Back to School on Disaster Law

Published: 9 June 2017 5:22 CET

The first ever Asia Pacific Regional Disaster Law Field School, co-hosted by Australian Red Cross and IFRC, was held from the 23-27 April 2017 in Sydney Australia. Set amongst the rugged Australian landscape, in a tiny cove of Sydney harbour, the participants explored legal issues across the whole disaster risk management spectrum, as well as cross-cutting issues such as gender, protection and displacement. Identifying the main challenges in facilitating and regulating international disaster assistance was a key take away for many participants, as was the need to apply and integrate the Dignity, Access, Participation and Safety (DAPS) framework (as outlined in the Minimum Standard Commitments to Gender and Diversity in Emergency Programming) into relevant legal and policy frameworks. 


Over four days, the participants immersed themselves in key international and regional legal and policy frameworks for disaster risk management. They utilized global tools such as the IDRL Guidelines, the Checklist on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Minimum Standard Commitments to Gender and Diversity in Emergency Programming, applying them to a fictional desk-top scenario in order to test the legal and regulatory issues that emerge in different phases of disaster management and response. 


“At the end of the day”, remarked one of the Field School participants, “law is an important avenue to ensure that people affected by disasters can access the services and relief that they need, when they need it the most”.


The Field School brought together representatives from 12 priority Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, governments, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre, as well as UN agencies including UNOCHA and UNDP. The Field School also promoted cross-regional collaboration, by bringing together regional organisations such as the Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Secretariat for Pacific Community (SPC), and the Centre for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC).


Click here to read the workshop report.