Most crisis response programmes involve reconstruction of infrastructure facilities. These range from private property to public facilities such as irrigation systems, flood control and drainage, water supply, public buildings and transport access.
Local resource based approaches to infrastructure development have proven to be effective tools for both disaster preparedness as well as during relief, recovery and reconstruction works. It provides an opportunity to bring cash into the pockets of those affected by a crisis. The use of local resource-based technology is also an effective method for mobilising communities in their efforts to restore their livelihoods after a crisis.
With a sound capacity within local government to manage reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and a local industry furnished with the skills required to rebuild, it is possible to respond in a timelier manner to the demands resulting from a disaster situation.
In the case of conflict, the provision of employment to the disenfranchised can also contribute to defusing tension in volatile communities and lower the risk of future incidents. Equally, in societies where warring parties have recently promised a ceasefire or signed a peace agreement, there are strong expectations of livelihood development, including infrastructure improvements and increased job opportunities.
In terms of income, local resource based works can function as social protection schemes by providing short-term unskilled employment in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. Initially, these projects prioritise the quantity of employment generated over the quality of works created. This emphasis can gradually change so that the objective of creating employment is not compromising the efficiency and quality of the work itself. The ILO’s “Infrastructure and Jobs” programme supports this transition by building local capacity for infrastructure development in crisis affected areas.
In Asia, the ILO has been heavily involved in crisis response programmes in Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Solomon Islands, providing direct assistance to reconstruction works as well as in collaboration with other international agencies.
A key feature in most of these programmes has been the commitment to provide long-term support through all stages of the crisis response process, often starting while the during the conflict period, continuing through the recovery phase and thereafter transforming the support into regular development assistance.
The tools and guidelines developed for rural and urban infrastructure works are highly relevant to crisis response works. The ILO programme supports activities such as:
Responding to requests for assistance relating to crisis recovery and reconstruction when new disasters occur;
Technical and managerial advisory support to ongoing crisis response activities at country level (including activities by ILO as well as other agencies);
The development of guidelines and training material related to infrastructure reconstruction in post crisis situations;
The development of new guidelines on disaster preparedness (DRR) with an emphasis on building local capacity to deal with future possible natural disasters, thereby drawing up linkages to the new Green Jobs initiative.