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date: 22 October 2019

Funding Flows: Transboundary Considerations of Disaster Recovery

Summary and Keywords

Scholars agree that the impact of a disaster in a globalized world increasingly extends beyond political and geographical boundaries, creating transboundary disaster events. Though not all disasters fit the description of a transboundary event, many embody transboundary characteristics. For instance, national and transnational financing and other resources directed toward post-disaster humanitarian relief and long-term reconstruction efforts can also create transboundary flows that cross political and geographical lines. Rebuilding after physical damage and economic losses during a disaster, the impacts of which are disproportionately higher in the poorest countries, is a costly endeavor that requires multiple sources of finance. Depending on the scale and visibility of the disaster and local capacities, financial arrangements, resources, and assistance can come from a variety of sources including the government, international institutions, and private-sector, and nongovernmental, and civil society organizations. In particular, transnational financing from bilateral donors and international financial institutions, which constitute multilateral and bilateral streams of financing for post-disaster recovery, comprise a significant percentage of recovery funding globally. Such flows, although inherently transboundary, are not well understood as a phenomenon within the transboundary disasters literature.

Three major types of agencies provide funding for post-disaster reconstruction including multilateral development banks (MDBs), also referred to as international financial institutions (IFIs); bilateral development agencies within donor countries; and United Nations (UN) development agencies. MDBs such as the World Bank are created by a group of countries that utilizes pooled contributions from national governments and additional resources, such as interest collected from loans, to finance development projects. Bilateral development agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development are institutions established by individual countries to provide development funding to nation-states; they work closely with IFIs.

Numerous questions about transnational financing for post-disaster recovery as an important component of the transboundary disaster literature remain unanswered and need further insights. What are the links among transnational stakeholders (i.e., MDBs, bilateral donors, UN agencies, and international nongovernmental organizations) and transboundary financial arrangements for post-disaster recovery? What are the aggregate impacts of transboundary financing on post-disaster reconstruction? How do transboundary financing flows occur among bilateral donors, MDBs, and local and international nongovernmental organizations? Where can scholars find data sets on post-disaster transnational financing? How does transboundary financing impact post-disaster recovery governance in recipient countries? The current state of knowledge on transboundary financing of post-disaster recovery provides some guidance on best practices and the challenges with coordinating and monitoring.

Keywords: disaster recovery, transnational funding, transboundary disaster, disaster governance, financing recovery

Framing the Transboundary in Disaster Recovery

It is well known that environmental hazards are transboundary in nature. Most active seismic fault lines cross regions, storm-related events such as hurricanes and tropical cyclones can impact multiple countries in their path, and the effect of flood events on large river basins are regional. Relatively less studied are the transboundary dimensions of a disaster event (Sapat & Esnard, 2011; Wachtendorf, 2009) even as disasters and crises become more transboundary in nature (Hermann & Dayton, 2009; Olsson, 2015). The impact of disasters due to environmental hazards can extend beyond the boundaries of the nation-states in which they occur such as through the disruption of supply chains (e.g., after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami [3/11]) or due to transnational displacement of impacted populations (e.g., after the 2010 Haiti earthquake; Oliver-Smith, 2018; Sapat & Esnard, 2011; United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction [UNISDR], 2017).

Scholars define a transboundary disaster as one that can jump political boundaries (Quarantelli, Lagadec, & Boin, 2006) and threaten the life-sustaining systems or critical infrastructures of multiple states (Boin & ’t Hart, 2006). Transboundary disasters can trigger “trans-system social ruptures (TSSRs) . . . by disrupting the fabric of different social systems” (Quarantelli et al., 2006, p. 27), which can impact national (Quarantelli et al., 2006) and transnational systems (Wachtendorf, 2009). Ansell, Boin, and Keller (2010) describe transboundary disaster as one characterized by three dimensions—political, functional, and temporal. The political dimension includes disasters that cross political boundaries horizontally across national states or vertically among governmental levels. The functional dimension relates to disasters that jump functional boundaries and threaten multiple infrastructures, crossing from public to private or from one industry to another. Temporal disasters transcend time boundaries and may not be the result of a single event but rather a concentration of related events, causing multiple impacts that appear at different time scales (Ansell et al., 2010).

The response to a disaster can also be transboundary. The government of Japan’s response to 3/11, a transboundary disaster, had transboundary aspects. Local capacities were severely weakened due to manpower shortages after 3/11 as the impacted Tohoku region in northeast Japan lost a large number of local municipal officials during the disaster (Aoki, 2016). To address staff shortage in local governments, the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) introduced a temporary manpower support program in collaboration with the Japan Association of City Mayors, the National Association of Towns and Villages, and local governments in the disaster-affected prefectures (Aoki, 2016). The program entailed the temporary transfer of local government employees to municipalities in the disaster-affected region. The MIC served a liaison role to match the supply of municipal staff to the demand (Aoki, 2015), creating transboundary flows across political boundaries and municipal and prefectural jurisdictions to the site of the disaster event.

Transboundary disasters can challenge the effectiveness of a nation-state’s traditional organization, policy, and legal tools (Boin & Rhinard, 2008). Scholars note the compounded challenges of managing a disaster that spans geographical borders and policy boundaries and the need for adaptation and cooperation under difficult conditions when capacity and response authority is distributed across multiple organizations and jurisdictions (Ansell et al., 2010). Studies have also examined transboundary crises management and decision-making processes (Hermann & Dayton, 2009; Olsson, 2015), regional governance models that can span borders for transboundary disaster management (Boin, Busuioc, & Groenleer, 2014), building regional management capacities for transboundary crises (Boin & Lodge, 2016; Boin, Rhinard, & Ekengren, 2014), and the capacities and constraints of international organizations, such as the European Union (EU), to manage transboundary disasters that are traditionally the responsibility of nation-states (Boin & Rhinard, 2008). Others have looked at the role of state and non-state actors in responding to transboundary disasters (Sapat & Esnard, 2011) and hazard risks (Sternberg, 2014), the regional impacts and joint solutions to transboundary hazards (Mayer, 2006), and preventing transboundary crises (Roe, 2009).

