When I arrived in Pakistan as a UNDP surge staff one week after the deadly earthquake in 2005, over 70,000 people had lost their lives and 3.5 million people had been affected. The winter was also around the corner, posing another threat to the lives, health and livelihoods of those affected. Amidst the urgent work for relief and recovery, it was impossible not to think of how some of the devastation could have been avoided.
UNDP Pakistan’s latest Development Advocate Pakistan report is entitled ‘Managing Crises, Mastering Resilience: The Pakistan Paradigm’, and explores this question in detail. It demonstrates how natural disasters and violent conflict expose and exacerbate vulnerabilities, such as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and weak governance. Pakistan is already vulnerable to these crises; it is the fifth most climate change affected country in the world, and ranks number 19 in terms of earthquake risks.