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

Disaster risk management (DRM) and governance in Nepal is in good hands – the hands of the communities   and their local authorities who are most affected by disasters and climate change.   In partnership with the Government of Nepal, Nepal Red Cr …

18 November 2020

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

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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


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Law Programme has worked in the Pacific since 2010, starting with the review of Vanuatu’s legal and policy framework for disasters in partnership with the Government a …

18 February 2021

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Law Programme works across the diverse and vast region that is Asia, from Afghanistan to Japan, Mongolia to Timor Leste, providing disaster law technical support, capa …

18 February 2021

Document archive

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