Mr. Stephen Tiroyakgosi, representative of the Botswana Attorney General’s Chambers, at the IDRL workshop on 5 June 2012.
By Sanne Boswijk
“We are gathered here today to gain a better understanding of international disaster response law and to introspect on our own legal preparedness.” With these words, Ms Mabel Rammekwa, Secretary General of the Botswana Red Cross Society, welcomed participants at an interactive workshop on legal preparedness for the facilitation and regulation of international humanitarian assistance in Botswana on June 5, 2012.
The event, which was co-hosted by the Botswana Red Cross Society and the IFRC, gathered some 70 delegates, all of them representing relevant stakeholders in issues of disaster management in Botswana. The workshop consisted of an interactive lecture on international disaster response law (IDRL) and a table top exercise in which delegates were asked to ‘think like a lawyer’ to address the legal aspects of a fictional disaster scenario.
Mr. Stephen Tiroyakgosi, representative of the Botswana Attorney General’s Chambers, presented a comprehensive overview of the legal instruments relating to disasters in Botswana. He indicated that, at this point in time, there are no instruments that relate specifically to disaster management; most of the relevant provisions of national disaster law focus on the prevention of disasters rather than on response.
The workshop’s closing session consisted of a plenary discussion facilitated by Titus Ludzi Makosha, Deputy Secretary General of the Botswana Red Cross Society, on the current state of disaster law in Botswana and ways to improve Botswana’s legal preparedness for disasters in the future. Participants concluded that Botswana should consider reassessing its legal framework pertaining to disasters by way of an ‘audit’, with the aim of amending existing laws and developing new legislation if necessary.
“I am very happy to collaborate with strong partners like the Botswana Red Cross Society and the Botswana government in the important field of legal preparedness,” affirmed Mr. Alexander Matheou, Regional Representative of the IFRC in Southern Africa. “Hopefully, where Botswana will lead, others will follow – and the whole region will become better prepared.”
Please click here for the full workshop report.