Past research, however, frames transboundary disasters as those that cross multiple boundaries and can threaten multiple systems and examines models and approaches to manage and respond to such events. Though not all disasters fit within this framework of transboundary events, many embody transboundary characteristics. Transboundary disasters demand an interdisciplinary, coordinated response among many actors that operate in different systems and in different countries (Boin & Rhinard, 2008). This can be true for disasters that may not be transboundary as defined by the current scholarship, yet the responses to them are transboundary in nature. For instance, national and transnational funding and other resources directed toward post-disaster relief and recovery efforts can create transboundary flows toward a site or a region impacted by a disaster event. The flows can cross political and geographical boundaries, creating transboundary processes where capacity and response is distributed across multiple organizations and jurisdictions. Such transboundary processes are different as the response-related flows move toward the disaster event instead of the disaster itself spreading across geographic and political lines. The response to a disaster event, whether it is localized or transboundary, can thus come from beyond its geographic and political boundaries, creating transboundary arrangements during post-disaster recovery.

Funding for Disaster Recovery

As population growth and uncontrolled building in risky areas exposes a growing number of people globally to environmental hazards such as floods, storms, earthquakes, and wildfire, the corresponding increase in the frequency, scale, and intensity of disasters has also led to a rise in disaster-related damages and post-disaster recovery costs. Between 1960 and 2017, the cost of disaster-related damages worldwide rose from less than USD 5 billion to more than USD 300 billion, with 2011 (USD 364 billion) and 2017 (USD 317 billion) being the costliest years (see Figure 1). The heaviest losses during a single year have been in the Americas (USD 277 billion in 2017) followed closely by Asia (USD 273 billion in 2011; Guha-Sapir, Below, & Hoyois, 2018). Floods (i.e., riverine flood, flash flood, or coastal flood), storms (i.e., hurricanes, tornadoes, or tropical cyclones), and earthquakes (i.e., ground movement and tsunami) together have been responsible for most of the damages worldwide (see Figure 2). In 2017, floods caused USD 268 billion in total damages followed by storms (USD 20 billion) and earthquakes (USD 9 billion). In 2011, earthquake-related damages were estimated at USD 230 billion followed by floods (USD 70 billion) and storms (USD 50 billion; Guha-Sapir et al., 2018).

The impact of disasters is proportionately higher in the poorest countries (UNISDR, 2004; World Bank, 2006). While absolute economic loss is higher in wealthier countries, as a share of the gross national income the impact of economic losses in the poorest countries is the highest. The United States suffered losses in the amount of USD 125 billion due to Hurricane Katrina, which represented only 0.1% of its gross domestic product (GDP). In contrast, losses in the poorest countries have been between 134% and 378% of GDP (UNISDR, 2004).

Rebuilding after physical damage and economic losses due to a disaster are usually costly endeavors that require multiple sources of finance (Leitmann, 2011). While the complexity and length of post-disaster recovery varies depending on the scale and nature of the disaster and the response of the populations and institutions involved (Jha, Barenstein, Phelps, Pittet, & Sena, 2010), being able to locate appropriate funds is a key driver of recovery.

The rising cost of disaster-related damages ensures that locating adequate financial resources to fund post-disaster recovery is critical, complex, and challenging. Depending on the scale and visibility of the disaster and local capacities, financial arrangements, resources, and assistance can come from a variety of sources, including the government (e.g., local and national governments, public agencies, bilateral donors); international institutions (e.g., multilateral development banks [MDBs], bilateral agencies, and United Nations [UN] organizations); local, national, and international nongovernment organizations [NGOs]); civil society organizations; and the private sector (e.g., banks, insurance companies, individual donations, diaspora remittances). For instance, remittances tend to increase after a disaster, and diaspora organizations report an increase in the frequency and amount (almost double) of remittances following a disaster event (World Bank Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, 2016). In response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, USD 14 billion was pledged or donated by the international community for emergency relief and long-term reconstruction in disaster-impacted countries around the Indian Ocean basin. This international funding came from three main sources: government (i.e., bilateral arrangements, 46%), private (39%), and MDBs (15%). The general public provided the vast majority of the USD 5.5 billion in private donations (Flint & Goyder, 2006). Together, bilateral and multilateral arrangements comprised a majority (61%) of the recovery funds. The funds were transferred among multiple levels across agencies before reaching executing or implementing agencies for final disbursement (de Goyet, 2008), creating a complex network of transboundary flows.

Funding Flows: Transboundary Considerations of Disaster RecoveryClick to view larger

Figure 1. Total economic damage during disasters on five continents from 1960 to 2017.

Source: Guha-Sapir et al. (2018).

Funding Flows: Transboundary Considerations of Disaster RecoveryClick to view larger

Figure 2. Total economic damage during disasters based on disaster type from 1960 to 2017.

Source: Guha-Sapir et al. (2018).

