Good legislation is critical to reducing disaster risks.  Law can set the stage for early warning, financing, community empowerment and accountability – or it can obscure and obstruct the necessary steps.

Malawi flood image

Laws and regulations serve as a foundation for building community resilience. They are essential to reducing existing risks posed by natural hazards, preventing new risks from arising and making people safer. In 2005, the Hyogo Framework for Action highlighted the importance of good legislation to support disaster risk reduction (DRR). The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted in March 2015, calls for a renewed focus on reviewing and strengthening legal frameworks.

In light of this international guidance, many countries have sought to strengthen their laws and regulations for DRR and have been asking:  what should good legislation say about DRR?

Since 2012, The IFRC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been working on a joint project to research, compare and consult on the efforts of various countries to strengthen how their laws support the reduction of disaster risks, particularly at the community level.  In June 2014, they launched a major new study examining 31 countries and in December 2015, they launched a new tool, The Checklist on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction and its accompanying guide, The Handbook on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction, to provide practical guidance on this area of law.

Disaster law essay contest

Closing date for submissions – 7 July, 2017

This annual contest is co-sponsored by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the American Society of International Law Disaster Law Interest Group (ASIL DLIG), the International Disaster Law Project (IDL) of the Universities of Bologna, Pisa Sant’Anna, Roma Tre and Uninettuno.

“This is a quote.”

The aim is to stimulate creative thinking and analysis about disaster law in a comparative and/or international perspective.

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Related documents


This survey was intended to measure current experience in the disaster management and humanitarian sector about the thorniest regulatory and protection issues in domestic and international disaster relief operations.

2 June 2017

Document archive

Archive of disaster law publications from our old website. Please bear with us as we bring the documents onto our new platform.

News stories

The Cambodia Red Cross, in partnership with the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) have undertaken two sub-national workshops to strengthen the public’s awareness on the 2015 Law on Disaster Management.

7 August 2017

The law faculties of the Universities of Bologna, Roma Tre, Uninettuno and Pisa, S. Anna (acting through their “International Disaster Law Project”) and the IFRC Disaster Law Programme co-convene an annual “International Disaster Law Course” targeted to academics and practioners and hosted by the International Institute for Humanitarian Law in Sanremo, Italy. The next session of the course will be held on 13-17 June 2016.

2 June 2017

Geneva, February 16, 2017—Tropical Cyclone Pam brought wide-spread devastation to the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu nearly two years ago. It also brought an outpouring of aid, including 70 shipping containers of unrequested goods from well-int …

16 February 2017

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News archive

Archive of disaster law news stories from our old website.