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

News stories

The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act has been signed into law last March 23, 2020 to ramp up efforts to fight COVID-19, including social safety nets and PhilHealth medical assistance to health workers and volunteers who risk their own lives in order to sav …

30 March 2020

Pacific small island states are among the most exposed and vulnerable in the world to disaster and climate risk. In fact, five of the ten most at-risk countries are in the Pacific.   Every year, tens of thousands of people across the region are pu …

21 February 2020

The seventh edition of the International Disaster Law Course will take place in San Remo, Italy, from 1 to 5 June 2020. The course is jointly organized by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in collaboration with the International Federatio …

20 February 2020

Disasters caused by natural and technological hazards are a commonplace phenomenon causing extensive negative impacts as exemplified by the World Disasters Report elaborated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) …

19 February 2020

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Archive of disaster law news stories from our old website.

Related documents

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The IFRC network is in a unique position to advise on, advocate for, and implement community-based climate action and disaster risk reduction. Our ongoing presence in communities enables greater trust, which is critical to ensure the sustainability of …

9 March 2020
Sudan IDRL cover thumbnail

This report studies the facilitation and regulation of international humanitarian assistance at the time of disasters as governed by the legal and Institutional framework in place in Sudan. The study is informed by the “Guidelines for the domestic faci …

10 February 2020
Uganda Case Study cover thumbnail

This study was commissioned by the IFRC as part of the global initiative on “Effective law and policy for addressing child protection in disaster risk management” and implemented by Uganda Red Cross Society. The overall goal for the study was to assess …

10 February 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.