When two worlds meet: DPRK and Vietnam Red Cross Societies share disaster law experiences

Published: 15 December 2015 11:13 CET

By Lucia Cipullo

Across Asia, Vietnam is increasingly looked to by National Societies and governments as an example of best practice when it comes to developing national disaster risk management legislation.  Vietnam Red Cross were actively engaged in the development of Vietnam’s national ‘Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Law’, which was adopted in 2013.  During this process they advocated, together with IFRC, for the inclusion of clear procedures for facilitating and regulating international assistance, as well as calling for disaster risk reduction measures to be addressed as a priority.  These recommendations were successfully taken on board, and incorporated into the new law.

In another part of the region, the government and National Red Cross Society of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have also been working on their national disaster management law, and identifying ways to improve it.  Eager to learn from the experience in Vietnam, a delegation from DPRK travelled to Hanoi in November 2015 to meet with Vietnam Red Cross, government officials, humanitarian and development partners to learn about the development of Vietnam’s national disaster law.

This exchange provided the opportunity for fruitful dialogue between key players involved national law and policy processes, including representatives from both country’s National Assemblies. The group also met with Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is the leading Ministry for disaster management in Vietnam, as well as representatives from UNDP - one of the IFRC’s key global partners in the area of disaster risk reduction law. 

To understand and reinforce the importance of disaster law implementation at all levels, the group also travelled to Ninh Binh province to visit the Vietnam Red Cross branch and understand the role of the national society in provincial level implementation. 

Both governments and National Societies remain active in disaster law work, with Vietnam Red Cross planning to undertake dissemination activities of the national disaster law in 2016.  Meanwhile, in Pyongyang, the National Society will be working with IFRC to review their existing disaster management law, based on the discussions during the exchange visit, and organize a multi-stakeholder consultation. 

This exchange served as a great platform to foster dialogue between the two nations, and enable a productive peer-to-peer engagement; reinforcing not only the importance of having strong disaster laws in place, but how National Societies can work and learn together.