5. Summary

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In the last decade, we have witnessed an enormous growth in the number of agencies, organizations and individuals working in the field of disaster preparedness and risk reduction, as well as in the humanitarian response to disasters.

This has been due to a number of factors, including reforms instituted within the United Nations system and among development and aid agencies worldwide and the increased competency of many national governments to take charge of risk reduction and preparedness for crises and emergencies as well as to act as providers of humanitarian aid. 

All of these actors are looking for ways to manage the external environment and the very proliferation of actors points to the fact that strategic partnerships and alliances are more important than ever to address collective public health concerns, promote cost-sharing and encourage synergies and cooperation where needed.

Alliances and partnerships can be knowledge-based as well as operational. However, they are most successful when pre-existing networks exist, and shared norms and standards have been established, particularly in normal times. This collaboration will have a positive impact on post-disaster humanitarian aid, including the management of appropriate donations for the victims of disasters. Many joint guidelines and standards already exist in this field. How and where to obtain funding for post-disaster projects will depend on well-developed projects that include indicators that clearly spell out how the aid will make a difference in terms of re-establishing pre-disaster levels of health. The large number of actors seeking to respond to a disaster and seeking funding from a finite number of sources should be seen as a way to leverage support and partnerships rather than as competition.