This guide addresses the absence of a risk reduction focus both in humanitarian aid and in the reconstruction processes and the related increase of the physical, social, economic, and environmental vulnerability of the population to new events, as well as the need to incorporate a risk reduction approach into the humanitarian aid phase itself, both during and after the emergency. It asserts that doing this requires political will and capacities and implies a significant difference and can help to break the vicious cycle of "development-disaster-development."
This guide is aimed to familiarize the national and local decision-maker with the concept of recovery, understood as the decisions and actions taken after a disaster in order to restore or improve the living conditions of the affected community, while facilitating the adjustments necessary to reduce the risk of future disasters. It is also an attempt to persuade those who govern a country or a locality that it is not only desirable but it is possible to plan what the recovery will look like after a disaster occurs.
Finally, this guide shares the pre-disaster recovery planning methodology used in response to the predicted occurrence of an earthquake in Bogota, a pioneering experience that clearly illustrate a type of methodology that can be used to plan for post-disaster recovery processes. It also shares lessons learned from various experiences in Latin America, which highlight the importance of planning with special care the process of recovering livelihoods of those who are affected by a disaster.