Regional Development

Building Resilient Regions after a Natural Disaster


The Case of Abruzzo

The OECD has assisted the Government of Italy in designing a long-run strategy to relaunch the local economy of The Abruzzo region, after the 2009 earthquake that struck a wide area with the city of L’Aquila (the Regional Capital) as its epicentre.

Assessing policies to build resilient regions that have been affected by large natural disasters requires place-based policy responses, for two main reasons:

  • Short-term reconstruction decisions will impact the options available for long-term sustainable development. Reconstruction, hence, must become the occasion to re-think and implement a coherent strategy of economic and social development focused on the economic potential and job creation of the areas hit.
  • Implementation of the development strategy needs an effective governance framework and tools to guarantee the coordination among public and private actors and national-local partnership.


Eight recommendations

Discussions between experts from OECD regions hit by natural disasters led to the elaboration of eight policy recommendations for rebuilding after a natural disaster. 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:

1. Make sure that short-term decisions do not constrain long-term options.
2. Identify the economic base and the social and economic drivers specific to the region to increase its resilience.
3. Develop an integrated strategy to redevelopment after a natural disaster by strengthening the dialogue among stakeholders to raise the profile of needed reforms and quality of decisions.  
4. Strategic choices have to be locally led.  
5. Use the occasion of a crisis to introduce reforms or standards for the country.  
6. Foster public participation to help decision making.  
7. Make public deliberation a regular component of the regional development strategy.
8. Build trust, increase accountability of policy-making and improve capacity of administrations.

Eight recommendations to build resilient regions after a natural disaster: Download the flyer.

Policy Making after Disasters | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution

Click on the image to read the publication


The resulting publication Policy Making after Disasters: Helping Regions Become Resilient – The Case of Post-Earthquake Abruzzo, also provides other regions with valuable lessons on the conditions for a sound implementation of long-term strategies. 

Readers can access the full version of the publication by choosing from the following options:

Launch of the report "Policy Making after Disasters: Helping Regions Become Resilient – The Case of Post-Earthquake Abruzzo" - 1 March 2013

Venue: Auditorium Dompé (Nucleo Industriale) L’Aquila, Italy

The OECD publication  Policy Making after Disasters: Helping Regions Become Resilient – The Case of Post-Earthquake Abruzzo was launched at an OECD Forum by the OECD Ambassador for Italy, Carlo Maria Oliva, and Italy’s Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Fabrizio Barca.

The Forum discussed key priorities on which national and local governments need to converge in order to build a common strategic vision for a stronger and more prosperous region.

The Forum gathered 200 participants from local and regional institutions, including the President of the Region Abruzzo and the Mayor of L’Aquila, business sector, academics and civil society, and representatives from Central Government.


Worldcafé “Talking about things that matter to L’Aquila: a discussion about the future of the city” - 6 July 2012

This participatory event aimed at gaining a sense of local priorities from the perspective of the community for the development of L’Aquila and building commitment to change.

Following the public meeting organised by the OECD-University of Groningen team on 16 March 2012 (Teatro Ridotto, L’Aquila), the Worldcafé allowed participants to state their views, then compare, analyse and modify them in order to arrive at a common viewpoint. Finally, during the event participants were able determine how they will implement the decisions they have agreed upon and contribute to make them happen.



OECD-University of Groningen Workshop "Firms’ networks, skills and competences: linkages between universities, research centres and the business community" -  5 July 2012

The workshop discussed conditions, actors and instruments for a long-term economic development strategy in Abruzzo, based on the OECD-University of Groningen analysis and the discussion held at the Forum of 17 March 2012. 


OECD Forum "Abruzzo towards 2030: on the wings of L’Aquila" - 17 March 2012

The Forum was attended by more than 300 people representing local and regional institutions, including the President of the Region Abruzzo and the Mayor of L’Aquila, the University, the business sector and civil society.

It was was chaired by Minister Fabrizio Barca.  Prime Minister Mario Monti joined the Forum together with Francesco Profumo, Minister for Research, Education and Innovation, as well as Anna Maria Cancellieri, Minister of Interior.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss priorities for a regional development strategy and the rebirth of L’Aquila after the 2009 earthquake with the local community, all levels of government and relevant institutions.

The Forum has helped to create a strong momentum for change. Guest speakers from Japan, New Zealand, Turkey and United States shared their experiences of redevelopment of regions after a natural disaster. In this way, the forthcoming OECD report on L’Aquila-Abruzzo (December 2012) is an opportunity to build a network of regions hit by natural disasters for the exchange of practices in policy-making.


Meeting Documentation


Further Information

This study is carried out in collaboration with the University of Groningen and commissioned by the Department for Development and Economic Cohesion in the Ministry of Economic Development (National Operational Program “Governance and Technical Assistance ERDS 2007–2013) and the Comitato Abruzzo (Business Association and Unions). The study will be completed in December 2012.


OECD work on L’Aquila:

L'Aquila Earthquake: Re-launching the Economy (Workshop, 2009)

This workshop held on 3 July 2009 examined policy options for relaunching the economy of the Aquila region after the earthquake.


OECD work on Risk Management

Permanent URL:'Aquila