Community involvement is increasingly being seen as critical to the success of disaster risk reduction and management laws and policies, with many countries adopting a ‘whole of society’ approach to developing and implementing disaster risk management legislation. It is communities who feel the effects of disasters the most, and therefore have a critical role to play in not only providing inputs into national law and policy but also understanding their rights, responsibilities and the relevant processes that these documents entail for them.

CEA can support disaster law programmes to achieve their aims by helping to:

  • engage communities in the development of disaster risk reduction and management laws and policies
  • ensure people know about their rights
  • advocate for those rights to be fulfilled by the relevant authorities.

The Philippines’ Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, for example, commits to the involvement and participation of the local community in the identification, analysis, treatment, monitoring and evaluation of disaster risks. It further stresses the importance of community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM) to reducing vulnerability and enhancing community capacity and resilience.

The Act is currently being revised by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and the Philippines Red Cross is one of few community-based organizations with a seat on this Council, with a unique and privileged role to play as a bridge between the community level and national level law and policy-making processes.