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New Delhi: Building Back Better by putting people at the centre of disaster recovery and reconstruction remained the central idea of talks, workshops, exhibitions and passionate discussions that marked the ‘Building Back Better’ event at School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) here on Saturday. The event was organised as a curtain raiser to the upcoming Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016.

AMCDRR 2016, scheduled to be held from November 3-5, 2016 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, will set the direction for implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in the Asia-Pacific region. Sendai Framework is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda and identifies targets and priority action areas towards reducing disaster risks.

Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction is priority 4 of the Sendai Framework. Quirkily turning it to ‘Back to Building Better’ and ‘Better Build Back’, interactive discussions at the event laid threadbare the concepts of building safety.

Kamal Kishore, Member, NDMA, set the tone for discussions which emphasised that housing must be treated as a process, not a product. Sandeep Virmani of Hunnarshala emphasised the need for identifying disaster resistant methods in vernacular systems of building and learning from them. While Peeyush Sheksaria of the World Bank took the students through 15 steps of reconstruction, Manas Murthy spoke about the interface of heritage and disasters. UNDP’s Abha Mishra spoke on building long-lasting disaster resilience. Prof. Mandeep Sharma, SPA, talked on the legacy of post-disaster architecture.

Rajendra Desai of the World Bank said that today retrofitting is the greenest option to reduce vulnerability and cost-effective, yet people are still reluctant to retrofit and more awareness is required. Elaborating on the concept of community-led initiatives, Manu Gupta of SEEDS talked about how local people are the masons, engineers, labourers and architects.

Saumya Kumar, faculty of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), put the social context of disasters in perspective. TISS students added an element of culture with poetry and skits that showed the invisible human face of disasters.

The hands-on workshop saw students putting together an emergency shelter, an emergency school and an emergency health centre.

Approximately 150 students, teachers, researchers and practitioners from fields such as architecture, planning, environmental studies, social studies, and communications participated in the event. It was organised in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, ODR Collaborative, Unnati and SEEDS.


Two more such curtain raiser events centred on the Sendai Framework priorities will be held at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) on October 26, 2016 and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP, Delhi) on October 27, 2016.

Priyanka With UNICEF

Amitabh With UNICEF

Sachin With UNICEF





New Delhi