IFRC SG Elhadj As Sy endorses the Model Disaster Law in Russia

Published: 19 December 2014 12:02 CET

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) lauded a major milestone reached by the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS) in Russia as it adopted a Model Law for international emergency and initial rehabilitation assistance.

 “In an emergency, saving lives is often a question of minutes and hours – when relief goods or personnel are caught up in administrative red tape the delays can be catastrophic,” said Mr Elhadj As Sy in his plenary address to the parliament in Saint Petersburg on 28 November, which was attended by ten member nations of the CIS.

Commitment to save lives

“The adoption of this Model Law demonstrates a strong commitment to save lives and support rapid response and recovery during emergencies.”

Mr Sy visited Russia in the company of Ms. Anitta Underlin, Director of IFRC Europe Zone and Dr. Davron Mukhamadiev, Head of IFRC Regional Representation in Russia following course to the invitation from the IPA CIS to participate in its 41st session in the framework of cooperation based on the Memorandum of Understanding between IFRC and IPA CIS.

Since 2001, the IFRC has been involved in research, consultations and support to strengthening laws and rules related to disaster management. The research undertaken by the IFRC shows that regulatory issues related to visas, customs clearance, tax exemptions, transport permissions, and registration, can cause significant delays during large response operations.

According to Mr Sy “very few countries currently have clear and comprehensive rules for ensuring prompt clearances for emergency relief commodities and people.”

”This can cause bureaucratic barriers and leave them unable to benefit from international assistance.”

During his visit to Saint Petersburg Mr Sy met with local volunteers and participated in a series of bilateral meetings. Mrs Valentina Matvienko, the Chairperson of the IPA CIS Council was quoted as saying in the local media, which extensively covered the event, that:

“Russia and CIS highly appreciate close cooperation with IFRC in terms of reforming of the Russian RC, promotion of the Russian language as 5th IFRC working language as well as wide humanitarian activity.”

The IFRC works with governments around the world to strengthen laws and rules for disaster risk management. So far 17 countries have adopted new laws and procedures based on the IFRC’s guidelines and Model Act, and 15 more have bills pending.