It is important to note that donors, institutional systems, and funding constraints for post-disaster arrangements are different for immediate relief and response versus long-term recovery (Amin & Goldstein, 2008). Indeed, governance arrangements and stakeholder participants vary across disaster phases (i.e., preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation; Tierney, 2012). These phases do not necessarily follow a sequential pattern but can blur and merge into one another or occur simultaneously or in different sequences among different communities. While confusion about the activities in each phase remains, the framework remains useful. The relief or response phase is defined as the provision of assistance during or immediately after a disaster to save lives and meet the basic subsistence needs of people affected by the disaster (de Goyet, 2008). Activities include search and rescue, evacuation, food and water distribution, temporary sanitation and healthcare, temporary shelter, and restoration of the access to transport. The recovery phase, including short- and long-term recovery programs and interventions to reduce future disaster losses, is the set of decisions and actions taken after a disaster to restore or improve the predisaster living conditions of the disaster-stricken community (de Goyet, 2008). Most relief funds are not available for use in reconstruction; the terms permanent and reconstruction are banned from flash appeals for immediate relief. Furthermore, activities undertaken during the relief or response phase are managed by the humanitarian sector, whereas those carried out during the recovery and reconstruction phase are managed by the EU, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under a tripartite agreement. The separation in roles creates a split in mandates at the multinational and bilateral levels. The United National Office of Humanitarian Assistance (UN OCHA) coordinates immediate relief, while the EU, the World Bank, and the UNDP are the lead organizations for long-term recovery (Amin & Goldstein, 2008; EU, World Bank, & UNDP, 2008; Stumpenhorst, Stumpenhorst, & Razum, 2011).

Despite the rise in international funding and the complexity of transnational financing directed toward disaster recovery globally, the current scholarship does not pay much attention to the transboundary aspects of post-disaster recovery. In particular, there is limited understanding of the links between transnational stakeholders and their networks and transboundary financial arrangements for post-disaster recovery. This article focuses on transboundary financial arrangements during the disaster recovery phase and its implications for post-disaster governance. Specifically, it looks at multilateral and bilateral streams of financing for post-disaster recovery, flows that are transboundary in nature (i.e., cross geographical borders and political boundaries) and comprise a significant percentage of recovery funding globally but are not well understood as a phenomenon within the transboundary disasters literature.

Multilateral Development Banks, Bilateral Agencies, and Disaster Recovery

Table 1. Examples of Transnational Funding Pledges for Reconstruction After Major Disaster Events

Disaster Event

Year

Country/Region

Pledge Amount (USD)

Hurricane Mitch

1998

Central America

6.3 billion

Marmara Earthquake

1999

Turkey

1.7 billion

Bam Earthquake

2003

Iran

1.0 billion

Indian Ocean Tsunami—Aceh & Nias

2004

Indonesia

7.7 billion

Indian Ocean Tsunami—Sri Lanka

2004

Sri Lanka

3.0 billion

Kashmir Earthquake

2005

Pakistan

5.4 billion

Haiti Earthquake

2010

Haiti

10 billion

Source. Augustina (2008), Sheridan and Lynch (2010), World Bank (2006).

Following a major disaster event, nation-states have received large inflows of transnational funding (e.g., see Table 1) that are often in the form of pledges consisting of donor grants and loans and NGO funds (Augustina, 2008). However, a large chunk of post-disaster recovery funds originate from development agencies that provide billions of dollars in loans and grants for the borrowing country to use to procure goods, equipment, and services needed to carry out post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation. There are three major types of development agencies that provide funding for post-disaster reconstruction: MDBs, bilateral development agencies, and UN development agencies. This section focuses on two streams of transboundary funding for disaster recovery, namely MDBs and bilateral development agencies.

Multilateral Development Banks

An MDB is an international financial institution (IFI) created by a group of countries that utilizes pooled contributions from national governments and additional resources, such as interest collected from loans, to finance development projects. MDBs have memberships that include donor and borrower countries and are arranged on a global or regional basis. They provide financing, through loans and grants, and advice for development-related projects and activities to a borrowing member for the purpose of executing development projects. MDBs do not execute projects or programs themselves; instead they lend funds to executing agencies in the borrowing member countries to carry out the project or program in accordance with procurement guidelines and regulations determined by the MDB (Government of Canada, 2018). After a disaster, nations with low capital reserve often request increased or additional emergency loans to fund long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation. In such contexts, MDBs are called upon to provide support through reconstruction financing and experience, international good practice, impact evaluations, and the task of coordinating the various donors and agencies engaged in the process (Fenglar, Ihsan, & Kaiser, 2008). Some of the largest MDBs include the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), African Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and Caribbean Development Bank. Table 2 provides a snapshot of all major global and regional MDBs. Subregional banks such as the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, Development Bank of Latin America, and East African Development Bank are not included due to their limited geographical reach and small number of member states (i.e., less than 20; Faure, Prizzon, & Rogerson, 2015; Government of Canada, 2018). Most MDBs were established during and after decolonization. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank were established more recently, 20 years after the last major new MDB. The United States and Japan hold the largest percentage of voting shares in a majority of the MBDs, including ADB (Faure et al., 2015).

Table 2. Snapshot of Major Global and Regional MDBs

Scale

MDB

Established

Headquarters

Member States & Membership Conditions

Global

World Bank Group—International Bank for Reconstruction & Development

1944

Washington, DC

189, Must be member of International Monetary Fund

World Bank Group—International Development Association

1960

Washington, DC

173, Must be member of International Bank for Reconstruction & Development

Regional

Asian Development Bank (Official UN Observer)

1966

Manila

67

African Development Bank Group

1964

Abidjan

80

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

2015

Beijing

86

European Bank for Reconstruction & Development

1991

London

66 + European Union + European Investment Bank

European Investment Bank

1958

Luxembourg

28, Must be member of European Union

Inter-American Development Bank

1959

Washington, DC

48

Islamic Development Bank

1975

Jeddah

57, Must be member of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

Caribbean Development Bank

1969

Jamaica

28

Note. MDB = multilateral development banks.

Source. Faure et al. (2015).

