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Recovering from disaster can be an opportunity for change, says OECD

 

01/03/2013 - Through the example of Abruzzo, whose capital L’Aquila was destroyed by an earthquake four years ago, a new OECD report recommends policies that can speed the recovery of regions hit by natural disasters, making them more attractive to residents, tourists and investors.

 

Commissioned by the Italian government, Policy making after disasters: Helping regions become resilient - The case of post-earthquake Abruzzo says the region should use the void created by the earthquake to overcome past administrative, institutional and economic fragmentation. New governance arrangements - sharing information and more consistent public actions – would help Abruzzo boost its economy, promote innovation-driven growth based on knowledge capital and skills, and redesign L’Aquila.

 

The report says that Abruzzo should draw upon its own resources to build a long-term development strategy and renovate L’Aquila to attract entrepreneurs and investors. Strengthening cultural and economic networks through private and public participation will be critical to future growth, as will transparency, accountability and community engagement.

 

The recommendations found in the report can guide regions in all countries to more resilient growth and help them monitor good practices and improve the well-being of local communities after natural disasters:

 

  • Plan and initiate redevelopment as soon as immediate humanitarian needs have been met.
  • Increase the resilience of the regional system through an integrated development strategy and buy-in from local communities.
  • Foster inter-municipal cooperation and strengthen the capacity of local administrations.
  • Implement a regional innovation strategy to upgrade technologies and diversify the knowledge base; improve skills and match them to labour market demands; allow innovation leaders more lea-way by facilitating links between businesses and universities.
  • Protect and foster Abruzzo’s natural environment and cultural heritage, developing a comprehensive supply of tourism-related services.
  • Rebuilding L’Aquila as a knowledge-driven and creative city, attractive both to outsiders and residents.

 

For further information, journalists should contact Monica Brezzi in the OECD’s Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate: tel. : + (331 45 24 91 58.

 

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