National Principles for Disaster Recovery

Find related resources in the Recovery Collection

The National Principles for Disaster Recovery can be used by communities, governments and recovery agencies to guide our efforts, our approach, our planning and our decision-making.

Australian and New Zealand government departments, recovery support agencies and two Australian communities impacted by major disasters have worked in partnership to revise and update the principles.

Disaster recovery

Recovery is part of emergency management, which includes the broader components of prevention, preparedness, and response. It includes built, environmental and economic elements, as well as social wellbeing. Recovery can provide an opportunity to improve these aspects beyond previous conditions, by enhancing social and natural environments, infrastructure and economies – contributing to a more resilient community.

Community focused recovery

Community focused recovery is essential. Disasters can deeply impact people’s lives and livelihoods, and helping communities recover from disasters can be challenging and complex. Every community is unique and will have its own history, values and experiences. They will also have their own distinct challenges.

Our role in recovery is to support and build capacity; to remove barriers, to enable, and to use local knowledge and strengths. We can help a community recover from the sense of loss and uncertainty they experience, so they can live a life they value.

The principles

  • Understand the context

Successful recovery is based on an understanding community context, with each community having its own history, values and dynamics.

  • Recognise complexity

Successful recovery is responsive to the complex and dynamic nature of both emergencies and the community.

  • Use community-led approaches

Successful recovery is community- centred, responsive and flexible, engaging with community and supporting them to move forward.

  • Coordinate all activities

Successful recovery requires a planned, coordinated and adaptive approach, between community and partner agencies, based on continuing assessment of impacts and needs.

  • Communicate effectively

Successful recovery is built on effective communication between the affected community and other partners.

  • Recognise and build capacity

Successful recovery recognises, supports, and builds on individual, community and organisational capacity and resilience.

As providers of recovery services, we commit to using and upholding these principles.