The post-disaster setting is a complex and demanding environment, where the most urgent task is to promptly assess humanitarian needs and provide life-saving relief assistance to those affected. It further requires an assessment of the damages and losses caused by the disaster and the development of a comprehensive recovery plan that would lead back to a sustainable development process where risk reduction in the face of disasters is explicitly considered. To meet such challenges a country affected by a disaster often requires the support of a wide range of national and international actors. In the past this process was characterized by a multiplicity of parallel needs assessments and planning exercises conducted by respective individual groups, agencies, and donors. Typically such assessments varied in scope and rigor and would be undertaken at different stages during the phases of response, and recovery.

This led to recognizing the need to build strong partnerships and strengthen coordination to improve coherence in post-disaster settings. In 2008, the European Union (EU), the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) agreed to mobilize member institutions and resources to harmonize post-disaster assessment methods to better support governments and affected populations with a coordinated approach. The present volume of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment Guide (PDNA) represents a significant outcome of the coordinated approach.

The PDNA Guide was developed as a common platform for partnership and coordinated action in post-disaster assessment and recovery planning.