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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

Recovery and peacebuilding assessments, post-disaster needs assessments and COVID recovery needs assessments

The European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank work together since 2008 to assist countries recovering from conflict-related or natural crises in assessing needs and defining recovery and reconstruction activities.

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The European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank work together since 2008 to assist countries recovering from conflict-related or natural crises. They help them in assessing needs and defining recovery and reconstruction activities. This is a prime example of well-functioning multilateral cooperation based on a Joint Declaration between the three parties. The cooperation is done through Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments for countries recovering from conflict/fragility related crises, and Post Disaster Needs Assessments in countries recovering from natural disasters.

Since 2008, this has resulted in joint methodologies and tools implemented in over 90 assessments. These methodologies and tools are recognised internationally, and have recently been adapted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Examples of assessments include the 2019 Post Disaster Needs Assessment following the earthquake in Albania. This led to a donor conference “Together for Albania” hosted by the EU in February 2020. 
  • In Burkina Faso, the Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment was used to support a Prevention and Peacebuilding Assessment in the period 2019 - 2020, assisting during the first phase the government’s response in the most insecure regions, and, during the second phase, a national context analysis focused on prevention.
  • In Ecuador, a COVID-19 Recovery Needs Assessment (CRNA) was conducted to provide a prioritized recovery plan in close coordination with the government.

The Joint Declaration on Post-Crisis Assessments and Recovery Planning

Natural and conflict related crisis have a strong impact on affected countries and the capacity of their governments and populations. The European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank have joined forces to help countries plan and recover from these crises. The intention is to avoid multiple assessments and recovery planning processes, and to provide cohesion between the national response to a crisis and the international support.

The Joint Declaration on Post-Crisis Assessments and Recovery Planning signed in 2008 sets out to: “Mobilize our institutions and resources to harmonise and coordinate post-crisis recovery frameworks to enhance country resilience to crises, by answering recovery needs of vulnerable populations and strengthening the capacity of national institutions for effective prevention, response and recovery.”

The Joint Declaration is put in practice through a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) in countries recovering from natural disasters, and a Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment (RPBA) for countries recovering from conflict related crises. In 2020, the joint methodologies were adapted to respond to the global pandemic, resulting in the development of a COVID Recovery Needs Assessment (CRNA) methodology.

Whilst decision-making rests with local offices (EU Delegations), the joint Declaration is supported at headquarter level by High-Level Advisory Groups and Secretariats. From the EU side, INTPA, ECHO, EEAS, FPI, and NEAR are all represented.

The Service for Foreign Policy Instruments provides information and training on RPBAs/PDNAs , and directly supports the EU Delegations engaged in these assessments.

Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RPBAs)

Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RPBAs) offer countries a standardised and internationally recognised approach to identify the underlying causes and impacts of conflict and crisis. The RPBA has three primary purposes:

  • to help governments identify, prioritise and sequence recovery and peacebuilding activities,
  • to provide an inclusive process to support political dialogue and participation of stakeholders, 
  • to coordinate international support through a joint assessment and a joint recovery and peacebuilding plan as well as a monitoring system.

The Joint Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RPBAs): A Practical Note to Assessment and Planning serves as a reference for carrying out RPBAs. The RPBA process is tailored to the particular context, recognising that no conflict or transition is the same, and that governance, management and coordination arrangements need to reflect the scope and the context of the country.

The RPBA process consists of three phases: (1) pre-assessment phase where the relationship with government is established, the need for an assessment identified, and the appropriate methodology and team is put in place; (2) the assessment phase that results in a costed and prioritised recovery plan; (3) validation phase that ensures the recovery plan is agreed across key stakeholders, and that a plan for implementation and financing is in place.

  1. Phase 1


    1. Early discussions to establish the potential need for an RPBA.

    2. Pre-assessment mapping and scoping mission.

    3. Formal agreement whether to conduct an RPBA.

  2. Phase 2




    4. Assessment of recovery and peacebuilding needs.

    5. Prioritize and present the priorities in a strategic, implementable recovery and peacebuilding plan and results matrix.

    6. Outline implementation (including coordination, monitoring, and evaluation arrangements), and financing options.

  3. Phase 3


    7. Formal validation of the recovery and peacebuilding plan and results matrix.

    8. Agreement on implementation and financing arrangements.

    9. Lessons learning.

Since 2013, the EU has directly supported RPBAs, including with an increasing focus on conflict prevention:

Recovery and Peace-Building Assessments (RPBA)


Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and COVID-19 Recovery Needs Assessment (CRNA)

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) assists governments with assessing the full extent of a disaster’s impact on the affected country and, on the basis of these findings, producing an actionable and sustainable Recovery Strategy for mobilizing financial and technical resources. The internationally recognised PDNA methodology is a key commitment mentioned in the the Joint Declaration on Post-Crisis Assessments and Recovery Planning. In May 2020, in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PDNA methodology was adapted to elaborate a COVID-19 Recovery Needs Assessment (CRNA) methodology.

