Strengthening Disaster Law
Four years after the adoption of the Guidelines for the domestic facilitation and regulation of international disaster relief and initial recovery assistance (IDRL Guidelines) by the 30th International Conference, disaster laws again featured prominently on the agenda of the 31st International Conference.
Three disaster laws sub-topics were addressed during a dedicated plenary session:
1. Legal preparedness for international disaster response, including implementation of the IDRL Guidelines;
2. Enhancing disaster risk reduction at the community level through legislation;
3. Addressing regulatory barriers to the rapid and equitable provision of emergency and transitional shelter needs of people affected by disasters.
In the course of the Conference, the IFRC, OCHA and IPU released the pilot version of the “Model Act for the Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance”. The Model Act is intended to serve as a reference tool for law-makers as they develop domestic legislation on international disaster response, appropriate to their national circumstances; it is accompanied by a detailed commentary which explains the provisions of the Model Act and identifies relevant existing laws.
Moreover, an important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the IFRC and OCHA was signed at the International Conference, to formalize and extend their many areas of collaboration in promoting legal preparedness for international disaster assistance.
Conference outcomes on Disaster Law
The Conference adopted a single consensus resolution on the topic of disaster law, Resolution 31IC/11/R7 on “Strengthening normative frameworks and addressing regulatory barriers concerning disaster mitigation, response and recovery.” In this resolution, the Conference took stock of progress in implementing the IDRL Guidelines, reiterating the urgency for states to make themselves legally prepared for international disaster assistance and welcoming efforts to develop a new tool to assist states in incorporating the IDRL Guidelines in their legal frameworks.
Recognising that legislation is a key tool for states to ensure that disaster risks are effectively addressed, the Conference also encouraged states, with support from their National Societies, the IFRC and other relevant partners, to review their existing legislative frameworks to assess their effectiveness in promoting disaster risk reduction in several identified aspects.
Finally, the Conference called attention to the need to find practical solutions for addressing regulatory barriers to shelter in the emergency and transitional phases after a disaster. It also called upon states, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other humanitarian organizations to make every effort to assure equity in their shelter assistance, including as between property owners and non-owners.
As a result of the Conference outcomes and to reflect its evolving focus, the IFRC’s IDRL Programme changed its name to the “Disaster Law programme.” While the Disaster Law programme will continue to focus on supporting the implementation of the IDRL Guidelines, it will also build the Movement’s capacity, knowledge base and partnerships in respect of disaster law issues beyond the area of international disaster relief, in particular in the areas identified in the International Conference’s resolution. More information about its current programming is available here.
You may contact IFRC’s Disaster Law programme by email at email@example.com or by phone at +41.22.730.4409.