. Jan Egeland, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, for his untiring efforts in mobilizing support for the victims. Let me now raise some issues that I believe are pertinent to secure a sustainable recovery and reconstruction from a Human Settlement Perspective. Some of these issues have been highlighted by a number of previous speakers. I will emphasize their importance.
The humanitarian agenda would be enhanced and hopefully improved by situating it within a medium and longer-term perspective. The sustainable recovery and reconstruction is dependent on prioritizing relief to save lives without losing site of recovery considerations. This way, synergy between immediate and long-term actions is maximized. In this context, within 36 hours of the disaster, UN-HABITAT dispatched shelter experts to the region. There is currently a team of 5 shelter experts on the ground including a senior coordinator cooperating with the UNDP.
UN-HABITAT is actively supporting activities under the early recovery cluster programming, namely: shelter, and land/property issues. Under this cluster, UN-HABITAT is leading both sub-clusters related to land and shelter/housing recovery and reconstruction , and contributing to define the system-wide priorities, scope and strategy for reconstruction activities through the development of TOR for the cluster, planning a joint assessment, and organizing relevant workshops . I n collaboration with other members of the Emergency Shelter Cluster and the Early Recovery Cluster, UN-HABITAT is developing a joint, unified Early Recovery Framework in support of the Government of Pakistan. The needs assessment exercise will continue until 5th November and include the analysis of secondary information as well as visits to affected areas. These Frameworks will provide strategic direction and identify programme opportunities in key sectors such as emergency shelter, livelihood, governance, environment, minor infrastructure and disaster risk management. The Frameworks will focus on immediate interventions to save lives as well as short-term opportunities to support the recovery of the affected population over the next 6-12 months and will provide support to the Government of Pakistan in concrete areas such as the rehabilitation of shelter/housing, emergency employment generation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of minor infrastructure, the recovery of local governments, etc.
We believe, this approach should complement the economic impact and damage assessment exercise that is being coordinated by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and that will take place in the same period.
In pursuit of this objective, initially two project proposals are being submitted by UN-HABITAT in the Framework of the current Flash Appeal.
Project 1: Immediate Reconstruction of Communities (US$ 7 million):
• The project aims at s upporting national government and local authorities as well as international efforts in the delivery of emergency shelter while ensuring the sustainable planning and management of reconstructed housing, community infrastructure and settlements throughout the earthquake affected areas. The project will m onitor the progress in the shelter sector, identify gaps, assist in strategizing to meet the shortfalls, avoid resettlements in risky areas and communicat e the strategy through the Humanitarian Coordinator, UN Country Team and external bodies.
• The project will also help in facilitating the process of reconstruction and recovery through mobilization of beneficiary communities, development of the capacity of national and local authorities and civic society partners to ensure the sustainable planning and management of reconstructed housing and infrastructure and settlements throughout the earthquake affected areas . It will also prepare and disseminate accurate information accumulated on shelter and basic infrastructure response through the emergency and early reconstruction phases. The project will work in close collaboration with Government of Pakistan, the local authorities, local NGO's and other international actors .
• The Project will deliver initially five ‘Building Resource Centers' for the provision of technical capacity support, training, and mobilization of building materials, equipment and supplies to assist families to initiate reconstruction of their homes in a manner that reduces their vulnerability to future risk, provides cash for work, and integrated community participatory planning. Immediate b eneficiaries of the project are estimated to be 170,000 families .
• Through this Project, UN-HABITAT is approaching the Flash Appeal as a means of:
• Initiating support to spontaneous reconstruction and avoid a problem noted in the Tsunami-affected areas of leaving out families who are already trying to rebuild their homes themselves while other agencies have to focus on humanitarian intervention to save lives. This will be provided through ‘building centers' established in at least five areas.
• Establishing a sturdy platform for longer-term support to the victims and government of Pakistan for shelter/settlements recovery. Concentrating on coordination of shelter recovery, technical support both directly and through partners (ILO/UNDP/UNOPS, Emergency Architects, Pakistan Institute of Architects, SIDA partnership programme, and others) on environmental remediation, critical infrastructure, land (planning, engineering, property rights), shelter and livelihoods; and
• Gathering pertinent data for recovery/reconstruction planning and programming. Monitoring systems for shelter reconstruction progress and information management/dissemination to authorities and agencies involved.
Project 2: Technical and Policy Support for Strategic Shelter Recovery Framework (US$ 5 million):
• The aim is to provide immediate technical assistance and organisational support to the newly established Rehabilitation Authority responsible for development policy and guiding the process of implementation through recovery and reconstruction process.
• Compilation and distribution of earthquake resistant building manuals for households and buildings, training workshops in seismic-resistant affordable technologies for local builders and building local capacity in enforcement of adequate building standards commensurate with economic realities, household policy development, support to information and progress-tracking systems, coordination, monitoring, reporting and further programme development. The project will benefit an estimated 3 million people and will be undertaken under partnership with Government of Pakistan (Rehabilitation Authority and local government), UNDP, UN Agencies, IFRC, INGOs, local NGOs and actors involved in shelter reconstruction.
UN-HABITAT's approach is that while prioritizing saving lives, we must also begin the long process of sustainable recovery.
Together with its partners and in support of the Government of Pakistan and sister agencies, UN-HABITAT has been present from the early days of the disaster shaping the international approach to shelter reconstruction and recovery strategies. Our engagement is based on the unique position of having the mandate within the UN, both for addressing issues of shelter and human settlements in crisis and in development. On behalf of all those who have lost their homes, we are appealing to the donor community here today for sufficient, earmarked resources for the two projects initially identified as part of the humanitarian response to this crisis. This support will save lives as well as speed up the recovery time so badly needed in the affected areas.
UN-HABITAT will continue its efforts as the focal point for shelter, land and property in the context of the new UN humanitarian cluster response framework.