PDNA and CRNA methodologies are used to elaborate the four core tools:

  • a consolidated assessment, based on sector reports, that presents a cross-cutting, comprehensive assessment of the impact of the disaster;
  • a recovery strategy that defines the vision for the national recovery and outlines recovery actions for each sector and affected region. The strategy clarifies the objectives and interventions, expected results, the time frame, and the expected cost for the recovery process;
  • a resource mobilisation tool in support of the country’s recovery; 
  • an outline for a country-led recovery process.

PDNAs and CRNAs are inclusive, government-led and government-owned processes, which draw upon the capacity and expertise of national and international actors. The European Union, with the United Nations and the World Bank, provide technical support and facilitation as determined and requested by the government of the affected country.

In addition to PDNA, the EU, the UN and the World Bank support the development of a Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) that uses the findings of the PDNA. The DRF defines the vision for recovery, specifying objectives and interventions for each sector and affected region. It serves as means for prioritising, sequencing, planning and implementing recovery. The DRF aims at bringing the international and national stakeholders together behind a single, government-led recovery effort while ensuring that the goals of the recovery process are aligned with the overall development plans of the country.

The EU can adopt a coordinating role, can provide sector specialists, or rather assume a backstopping or review role. The decision on which of these roles shall be taken on is primarily made by the EU Delegation, after consultation with relevant services at Headquarters. 

Since 2008, the PDNA, CRNA and DRF tools have been used in 75 disaster situations. In the period between 2014 and 2020, the following countries have received support:

Post disaster needs assessment (PDNA)

The role of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

The Service for Foreign Policy Instruments coordinates the cooperation between the United Nations, the World Bank and the EU on crises assessments. The Service for Foreign Policy Instruments is in charge of the tripartite contacts, extensively involving other EU services in this work. A series of projects have been carried out aiming at:

  • development of joint methodologies for the assessments
  • capacity building for potential participants
  • strengthening the tripartite cooperation around assessments.

Since 2012, the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) provides support to assessment missions, the development of methodologies and tools as well as capacity building.

  1. 1
    Support to assessment missions
    • Provision of technical expertise to RPBA,  PDNA and CRNA processes and missions (senior coordinating role and/or sector specific technical support)
    • Support to EU Delegations to assist Governments, including advice on RPBA/PDNA/CRNA processes and how the EU can take part in such assessment missions
  2. 2
    Methodologies & Tools development
    • Contribution to further develop the joint PDNA/RPBA/CRNA methodologies
    • Development of assessment tools
  3. 3
    Capacity Development
    • Development of PDNA/RPBA/CRNA capacity building tools
    • Training of national authorities and regional/international organisations
    • Capacity building/Information sessions targeting EU Delegations/EU HQ services


A request for an assessment is made by the national government. This often follows discussions between government and one or more of the Joint Declaration partners. The role of FPI is to support the EU Delegations in engaging in assessments. The assessment mission is often preceded by a scoping mission, which is a key point to define the input from EU Delegation and HQ.

Since 2016, FPI has provided assistance to Delegations with five RPBAs (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Mozambique), and since 2012, a total of 38 PDNAs were supported, including in Angola, Haiti, Somalia, Sri Lanka and El Salvador (joint PDNA/CRNA). CRNAs have been supported in Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Zambia. Recent examples of support provided by FPI include Burkina Faso (RPBA, 2019-20), Mozambique (RPBA, 2020-21), Albania (PDNA 2019-2020), Ecuador (CRNA, 2020-21), Dominican Republic (CRNA 2020), El Salvador (PDNA/CRNA, 2020), Zambia (CRNA 2021). 

The assessment methodologies are defined in volume A and volume B of the PDNA Handbook as well as the “RPBA: A Practical Note to Assessment and Planning”, jointly developed by the European Union, United Nations and World Bank. In 2020 the EU and UN developed a concept note for a COVID-19 Recovery Needs Assessment (CRNA) methodology.

Regular PDNA, RPBA and CRNA training events are held, supported by online training material. Training/Information sessions can be provided also to EU Delegations and HQ services and the training packages can be tailored to the individual  requirements. 

Support for RPBAs, PDNAs and CRNAs can be accessed by contacting FPI (e-mail: FPI-RPBA-PDNAatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (FPI-RPBA-PDNA[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)). 

Reports on all previous assessments can be accessed in the Key Documents section of this website.

  1. 1

    Government requests PDNA/RPBA support to the EU, UN and/or WB.

  2. 2

    EU Delegation contacts HQ and after exchanges decides if the EU should get involved in the PDNA/RPBA and discusses with the UN and WB over the exercise's scope.

  3. 3

    EU Delegation decides if FPI support is needed.

  4. 4

    EU Delegation contacts FPI2.

  5. 5

    FPI provides requested technical and methodological support for information/training sessions, the scoping mission and the assessment mission.