IFRC SG Elhadj As Sy commends the endorsement of a Model Disaster Law by the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States

Publicado: 28 noviembre 2014

St Petersburg/ Geneva, 28 November 2014 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today lauded a major milestone reached by the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS) in St Petersburg through the adoption of a Model Law for international emergency and initial rehabilitation assistance.

Addressing the member nations of the CIS, IFRC Secretary General, Mr Elhadj As Sy said: “The adoption of this Model Law demonstrates a strong commitment to save lives and support rapid response and recovery during emergencies.”

“In an emergency, saving lives is often a question of minutes and hours – when relief goods or personnel are caught up in administrative red tape the delays can be catastrophic.”

Since 2001, the IFRC has been involved in research, consultations and support to strengthening laws and rules related to disaster management. The research undertaken by the IFRC shows that regulatory issues related to visas, customs clearance, tax exemptions, transport permissions, and registration, can cause significant delays during large response operations.

According to Mr Sy, advance preparation and a balanced approach between removing bottlenecks and ensuring adequate oversight are critical. “Very few countries currently have clear and comprehensive rules for ensuring prompt clearances for emergency relief commodities and people,” he said. ”This can cause bureaucratic barriers and leave them unable to benefit from international assistance.”

Having appropriate laws in place can promote transparency and consistency for partners during an operation and speed up the delivery of relief for vulnerable and affected communities. Good legislation assigns responsibilities to the authorities involved, mandates the deployment of resources and promotes the engagement of the community and private sector. It is particularly critical in this region which is prone to extreme weather events and floods.

The IFRC works with governments around the world to strengthen laws and rules for disaster risk management. So far, 17 countries have adopted new laws and procedures based on the IFRC’s guidelines and Model Act, and 15 more have bills pending.

A number of member states of the CIS have already taken action to improve their laws for international assistance. National Red Crescent Societies in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and more recently Armenian Red Cross Society, have been working with their respective governments to explore how the disaster law guidelines apply to their own contexts. Relevant amendments have also been adopted for several laws in Tajikistan. The adoption of the Model Law by CIS today, however, represents a bold new initiative to improve the speed and quality of disaster assistance for the entire region.

Mr Sy said, “Even the most progressive international commitments and regional policies can mean little on the ground unless enforced through a complementary domestic legal framework. The adoption of this Model Law by the member nations of the CIS should motivate countries across the region to assess and strengthen their own legal frameworks and to ensure that they are ready to protect their people and communities from shocks.”

One of the strategic priorities of the IFRC is to provide support to countries willing to improve their laws for disaster risk management.

“We are committed to working with your member nations through our Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and their 120,000 volunteers in the region to improve disaster response and help communities become stronger and safer. We will continue to support the strengthening of national laws by your member nations, guided by the Model Law adopted by the Commonwealth here today,” said My Sy in his address.

“A strong legal framework can form the foundation of a truly effective national policy for disaster management and risk reduction.”

Note: The IFRC/OCHA/IPU Model Act

The Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States’

“Model Law on Support and Regulation of International Assistance in Emergency Situations and Initial Rehabilitation” is guided substantially by the “Model Act on the Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance” which was jointly launched by the IFRC, UN OCHA and the Interparliamentary Union in 2013, as well as the Guidelines for the domestic facilitation and regulation of international disaster relief and initial recovery assistance” (also known as the “IDRL Guidelines”) adopted by the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2007.

It draws on elements that already exist in domestic laws of various countries and is regularly use as a source of reference for disaster management officials and legislators to develop domestic legislation, regulation and procedures for managing international disaster assistance; limit delays, restrictions and costs while ensuring adequate oversight, requiring assistance providers to abide by clear standards.


For further information, please contact:


In Geneva:

  • Benoit Carpentier, IFRC Team Leader for Public Communications

Mobile: +41 79 213 24 13, E-mail benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org


  • Reeni Amin Chua, IFRC Communications Officer, Geneva

Mobile: + +41 79 708 6273, E-mail: reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the worlds largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.