New Disaster Risk Management Act adopted in Namibia

Published: 31 October 2012 17:50 CET

By Caroline Renold

On 3 September 2012, Namibia adopted a new Disaster Risk Management Act providing it with its first comprehensive legislative framework for disaster risk management. The Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) played a key role in advocating for the new legislation and in supporting the office of the Prime Minister during the drafting.

Introducing the Act before the National Assembly in February 2008, the Honourable Marco Mukoso Hausiku, Deputy Prime Minister, noted that “the overall goal of the Bill is to contribute to the attainment of sustained development in line with Namibia’s Vision 2030 through strengthening of national capacities to reduce risk and build community resilience to disasters, which is consistent with emerging international trends in disaster risk reduction.  It provides for emergency preparedness, rapid and effective responses to disaster and post-disaster recovery.”[1]

Based on the 2009 National Disaster Risk Management Policy, the Act sets up an institutional framework for disaster risk management at the national level[2] and at the local level. The Act promotes the enhancement of coping capacities in affected communities by mandating the establishment of sub national disaster risk management committees for each region, constituency, settlement and local authority[3]. It further provides for the adoption at all levels of government of disaster risk management plans and programmes[4] and sets up a National Disaster Fund[5].

During a recent regional workshop on disaster law co-organised by the Botswana Red Cross, IFRC and SADC in Botswana, Ms. Naemi Heita, Deputy Secretary General of the NRCS shared the experience of her National Society in participating to the legislative process. With support from the IFRC; the NRCS collaborated with the government to develop a study on how existing Namibian law and procedures for international assistance. This study, which will soon be published, was shared with lawmakers for use in developing the Act. As a result, a detailed article on this topic was included in the act and additional provisions are expected to be included in implementing regulations currently being finalized.  “The process takes time and requires patience” underlined Ms Heita, “we had to go to all ministries to ensure that the procedures and guidelines coming out of the study were addressed, but it was worthwhile: people appreciate what we have done.”

The Namibia study will be available here.

[1] Parliamentary Speech of the Honourable Marco Mukoso Hausiku, Deputy Prime Minister on the “Introduction of the Disaster Risk Management Bill”, National Assembly, Namibia 28 February 2012. (accessed 9 August 2012)

[2] At the national level: the National Disaster Risk Management Committee (Section 4 Disaster Risk Management Act, 2012), the Directorate: Disaster Risk Management (Section 11 Disaster Risk Management Act, 2012) and the Namibia Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Section 13 Disaster Risk Management Act, 2012).

[3] Sections 14, 15, 16 and 17 Disaster Risk Management Act, 2012.

[4] Part III Disaster Risk Management Act, 2012.

[5] Part V Disaster Risk Management Act, 2012.