Once a disaster occurs, MDBs such as the World Bank, for instance, may be called upon for assistance. Since the World Bank is not a relief agency, it does not participate in the initial response. However, a team from the Bank may assist in initial impact assessments, including an estimate of financial losses from the disaster and an estimate of reconstruction costs. Based on this initial assessment, the World Bank might restructure a nation-state’s existing loan portfolio or other projects with the Bank to shift funding toward recovery. For example, it can restructure existing loans to allow for expanded recovery projects or redesign projects that have not yet been approved to address the changes caused by the disaster. Moreover, an Emergency Recovery Loan (ERL) can be granted to meet specific long-term reconstruction needs (Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery [GFDRR], 2012; World Bank Independent Evaluation Group [WB-IEG], 2006). The World Bank’s post-disaster reconstruction portfolio has increased sharply since the 1980s. From 1984 to 2005, the Bank had 528 disaster-related projects worth USD 26.3 billion in its portfolio, representing 9.4% of all loan commitments. However, the World Bank’s lending has been heavily concentrated in just a handful of countries. Ten countries account for 208 of the 528 disaster projects (39%) and 7.5% of projects, mostly related to restoring physical assets, received 32% of the financing (WB-IEG, 2006). Table 3 provides a list of key MDBs that have financed post-disaster humanitarian relief and/or long-term recovery with a snapshot of the financial instruments used and examples of assistance provided.

Table 3. Snapshot of Financial Instruments and Examples of Assistance Provided by Some of the Key Global and Regional Multilateral Development Banks for Post-Disaster Humanitarian Reliefa and/or Long-Term Recoveryb

Scale

MDB

Financial Instruments to Support Response & Recovery

Examples of Assistance

Global

World Bank—IDA

  1. 1. Contingent emergency components within existing investment projects.

  2. 2.Restructure (Immediate Response Mechanism) OR additional financing to existing investment projects.

  3. 3. Emergency lending (e.g., Emergency Recovery Loan)

  4. 4.Contingent credit lines

  5. 5. IDA—Crisis Response Window: Concessional assistance for recovery and reconstruction for severe events (to complement emergency lending)

Approved 68 lending operations for disaster reconstruction between 2006 and 2011 for a total commitment of USD 3.8 billion.

  • 2010 Typhoon Haima, Laos (Laos Roads Sector Project, USD 27.8 million). Contingent Emergency Components of USD 1 million and reallocation of USD 3 million from other project components.

  • 2011 Horn of Africa Drought (USD 1.88 billion + IDA—Crisis Response Window USD 250 million in Emergency Lending).

  • 2011 Tropical Storm Washi, Philippines (Contingent Credit Lines via Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Options—Cat DDO, USD 500 million.

Regional

ADB

  1. 1. Restructure or provide additional financing for ongoing projects.

  2. 2. Emergency Assistance Loans for small short-term projects for immediate rapid restoration

  3. 3. New investment projects for long-term reconstruction

Approved 609 disaster related projects between 1987 and 2012 for a total commitment of USD 14 billion. Of this 35% was for disaster reconstruction and 13% for emergency assistance.

  • 2011 Flood Emergency Reconstruction Project, Pakistan (USD 654 million)

  • 2012 Flood Emergency Reconstruction Project, Cambodia (USD 55 million)

  • 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Asian Tsunami Fund—Sri Lanka (USD 265 million)

  • 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Earthquake and Tsunami Emergency Support Project—Aceh & North Sumatra (USD 291 million)

AfDB

  1. 1. Special Relief Fund to provide Emergency Relief Assistance Grants (USD 1.0 million limit)

  • 2009 Floods, Sudan

  • 2011 Horn of Africa Drought, Somalia

IADB

  1. 1. Emergency Technical Cooperation Grants (USD 200,000 limit)

  2. 2. Immediate Response Facility (USD 20 million limit from IADBs Ordinary Capital resources)

  3. 3. Reconstruction loans OR loan reformulation

Approved 68 lending operations for disaster response and recovery between 1995 and 2012 for a total commitment of USD 1.37 billion.

  • 2011 Flooding and Landslides, Venezuela (USD 20 million)

  • 2011 Puyehue Volcano Eruption, Argentina (USD 20 million)

CDB

  1. 1. Emergency Relief Grants (USD 200,000 limit)

  2. 2. Immediate Response Loans (USD 750,000 limit)

  3. 3. Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Loans

  • 2011 Hurricane Tomas, St. Lucia (USD 17.9 million)

Note. MDB = multilateral development bank; ADB = Asian Development Bank; AfDB = African Development Bank; IADB = Inter-American Development Bank; CDB = Caribbean Development Bank; IDA = International Development Association.

(a) Emergency assistance.

(b) Disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Source. GFDRR (2012).

Characteristics of MDB Financing

Three aspects characterize transboundary financing through MDBs. First, the funds flow through a small number of large, influential MDBs that finance not only post-disaster reconstruction but also a wide variety of development-related programs. As a result, transboundary MDB financing for disaster recovery is often closely intertwined with existing development loans and/or debt obligations of a nation-state. Following the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the government of Mexico established four different housing programs. The most extensive of the four programs was the Renovacion Habitacion Popular developed to rebuild or repair 48,800 housing units in the hardest-hit neighborhoods in Mexico City. Funding for the overall program came in part from Mexican government housing programs (40%) and the remainder from World Bank loans (60%). The Mexican government’s capacity to manage post-earthquake programs was helped by concessions from the International Monetary Fund. At the time of the earthquake, Mexico was to pay back about USD 900 million in principal on its foreign debt. Instead, Mexico received a 90-day postponement, and then the International Monetary Fund agreed to lend the country another USD 1.6 billion while indefinitely postponing principal repayments (Comerio, 1998).

