Good legislation is critical to reducing disaster and climate 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.

33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Draft resolution (33IC/19/12.5DR) (also available in French, Spanish and Arabic)

o Background document (33IC/19/12.5) (also available in French, Spanish and Arabic)

Annex: The Checklist on Law and Disaster Preparedness and Response (also available in French, Spanish and Arabic)


International Disaster Law Course, San Remo
IFRC COVID-19 Emergency Decree Research

Introducing the COVID-19 Platform

In the Humanitarian Diplomacy and Advocacy page of the platform dedicated to COVID-19,  you will find documents related to Humanitarian Diplomacy and Advocacy. Access this page for all IFRC Review of Emergency Decrees in relation to COVID-19 per country.


News stories

Photo: Enia, pictured left, is registered at the first aid distribution following Cyclone Pam. Red Cross was the first organisation sanctioned by the Government of Vanuatu to begin relief distributions after a halt from the government due to an influx …

21 October 2020

Photo: Red Cross has been involved in disaster law activities in Lao PDR since 2009 when research was undertaken on legal preparedness for responding to disasters and communicable disease emergencies. Due to an inherent link between climate change and …

21 October 2020

At the occasion of the launch of the call for abstracts of Issue no. 3 (2020) of the Yearbook of International Disaster Law published by Brill, the Editors, in cooperation with the American Society of International Law Disaster Law Interest Group and t …

9 October 2020

Yearbook of International Disaster Law Brill Publisher Call for Abstracts Vol. No. 3 (2020) – Deadline for abstracts: 31st October 2020   ABOUT THE YIDL The Yearbook of International Disaster Law (YIDL) aims to foster the interest of academics and …

9 October 2020

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News archive

Archive of disaster law news stories from our old website.

Related documents

See more at the Disaster law document library


Presentation 2010

15 October 2020

Understanding community resilience and program factors that strengthen them.  A comprehensive study of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies tsunami operation. The IFRC’s response and recovery operation in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami refl …

15 October 2020

Traditionally, much of the humanitarian effort focuses on immediate life saving responses to disasters or crises. At the same time, individuals and communities facing simultaneous or repeated shocks, such as economic crises, disease epidemics, or natur …

15 October 2020

Case Study: Turkey’s high vulnerability to earthquakes is significantly compounded by socio-economic factors. Following two devastating earthquakes in 1999, the Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS), American Red Cross (ARC) and Bogazici University began …

15 October 2020

Document archive

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