Mr Americo Ubisse, Secretary-General of the Mozambique Red Cross, and Mr Jorge Ribeiro, Director of INGC.
By Sanne Boswijk
Some 25 government representatives and other stakeholders gathered in the Girassol Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique, on 18 November 2011 to discuss and review a legal research study conducted by the Mozambique Red Cross Society in cooperation with the IFRC. This event was part of a larger project aimed at improving the legal preparedness of Mozambique for the reception and coordination of international actors supporting its domestic disaster management operations.
The workshop was opened by the Minister of State Administration, Mrs. Carmelita Rita Namashulua, who stressed the importance of legal preparedness as an essential part of prevention activities for states in her keynote address. This sentiment was echoed by the Secretary General of the Mozambique Red Cross, Mr. Américo Ubisse. “The government of Mozambique has already started its good work, as it is currently drafting a Disaster Risk Management Bill – a fantastic development, leaving it at the forefront of Southern Africa’s development in disaster laws. However, we hope this workshop will add a positive focus on a very particular niche of disaster response that is up to now not fully integrated into the legal framework.”
IFRC Africa Delegate Ms Sanne Boswijk and project consultant Mrs. Fernanda Teixeira delivered presentations on regulatory barriers to international humanitarian assistance and the potential solutions the IDRL Guidelines may offer in Mozambique in particular. Staff from Mozambique’s Disaster Management Agency (Instituto Nacional de Gestão de Calamidades, INGC) provided a comprehensive overview of the national Contingency Plan.
The workshop provided a forum to share perspectives and experiences and to discuss humanitarian issues of key concern to Mozambique. Hence, the discussion of the initial findings of the research covered such topics as visas for disaster personnel, taxation and coordination by international actors with the domestic authorities from Mozambique. In the words of Mr. Jorge Ribeiro, Director of the INGC: “Mozambique has a well developed disaster response system, and we are staffed with experienced professionals. When foreign actors enter the territory, their activities should be in support of our disaster management mechanism and in principle upon invitation.”
The workshop will result in recommendations to the Government of Mozambique to enhance its disaster preparedness from the point of view of law and policy. The final version of the report is expected to be available in the spring of 2012.