Second, the flow of funds takes place through specific instruments and procedures (Fenglar et al., 2008) that may impact predisaster infrastructure or other development projects and directs the funds in specific ways. In the case of the World Bank, post-disaster reconstruction financing has been mainly through ERLs, including International Development Association (IDA) credits and grants, and reallocations. The ERL is a three-year lending instrument that allows for expedited processing from project initiation to approval, quick disbursement, and flexibility for borrower country in meeting fiduciary requirements (WB-IEG, 2006). Reallocation, however, remains the primary fiscal response to disaster (Benson & Clay, 2004). Between 1984 and 2005, the World Bank approved ERLs worth USD 9 billion and reallocated more than USD 3 billion of existing loans (from 217 projects) toward post-disaster recovery. Once a nation-state requests assistance after a disaster event, the World Bank’s country staff first examines the country’s existing portfolio of loans and credits to identify loans from which funds can be reallocated for reconstruction. After the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, 12 existing projects financed through the IDA were restructured for reallocation, which provided USD 416 million for reconstruction projects. Funding of USD 10 million to 130 million per project was taken from the original implementing agencies and given to relevant reconstruction implementing agencies. The scope, components, and targeted sector for the projects changed substantially. Reallocations, however, divert funds from their original purposes. In 18 of the 217 World Bank projects, they have undermined the capacity to meet the original project objectives (WB-IEG, 2006).

Third, transboundary financing of disaster recovery is usually accompanied by transboundary flow of supporting services through global consultancy firms. For instance, as per the World Bank, consulting services contracted for a Bank-financed project have to be procured in accordance with the Bank’s procurement guidelines for selection of consultants. The IDA conducts prior review for each contract for a potential consulting firm estimated to be USD 100,000 or more and USD 50,000 or more in case of an individual consultant (World Bank, 2002b). Depending on an MDB’s procurement arrangement guidelines and on the experience, capacity, and expertise of domestic consultant firms to meet an MDB’s eligibility requirements, a number of global consultant firms can be contracted to assist in reconstruction tasks. Such global firms cross political and geographical boundaries to bring services and knowledge by way of consulting contracts during post-disaster recovery. In order to implement the Gujarat Emergency Earthquake Reconstruction Project (GEERP) after the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, for example, 18 consultancies were awarded to 15 consultants, including 12 domestic firms and 3 global firms with headquarters outside India.

Table 4. Global Consultancy Firms That Provided Services During the Implementation of Gujarat Emergency Earthquake Reconstruction Project

Implementing Agency

Component

Consulting Firm

Service Provided

Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority

All

KPMG, global management consulting firm with HQ in Netherlands

Benefit Monitoring and Evaluation

Gujarat Urban Development Company

Urban Infrastructure

Dalal Mott McDonald, a group company of Mott MacDonald Group, a global management engineering and development consultancy with HQ in United Kingdom

Town Planning

Urban Infrastructure

LEA Associates South Asia Pvt. Ltd., a group company of LEA Group, a global consulting engineering firm with HQ in Canada

Town Planning

Road & Building

Rural Infrastructure (Roads)

LEA Associates South Asia Pvt. Ltd., a group company of LEA Group, a global consulting engineering firm with HQ in Canada

Technical Audit and Quality Assurance

Note. HQ = headquarters.

Source. ADB (2008); LEA Consulting Ltd. (2018).

Bilateral Development Agencies

Key national government agencies involved in bilateral assistance for immediate humanitarian relief and long-term term reconstruction can include overseas diplomatic missions, international development agencies (i.e., bilateral development agencies), national disaster management agencies, and the military. Among these agencies, all of which are well suited to respond to post-disaster needs due to their specific focus or expertise, bilateral development agencies (or bilateral agencies) play a key role in providing assistance for long-term reconstruction and recovery (Coppola, 2015). Bilateral agencies are institutions established by individual countries to provide development funding to nation-states. They often work closely with IFIs to advance project priorities and programs. However, unlike IFIs, bilateral agencies are responsible to a single government and are usually part of a government ministry (Government of Canada, 2018).

Transboundary funding flows from bilateral donors through their bilateral agencies and predominantly flow from the Global North to the Global South. The major bilateral agencies are from donor countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Formed in 1948 to administer American and Canadian financial assistance for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II, the OECD currently has 36 members, mainly from North America and Europe, as well as countries such as Australia, Chile, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Turkey. Some of the key bilateral agencies include the Canadian International Development Agency (now the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development), the European Commission (in the EU), the Department for International Development (in the United Kingdom), and USAID (Government of Canada, 2018).

After a disaster event, bilateral donors can provide assistance in multiple ways including direct cash, consumable products, equipment, building materials, transportation, technical assistance, or debt relief. Financial assistance for long-term reconstruction can be delivered directly to the recipient government, to UN agencies operating in the country, through multidonor trust funds (MDTFs) or via local and international NGOs (Coppola, 2015. Table 5 provides a snapshot of pledges by OECD member states, and their corresponding bilateral agency, for relief and recovery assistance after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. In all, 99 governments, including 22 OECD member states, 77 non-OECD member states, and 3 intergovernmental organizations (i.e., the EU, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the African Union), pledged 46% of the total pledged amount of USD 14 billion (Flint & Goyder, 2006; Telford & Cosgrave, 2007).

Table 5. Snapshot of Pledges by OECD Members, and Their Corresponding Bilateral Development Agency, for Post-Disaster Humanitarian Relief and/or Long-Term Recovery Assistance After the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami

Country/Region

Bilateral Development Agency

Pledge Amount (USD Million)

United States

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

902

Germany

German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)

634

Japan

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

601

European Commission

Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)

600

France

Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD)

444

Australia

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade—Development Cooperation Division (DFAT)

431

Canada

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)

343

Netherlands

Netherlands Development Cooperation (NDCO)

312

Norway

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)

172

United Kingdom

Department for International Development (DFID)

149

Italy

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Italian Development Cooperation

139

Spain

Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)

114

Sweden

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

86

Denmark

Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)

77

Finland

Finnish International Development Agency (FINNIDA)

63

Austria

Austrian Development Agency (ADA)

63

New Zealand

New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAid)

48

Belgium

Belgian Development Agency (Enabel)

34

Greece

Ministry of Foreign Affairs—Hellenic International Development Cooperation (Hellenic Aid)

33

Switzerland

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

29

Ireland

Irish Aid

26

Portugal

Portuguese Institute for Development Support (IPAD)

13

Luxembourg

Lux-Development S.A (Societe Anonyme) (LuxDev)

11

Note. OECD = Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development.

