Model Act on Disaster Relief

Why a model act?

When a major disaster overwhelms domestic capacities, international assistance can often mean the difference between life and death and between protracted misery and recovery.  Years of resarch have shown that the regulatory framework of the effected state can have a decisive impact on the rapidity and effectiveness of outside aid. 

The "Model Act for the Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance" is intended to assist states to strengthen their legal preparedness for international disaster cooperation.  It is built upon, and is intended as a supplement to, the Guidelines for the domestic facilitation and regulation of international disaster relief and initial recovery assistance (IDRL Guidelines), which were adopted by the state parties to the Geneva Conventions in 2007.  

Bearing in mind that legal and disaster management systems vary significantly from country to country, the Model Act is intended to serve as a reference tool and example to law-makers as they develop legislation on managing outside aid in a manner appropriate to their national circumstances.  The Model could serve as the basis of a stand-alone act or as the basis for amendments and additions to existing laws or regulations addressing the various regulatory questions at issue in international operations.

The development process

The Model Act was developed over a two-year period as a collaboration between the IFRC, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).   The partners received pro bono research support from the World Customs Organization, the law offices of Allen & Overy LLP, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, and Baker & McKenzie and the legal department of Microsoft Corporation, whose participation was facilitated by the charity A4ID. They also benefited from the advice of over 200 experts provided in a dozen consultative meetings held between 2010 and 2012.

A pilot version of the Model Act was made available at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in November 2011. In Resolution 7 of that conference, the state parties to the Geneva Conventions welcomed the project partners efforts.  In December 2012, UN member states echoed this sentiment in Resolution 67/87.

After piloting in 2012, the final version of the Model Act was launched at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in March 2013.