In-depth: Crisis Prevention & Recovery

Alt text for imageUNDP has been working in Eritrea, responding to the crisis situation by a setting up the Recovery Programme Management Unit and a building Mine Action Capacity Building Programme. (Photo: UN / Tobin Jones)

Building resilience to conflicts and disasters is at the very heart of UNDP's work. Globally UNDP helps countries prevent armed conflict, alleviate the risk and effects of disasters from natural hazards and build back better and stronger when crises happen. UNDP ensures that while the humanitarian response focuses on the immediate lifesaving needs of a population, those responsible also work towards longer-term development objectives.  

UNDP uses the early recovery approach which is a multidimensional process of recovery that begins in a humanitarian setting. It is an integrated and coordinated approach, using humanitarian mechanisms, to gradually turn the dividends of humanitarian action into sustainable crisis recovery, resilience building and development opportunities.

In addition UNDP helps countries to strengthen development gains in post-crisis countries by helping governments respond to disasters and mitigate the risk they pose; addressing the underlying causes of violence; reinforcing governance and the rule of law; supporting livelihoods; and by using short-term employment schemes that allow local people to rebuild critical infrastructure after a disaster.

Our Goals

In line with the Strategic Partnership Cooperation Framework 2013-2016, the UN recognizes the unique vulnerability of Eritrea to climate change and variability with its consequent droughts, floods, and rainfall variability - all of which could reverse the development gains of the country.  In addition, the country is vulnerable to volcanic eruption due to its location in the Rift Valley, therefore disaster risk management is critical to minimize impact and build resilience, of systems and individuals to withstand shocks.

The Eritrean government has made efforts to mainstream disaster risk reduction at the sectoral level, under key ministries such as Health, Agriculture, Labour and Human Welfare. However, these sectoral initiatives require synergy for maximum impact.  This therefore, calls for a coordinated multi-sectoral response mechanism.

UNDP seeks to strengthen institutional capacity for disaster risk through a policy framework and national coordination mechanisms. This will consequently lead to the establishment and development of a specific national coordination structure and implementation of a national policy on disaster risk management.

Two types of crises affect Eritrea:

  1. Post-conflict humanitarian and economic crises; and
  2. Drought related humanitarian and economic crises.

As a result of the combined effects of the recurrent drought and the recent border war with Ethiopia, the survival of 1.9 million people in 2004 depended on humanitarian assistance.

The challenges facing Eritrea since the signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with Ethiopia on 12 December 2000 include:

  • Mitigating the impact of drought on vulnerable populations and strengthening their coping mechanisms;
  • Assisting internally displaced persons (IDPs) who still remain in camps and enabling them to return home or be resettled and resume their livelihoods;
  • Assisting the remaining Rural Expellees from Ethiopia to be permanently resettled in new areas;
  • Rehabilitating and reconstructing social and economic infrastructure damaged during the border war; and

Assisting in the social and economic reintegration of demobilized soldiers into civilian life and productive economic pursuits. 


With the support of the Italian Government, UNDP first responded to the crisis situation in Eritrea by a setting up the Recovery Programme Management Unit and beginning implementation of the Post War Eritrean Recovery Programme (PoWER) in 2000. In 2002 the Mine Action Capacity Building Programme joined PoWER and other programmes to become part of the UNDP Recovery Programme.

The UNDP Recovery Unit has also been closely involved in crisis prevention planning, and has participated and provided input in the development of:

  • The Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
  • The Draft Food Security Strategy

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