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.
The fourth World Reconstruction Conference (WRC4) was held in Geneva on May 13-14, 2019 under the theme “Inclusion for Resilient Recovery,” building on the recognition and consensus of previous WRCs that recovery can risk reinforcing existing inequalities; that a resilient recovery is imperative to sustainable development and poverty reduction; and that to be resilient, recovery must build back better.
WRC4 was held in conjunction with the 6th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR, May 13-17, 2019). The conference brought together leaders, experts, policy makers, and practitioners from government, international organizations, NGOs, academia, and the private sector from both developing and developed countries. It also built on the experience and lessons learned from the previous editions.
WRC4 brought together experts, practitioners and stakeholders from various institutions and community-based organizations (associations active on gender equality and/or women’s empowerment, disabled people’s organizations, indigenous peoples’ rights, ex-combatants, youth participation, and migrants integration).
Social inclusion is defined throughout Inclusion Matters as both "the process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society" and, more specifically, as "the process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society."
Inclusion for Resilient Recovery
Inclusion in disaster recovery and reconstruction is a key condition for the people’s resilience. A more inclusive recovery fosters equal rights and opportunities, dignity and diversity, guaranteeing that nobody from a community is left out because of their age, gender, disability or other factors linked to ethnicity, religion, geography, economic status, political affiliation, health issues, or other life circumstances.
The international frameworks set up by the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement on Climate change all advocate for an increasing focus on resilience and inclusion.
The overall goal of the WRC4 was to build consensus and to renew and accelerate efforts towards realizing inclusive recovery processes. To this end, the conference discussed the challenges and inherent biases in the process of recovery and the reasons for which certain population groups are systematically excluded.
The conference had the following specific objectives:
- Identifying effective ways to ensure inclusive recovery and reconstruction processes for governments, international organisations, NGOs and civil society groups to create opportunities for active and meaningful participation of the communities in recovery to make this process more inclusive.
- Building consensus on gender-responsive approaches to promote shared recovery benefits. Due to pre-existing gender inequalities, women are generally hardest hit by a crisis and remain a marginalized group in most societies, even more so when gender-based discrimination intersects with other forms of vulnerability such as physical disability, belonging to minority groups, etc.
- Enhance inclusion of people with disabilities in recovery and reconstruction. Constraints in accessing natural resources, risk warnings, information on coping and responding, transportation and emergency shelters, in addition to socio-cultural barriers limiting participation and movement, are worsened by disasters and other crises. People with disabilities, who make up 15% of the world population, are disproportionately affected by those impacts, given their specific livelihood circumstances, their socio-political isolation (perpetuated by stigma, discrimination and exclusion), and related information asymmetry and constraint in decision-making processes due to lack of access to these processes and lack of meaningful inclusion.
- Fostering inclusion in disaster preparedness and response. To be effective and equal, disaster preparedness and response must be participatory and inclusive so to address the needs of all groups. It is, therefore, critical to engage the affected population in determining such needs and priorities.
WRC4 contributed to the international discourse on inclusion by raising awareness, facilitating discussion, sharpening the thinking, and setting the agenda for future engagement.
WRC4 was co-financed by the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program. Please find more information here.
PDNA Guidance: Integrating Conflict Sensitivity
The PDNA needs to be sensitive to any pre-existing social, ethnic or religious divisions within the society and suggest policies and measures that mitigate their effects through recovery, rather than aggravating them. This publication seeks to adapt the PDNA to conflict-affected contexts and responds to the growing awareness of the linkages between conflicts and disasters.
Guidelines for Assessing the Human Impact of Disasters
The Guidelines for Assessing the Human Impact of Disasters have been developed as part of the PDNA guidelines, and similarly follows a people-centered, human-recovery approach. The concept of human development is central to these guidelines, particularly measures that ensure people recover their ability to lead productive and creative lives to the extent possible, in accordance with their needs and interests.
Recovery: Challenges and Lessons
Through numbers and figures, this publication highlights the growing impact of disasters on people, communities and economies. In doing so, the publication emphasizes that recovery is an opportunity to not only rebuild infrastructure and livelihoods, but to learn from mistakes and build back better through a resilient, inclusive and risk-informed approach.
Concept Note/Note Conceptuelle
WRC4 Concept Note
This concept note provides information on WRC4, including background, objectives, contribution to international frameworks, information about the theme, and conference agenda.
Proceedings from previous conferences
WRC3 | 2017
Proceedings from World Reconstruction Conference 3 in Brussels, Belgium, which focused on “building back better in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Priority 4 of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
WRC2 | 2014
Proceedings from the 2nd World Reconstruction Conference, which took place in Washington, D.C. in 2014. The sessions centered on the theme, "Resilient Recovery: An Imperative for Sustainable Development."