The speaker drew upon his recent experience in Pakistan to discuss the challenges of urban reconstruction. He noted serious impacts of disagreements and misunderstandings over the use of terms to describe sector activities, which were compounded across languages.
He proposed considering disaster response as a continuum rather than a series of phases, because each phase required a hand over process from one group to another, which was costly and created communication problems.
In Pakistan, the Earthquake Reconstruction and Relief Authority (ERRA) defined the national strategy, but the speaker noted their hesitance in engaging fully locally, where local authorities were in need of guidance. He explained their dilemma of where to begin reconstruction when everything was broken, and how it was nine months before significant rubble clearance began in Musafrabad.
In the urban context in Pakistan, he explained that planning was more difficult than in rural areas. He recommended that consultation is required in a series of inclusive meetings, rather than becoming a political process at strategic level.
The speaker paid tribute to the Government and people of Pakistan, and especially to their competence and open-mindedness.