Source. Telford and Cosgrave (2007).

USAID, for instance, coordinates United States’ response to disasters globally. USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is divided into four subunits: Disaster Response Division; Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness and Planning; Operations Support; and Program Support. The Disaster Response Division handles American assistance provided for disasters outside the United States. Depending on the scale of the disaster, a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is deployed to the country to assess the damages and recommend the level of assistance that should be made by the U.S. government. The DART team coordinates U.S. relief supplies; provides operational support; coordinates with other donor countries, UN agencies, NGOs, and the host governments; and monitors and evaluates projects carried out with U.S. funds. Following the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes, the USAID/OFDA provided USD 20.5 million in emergency assistance through financial and material supplies. For long-term recovery, the USAID created the Earthquake Recovery Program to address rural reconstruction. Through this program, the United States provided a budget of about USD 75 million in fiscal year 2001 and USD 100 million in fiscal year 2002 to provide assistance to more than 1,000 rural communities. The program built 26,872 homes for disaster-impacted households, 53 schools, 19 city halls, 5 health units, and 3 markets, as well as provided assistance to small farmers and small and micro enterprises (USAID, 2018).

Characteristics of Bilateral Agency Financing

Three aspects characterize transnational transboundary financing through bilateral agencies. First, the funds provided by bilateral agencies may be tied or untied. The OECDs Development Assistance Committee reached an agreement in 2001 on a recommendation to untie official development assistance to the least developed countries. Untied aid is financial assistance that is freely available with no restrictions on where the recipient country can buy the goods and services it needs for a project. Tied aid specifies that the recipient country must procure goods and services from the donor country. However, tied aid has been found to raise the cost of goods and services by 15% to 30%; to provide goods, technology, and services that do not conform to the priorities and specifications of the recipient country; and to favor capital intensive or donor-based technical expertise rather than small poverty-focused programs (OECD, 2001). Most of the major bilateral agencies provide untied funds, which means that there are no eligibility restrictions based on a company’s nationality (Government of Canada, 2018). After the 2014 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, donor pledges were flexible and assistance was untied and often paid in full “up front” (Flint & Goyder, 2006).

Second, bilateral agency funding for post-disaster reconstruction are increasingly channeled through MDTFs. MDTFs have emerged as one vehicle for channeling and coordinating reconstruction resources especially for disaster events where a significant percentage of financing comes from bilateral and multilateral donors (Fenglar et al., 2008). MDTFs are financial and administrative arrangements with external donors to finance high-priority needs, provide assistance to increase donor confidence in countries with weak fiduciary systems, and reduce coordination and administration costs through joint arrangements. The funds come from donor countries, foundations, the private sector, and sometimes the IFI’s own grant resources. The IFI is responsible for administering and allocating the funds (Fenglar et al., 2008; Government of Canada, 2018). The World Bank, for instance, has been both a trustee and administrator of MDTFs. Donor conferences have become an important mechanism for mobilizing such international assistance. In such a forum, the preliminary estimates of damage/loss and needs assessments are presented, together with initial key policies of the government for directing the reconstruction (including the potential establishment of an MDTF; Fenglar et al., 2008).

Third, the financial and other terms on which bilateral assistance is offered can vary widely. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, instead of official development assistance, most bilateral assistance was provided in the form of grants, cash or in-kind. The remaining support was provided in loans, mainly as soft loans on below-market term loans. A small part of the total funding was provided immediately in the form of grants with few strings attached, and a larger amount was offered with various conditions attached in a mixture of grant and loan terms over an uncertain period. The conditions for grants and loans set down by bilateral donors were wide ranging, including attaching onerous procurement conditions to the provision of financial assistance, setting up different reporting requirements that were difficult for recipient agencies to meet, and looking for local partnership commitments from national institutions that placed a heavy burden on an overstretched local administrative system (Jayasuriya & McCawley, 2010).

Implications of Post-disaster Transboundary Funding for Disaster Recovery Governance

post-disaster funding flows and management are directly connected to post-disaster governance in terms of who manages, coordinates, and directs transboundary funding flows and how such flows are channeled and administered. Reconstruction projects increasingly have a larger and more diverse set of development actors than a regular development project, including national and subnational governments, special institutions, and multi- and bilateral donors. In the case of Aceh and Nias after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, more than 300 institutions managed more than 1,500 reconstruction efforts (Fenglar et al., 2008).

Coordinating Financial Assistance

According to the UN Resolution 46/182 of 1991, a disaster impacted nation-state has “the primary role in the initiation, organization, coordination, and implementation of humanitarian assistance within its territory.” Nevertheless, the potential for international aid agencies to undermine or inappropriately substitute the authority of the state has sometimes led to tense relations between nation-states and international actors. There is some tendency among international agencies to assume that governments will be too corrupt to deliver financial assistance effectively. While there is a growing move toward the establishment of MDTFs and other mechanisms to deliver financial assistance to recipient governments directly for post-disaster long-term recovery needs, funds are often still channeled through international aid agencies, the UN, and/or international NGOs. It may be more appropriate for donors to fund governments directly, yet, bilateral donors often bypass and marginalize governments partly due to lack of trust in the ability of states to deliver effective and accountable assistance (Harvey, 2009).

