Building resilience in Nepal through public-private partnerships

World Economic Forum
2015

Summary

The extent and complexity of the natural risks Nepal faces mean that a multi-stakeholder approach to resilience is vital. How can we build on, and leverage, the capabilities and capacities for resilience in the public and private sectors, as well as civil society?  This use case assesses how buildings and key parts of the economy, such as tourism, can be made more resilient, and describes potential resilience-building public-private partnerships (PPP) activities. It aims to expand dialogue on PPPs, both in Nepal and in other countries that are at risk from such disasters.

The paper offers context on Nepal and the 2015 earthquake. It focuses on three key areas: housing, education and tourism, analysing what worked and what didn’t in the earthquake response, offers examples of public-private partnerships that worked and suggests potential ways forward.

Key findings

  • Resilience is a social and political issue as much as an economic and developmental one.
  • Efforts to ‘build back better’ must also incorporate support for Nepal’s political transition as a foundation for resilience.
  • Strengthening pre-established partnerships between the public and private sectors can improve responses to and reduce the impacts of future emergencies
  • Crucial economic sectors, such as tourism and construction, can benefit from public-private cooperation for recovery and reconstruction.
  • Implementing and enforcing building codes and focusing on making schools safe should be a high priority in reconstruction efforts.
  • Retrofitting to make existing houses more “earthquake resilient” can save lives and reduce economic losses, and can be done in an affordable way that uses locally available skills and technologies.
  • The private sector can offer unique expertise, capability and capacity for the Nepali government’s reconstruction efforts.
  • Public-private partnerships and innovative financing arrangements can be crucial parts of reconstruction and building resilience in Nepal.

Recommendations

The experience of the 2015 earthquake underlines the importance of strengthening partnerships between the public and private sectors to prepare for future emergencies. This will include putting in place stronger business continuity, environmental and risk management measures, and streamlining custom arrangements in emergencies and, more specifically:

  • Building resilience into houses: ensuring the high quality and availability of local building materials; technical expertise of local building materials multi-hazard construction methods; how to guide local authorities and owners in implementing the building code; gaining a better understanding of local risks and developing more local technical capacity; using subsidies or financing as an incentive to rebuild safely.
  • Ensuring safe schools: assessing the cost and benefits of retrofitting schools, and how to provide technical support to improve school safety.
  • Enabling tourism: utilising public-private partnerships to encourage tourism, which was seriously affected by the earthquake and is a crucial component of Nepal’s economy.

Source

WEF. (2015). Building resilience in Nepal through public-private partnerships. Switzerland, Geneva: World Economic Forum. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GAC15_Building_Resilience_in_Nepal_report_1510.pdf