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Terms of Reference of ER Cluster Bangladesh

Disaster Risks and Recovery in Bangladesh

One of the world’s most populous, low-lying  and resource-constrained countries with nearly 50% of the total population below poverty line (HDR 2011), Bangladesh is highly susceptible to various natural and man-made disasters, including climate change/variability induced hydro-meteorological events. During 1983-2012, a total of 195 hydro-meteorological events resulted in a loss of 180,263 lives and affected nearly 310 million people. Recent disasters such as Cyclone Aila (May 2009) and Cyclone Sidr (November 2007) caused an estimated loss of USD 1.5 billion and USD 1.7 billion respectively. In 2007, Cyclone Sidr was the second major natural disaster to affect Bangladesh in the same year as monsoon floods had caused extensive agricultural production losses and destruction of physical assets of nearly USD 1.1 billion, just a few months ago.

Disaster risks and environmental challenges pose clear threats to sustainable livelihoods, human development and human life. These issues are compounded by a set of environmental degradation challenges arising from unregulated urbanization, rapid industrialization, intensive agriculture and deforestation. Although the threats are most acute in the coastal and riverine zones, the wider consequences of climatic disasters have national implications including negative impacts on progress in poverty reduction and also attainment of other development goals. The high level of socio-economic vulnerability (including a high degree of poverty among female-headed households), increasing frequency of disasters, human and economic losses arising from these disasters, emphasize the need to strengthen the capacities for systematic recovery of affected populations.


The Cluster System and Early Recovery

At the global level, in 2005, as part of the humanitarian response reform process, the IASC rolled out a new global architecture for humanitarian response centred on a partnership approach. Under the new system, referred to as the Cluster system, 11 clusters were established at the global level, with one or more lead agencies to coordinate the functioning of each cluster. These clusters include: Food Security, Camp coordination/management, Emergency Telecommunications, Education, Emergency Shelter, Health, Nutrition, Logistics, Protection, Water and Sanitation, and Early Recovery.

This reflects the humanitarian community’s acknowledgement that some recovery tasks are inseparable from the humanitarian response. The IASC charged the UNRC/HC to ensure that early recovery is mainstreamed in every cluster. This is usually being implemented in conjunction with the established inter cluster coordination mechanism such as the Inter-Cluster Coordination Meeting (ICCM). In the case where local circumstances and the disaster characteristics necessitate the urgent and immediate addressing of specific recovery sectors/matters and/or there are crucial sectors/matters that are not adequately addressed by the clusters, a specific cluster may be instituted with the support of UNDP as the globally designated lead agency.

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United Nations Development Programme
Global Cluster(s): 
Early Recovery
Original Publication Date: 
04 Feb 2014
Document type: 
Terms of Reference