Moreover, scholars (Jayasuriya & McCawley, 2010) note that donor governments and aid agencies do not coordinate their activities well—with each other or with the national government that should ultimately have control over operations when disasters occur. For instance the World Bank’s ERL, a lending instrument for expedited processing during an emergency, is usually implemented within three years. However, post-disaster recovery often comprises large-scale complex project spread over a large area, the implementation of which can be challenging to complete within a three-year period. Following the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, the GEERP’s original implementation time doubled from three to six years (ADB, 2008). The Bank did not realize during the early stage of the GEERP that the initial project period of three years was highly unrealistic and that it would impact urban housing reconstruction (World Bank, 2009). The three-year deadline translated to a tight implementation schedule, put in place to ensure timely disbursement of funds, which was incongruent with the slow pace of urban planning and reconstruction on the ground. In keeping with the GEERP schedule, GSDMA released the first of the three housing reconstruction assistance installments almost three years before the beneficiaries could actually apply for building permits. As a result, the first disbursement of housing installments did not match the timeline of planning and land readjustment processes creating significant barriers for households rebuilding their homes (Ganapati & Mukherji, 2014). In more than 7.5% of cases, beneficiaries were unable to complete their homes within the required period and on budget (World Bank, 2009, p. 10).

The time limit of ERL projects has also led Bank staff to “rush certain activities unnecessarily” (WB-IEG, 2006, p. 33). In India, the World Bank (2009) notes that, “the limited time stipulations of [operations manual] OP 8.5, rather than a realistic assessment of the time required for project implementation, drove the three-year project” (World Bank, 2009, p. 7). The World Bank acknowledges that this time limit was unrealistic (World Bank, 2009, p. 5). It had assumed that all beneficiaries would be able to build to the construction targets set within the three-year time period. However, it excluded beneficiaries who were unable to maintain program deadlines (World Bank, 2009). The World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (WB-IEG, 2006) also points out that in post-disaster recovery projects the World Bank has in general allowed too little time for implementation, especially since implementation times can range from two to seven years. Many crucial post-disaster recovery activities require more than three years for completion. On average, projects involving land acquisition took 7.5 years and those with infrastructure activities 6.5–7 years. This has led to revised implementation times for most disaster activities. The emphasis on strict time for task completion limits risks the exclusion of certain activities from projects that require a longer timeframe but would achieve long-term development goals (WB-IEG, 2006, p.33).

Channeling and Tracking Financial Assistance

Due to the unprecedented levels of global funding and the large number of diverse entities involved in post-disaster reconstruction, credible and integrated financial tracking systems have become more critical. Transboundary flows of post-disaster recovery funds, however, can be complex and difficult to track and coordinate (Amin & Goldstein, 2008; Augustina, 2008). Funding flows among traditional donors, international NGOs, UN agencies, local NGOs, and the government can be complex as funds are transferred across multiple levels and between agencies before reaching implementing agencies for final disbursement (McKeon, 2008). Unlike the UN OCHA’s cluster approach introduced in 2005, one year after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, to provide a framework for international coordination of immediate humanitarian aid and action (i.e., to concentrate resources for immediate relief and response and ensure that gaps in humanitarian efforts at national and international levels are detected quickly) (Stumpenhorst et al., 2011), similar approach to coordinate resources for long-term recovery after a disaster has been slow in coming. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, initial assessments were often slow, overlapping, poorly shared and imprecise. Most agencies active in recovery efforts collect large amounts of data from a predetermined group of beneficiaries, but few were transparent and open in processing these data so as to permit monitoring (de Goyet, 2008). As a result, multiple assessments were conducted to satisfy agencies’ own requirements; they were rarely shared and hence did not influence collective decision-making. Moreover, disaster survivors had to undergo numerous interviews and fill out multiple questionnaires due to the duplication of efforts, which contributed to a sense of resentment and a feeling of exploitation among the population (de Goyet, 2008).

Following their trilateral joint declaration (EU et al., 2008), the EU, the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), and the World Bank, have designed and developed the guidelines for the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). This framework has since being increasingly used as the base document to determine and coordinate international assistance and to inform recovery plans for countries seeking external funding for recovery after a disaster. The PDNA, conducted sector-by-sector (i.e., agriculture, commerce, education, environment, health governance, housing, water and sanitation, and transport), is to recommend how funds and resources pledged at international donor conferences should be allocated to address recovery needs for each sector. There is little evidence, however, of coordination across sectoral boundaries (e.g., focus on links such as the connections among housing, land and infrastructure, and the local economy) (Mukherji, 2017). Moreover, these efforts are confined to the planning stage and not carried over into implementation, as there is no requirement that the recommendations be adopted.

International partners often prefer to use a country’s public financial management (PFM) systems to channel financial assistance during post-disaster assistance, as this is where their power to exert influence within foreign government bureaucracies lies. For funds that go through regular budgetary systems, more flexibility is needed to allow for faster disbursement and reallocations, which is only possible if special fund-flow mechanisms are in place from the beginning. A large share of project implementation is however channeled outside regular budgetary processes, particularly if NGOs and the UN system are playing a significant role. Without robust monitoring and evaluation systems in place, such an approach can make it difficult to track the use and impact of the funds (Fenglar et al., 2008). Following the 2011 Haiti earthquake, official bilateral donors and MDBs pledged USD 13 billion toward immediate relief and long-term reconstruction efforts. Almost 36% of the long-term recovery and reconstruction grants went to international NGOs and private contractors. Lack of a systematic tracking mechanism made it difficult to identify the final recipients and specific details about how the money was spent, including outcomes of projects, as financial reports and rigorous impact evaluations were lacking. For instance, about 60% of U.S.- and Canadian-disbursed recovery assistance was categorized as “non-specified,” while 67% of immediate humanitarian and 43% of long-term recovery funding from the European Commission went to international NGOs with no clear data on how such funds were utilized (Ramachandran & Walz, 2013).

