Achieving Sustainable Development Through Post-crisis Integrated Strategic Environmental Assessments: Lessons Learned from Nepal’s Post-earthquake Response

  • Purna Chandra Lal RajbhandariEmail author
  • Karen Sudmeier-Rieux
Conference paper
Part of the Disaster Risk Reduction book series (DRR)


Nepal is one of the most hazard-prone and vulnerable countries in the world. In 2016, it ranked seventh among countries most affected by climate risk Nepal is thus one of the top 20 most hazard-prone and vulnerable countries in the world according to German Watch. This makes it difficult to achieve sustainable development goals, manage its disaster risks and promote climate change adaptation. Developing integrated strategies to meet the 2030 sustainable development agenda is especially challenging due to political instability and low government capacities. Following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people and incurred damages of USD 7 billion, the Government of Nepal, with support by UN Environment, developed a post-crisis integrated strategic environmental assessment (Post-crisis ISEA) to promote more sustainable post-earthquake reconstruction and planning. Post-crisis ISEA is an approach for both fast-tracking reconstruction efforts and for long-term sustainable development planning. It integrates conservation of environment and sustainable development with disaster and climate risk reduction. It gives more rapid guidance on which developments can go forward without lengthy environmental impact assessments (EIA) while ensuring consultations with multiple stakeholders. Post-crisis ISEAs provide the additional advantage of conflict resolution between conservation and development-oriented actors while enabling data collection and sharing. The approach was tested in the post-conflict Northern Sri Lanka shortly after the end of the conflict to promote and fast-track sustainable development planning. It was piloted in 14 post-earthquake-affected districts in Nepal to ensure environmental conservation in the recovery process in collaboration between UN Environment, the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MOFE) and the National Reconstruction Agency (NRA). This chapter covers Nepal’s experience with post-crisis ISEAs as a participatory approach to post-crisis sustainable development planning, with a focus on the road sector. This chapter provides details on the multi-stakeholder process undertaken to map environmental baselines, and areas prone to landslide susceptibility along roads designated for reconstruction by the government “post-disaster reconstruction framework”. The project resulted in synthesis maps, which provided policy makers with a more integrated analysis and clear guidelines for “Building back better” in a post-crisis situation. The post-crisis ISEA approach provided data related to environmental and social issues for determining whether to conduct more in-depth EIAs. Such approaches are thus useful for integrated development planning in achieving sustainable development goals, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


Reconstruction EIA Nepal Sustainable development Earthquake Disaster risk 



This work was supported by UN Environment in collaboration with the National Reconstruction Authority and the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Government of Nepal.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Purna Chandra Lal Rajbhandari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen Sudmeier-Rieux
    • 2
  1. 1.Independent ConsultantsKathmanduNepal
  2. 2.UN Environment, Crisis Management BranchGenevaSwitzerland

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