Windhoek workshop explores Namibia's legal preparedness for disasters

Published: 5 December 2011 10:30 CET

by Sanne Boswijk

On Monday 14 November 2011, the Namibia Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) co-hosted an IDRL workshop under the auspices of the Namibian Office of the Prime Minister. The event, which took place in Windhoek, convened the country’s vital stakeholders in the disaster risk management community to review Namibia's legal preparedness for disasters, in light of the current process to develop a new disaster risk management bill. 

The programme included an introduction to the IDRL Guidelines by the IFRC and the presentation of a study conducted by the Namibia Red Cross’ legal researcher, Mr. Uda Nakamhela. The participants engaged in a critical review of the legal framework currently applicable in times of disaster. This culminated in a lively debate on the regulatory barriers to border crossing humanitarian assistance, discussing the theory and practice of the regulatory barriers encountered at customs, such as visas for disaster personnel and the importation of donated medicines.

In his opening speech, Professor Samuel Kwesi Amoo, Board Member of the Namibian Red Cross and law lecturer at the University of Namibia, captured the nature of this close cooperation: “Our being here together demonstrates how the Namibia Red Cross and the Government, to whom we play an auxiliary role, can work together to develop and roll out effective disaster laws. We also hope that this workshop will give you insight into the ways in which the IDRL Guidelines can be translated into law, particularly by addressing the key areas where positive legislation can make a difference in Namibia.”

The Namibia Red Cross continues to engage in advocacy for legal preparedness, supporting its government in the process of perfecting the draft Disaster Risk Management Bill. The final report of the Namibian study, which incorporates the results of the workshop in Windhoek, will be available in the beginning of 2012.