While documentation on individual projects funded by MDBs, bilateral agencies, and UN agencies are usually available, comprehensive and aggregate information on projects after a disaster are difficult to find due to an absence of reliable financial information and the lack of well-functioning data systems (Augustina, 2008). The complexity of funding flows makes it difficult to track funding allocations and see whether they match specific needs. In Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, funding flows among UN agencies, local and international NGOs, and the national government were complex (Amin & Goldstein, 2008). Most large international NGOs were well funded from private sources and did not ask for official donations. As a result, bilateral funding flowed mainly through UN agencies (Telford & Cosgrave, 2007) and MDBs. Donors provided funds for specific sector allocation rather than geographical needs and were unaware which areas were receiving funds and which were not (Amin & Goldstein, 2008). Financial tracking could not present comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date information on funding at any stage (Telford & Cosgrave, 2007).

Supply-Driven Financial Assistance

International financial assistance can flow in ways that support donors’ (including bilateral donors’) agendas rather than put the affected community in the driver’s seat (Jayasuriya & McCawley, 2010; Telford & Cosgrave, 2007). Because donors play a key role in supplying reconstruction financing, implementing entities such as international NGOs are often required to view donors as clients instead of partners, whose wishes are prioritized over the needs of the affected community. Bilateral donors can place restrictions on their funding by specifying how to disburse the funds (Stephenson, 2005). This can result in supply-driven, unsolicited, and inappropriate financial assistance that in turn creates inequities, gender- and conflict insensitive programs, unsuitable housing design and livelihood solutions, and waste (Telford & Cosgrave, 2007).

A key aspect of supply-driven financial assistance is the discrepancy between offers of international assistance and the capacity to absorb the assistance. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, the pressure by donors on organizations, such as India’s Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), which received more than USD 30 million in international assistance, to receive and spend funds exceeded their capacity to utilize funds well. CASA had to ask donors to hold back funding, because amounts were more than what they needed (Rempel, 2010). In Aceh, financial complexities were experienced because of the multitude of donors and other actors. Local NGOs, who already had significant funds of their own, received additional external funds for their districts. However, many of the NGOs had never managed such large quantities of funds before (McKeon, 2008).

Another discrepancy arises when allocation of funds is not based on needs. After the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, world leaders vied with one another to announce spectacular aid pledges driven by media and political considerations, without regard for the actual needs or capacities of the affected countries. Though long-term reconstruction and recovery needs were the most important, immediate relief and long-term recovery received almost the same amount of funds. About half of the pledges made were for emergency assistance, one-quarter for recovery to be spent in 2006, and one-quarter for recovery during the period of 2006 to 2010 (Engelhardt, Hidalgo, & Sole, 2006; Telford & Cosgrave, 2007).

Future Directions

The current state of knowledge on post-disaster reconstruction financing shows that transnational transboundary funding of disaster recovery has grown considerably over the past few decades. Studies note the increasing influence of geopolitical considerations on the allocation of bilateral disaster assistance (Athukorala, 2012; Drury, Olson, & Van Belle, 2005), driven by public and media pressures rather than by assessment and need (Athukorala, 2012; Flint & Goyder, 2006; Telford & Cosgrave, 2007). Moreover, the competing agendas of and poor coordination among international actors also impact disaster assistance (Jayasuriya & McCawley, 2010; Telford & Cosgrave, 2007). In general, however, scholarly knowledge on transnational financing for post-disaster long-term recovery remains thin at best and can be furthered in numerous ways.

While studies have looked at individual cases to understand the impact of transnational financing, more work is needed to form an aggregate understanding of how such financing impacts post-disaster recovery. The challenge that must be overcome here is that there is no single reliable and comprehensive source of data. Different sources provide different estimates, and funds flowing through different channels and separate accounts are difficult to reconcile for a unified estimate of funding flows (Flint & Goyder, 2006).

Research is also needed to better understand the links and flow of funds among various transnational actors that finance post-disaster reconstruction. In particular, more research is needed to map the links between MDBs and bilateral donors and implementing entities such as NGOs and other agencies in recipient countries. While there is growing evidence that points to how important these links are, there is little understanding of the amount of resources these players provide or to whom and on what terms (Kharas, 2009). Further work is also needed to understand how such funding flow impacts post-disaster recovery governance in recipient countries.

The impact of transboundary financing on post-disaster recovery governance in recipient countries is another area that needs further attention. Rather than funding governments directly, a significant portion of transnational funding for post-disaster recovery is still channeled through international aid agencies, the UN, and international NGOs. When bilateral donors bypass governments, they undermine and marginalize local government authority (Harvey, 2009). Transboundary funding that prioritizes the donors’ agenda over the needs of the affected community can also result in supply-driven financial assistance (Stephenson, 2005). Moreover, transboundary funds channeled outside regular budgetary processes of the recipient country can make it difficult to track the use and impact of the funds (Fenglar et al., 2008). Yet, studies that systematically examine the impact of such processes on recovery governance remain scant.

Finally, little is known about the geographic allocation of post-disaster reconstruction assistance or the sectors to which it is directed. With the exponential growth of post-disaster transnational financing, there is an urgent need for such an understanding. The challenge for researchers is the lack of a standard methodology monitoring outlays and the voluntary and unreliable participation of many international actors associated with post-disaster recovery in funding-related assessments (de Goyet, 2008).

Further Reading

Augustina, C. D. (2008). Tracking the money: International experience with financial information systems and databases for reconstruction. Washington, DC: World Bank.Find this resource:

Fenglar, W., Ihsan, A., & Kaiser, K. (2008). Managing post-disaster reconstruction finance: International experience in public financial management. Policy Research Working Paper 4475. Washington, DC: World Bank.Find this resource:

Flint, M., & Goyder, H. (2006). Funding the tsunami response: A synthesis of findings. London, U.K.: Tsunami Evaluation Coalition.Find this resource:

Telford, J., & Cosgrave, J. (2007). The international humanitarian system and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis. Disasters, 31(1), 1–28.Find this resource:

World Bank Independent Evaluation Group. (2006). Hazards of nature, risks to development: An IEG evaluation of the World Bank assistance for natural disasters. Washington, DC: World Bank.Find this resource:

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