Disaster law

Disasters can cause enormous human suffering and loss. But the right laws and policies can help keep communities safe and save lives.

What do we do?

IFRC Disaster Law is the global leader in providing disaster law technical advice to governments.

Laws and policies support all aspects of disaster risk management and help to protect and prepare communities around the world. As we face climate change, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly frequent and intense disasters, the need for effective disaster laws continues to rise.

For more than 20 years, IFRC Disaster Law has worked with Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and governments to improve disaster risk governance. We have provided support in more than 95 countries and helped more than 40 countries to improve their disaster laws.

Our unique work includes local capacity building, advocacy, research and organizing peer learning opportunities on disaster law.

Our areas of focus

International disaster response law

Experience has shown that even the best-prepared governments may need international assistance when a major disaster strikes. But few governments are legally prepared to receive a sudden influx of it.

Climate-smart disaster risk reduction

Laws and regulations are essential to reducing existing risks posed by natural hazards, preventing new risks from arising and making people safer.

Disaster preparedness and response

Underpinning every disaster preparedness activity or response operation, whether large or small, is a network of laws, policies and plans which determine who does what, when and how.

Disaster recovery

We're researching the legal dimensions of disaster recovery, in order to develop recommendations for domestic law and policy makers

Protection, gender and inclusion

Disasters discriminate. Women, children, older people, people with disabilities and many other groups may be disproportionately impacted by disasters, climate change and public health emergencies. 

Public health emergencies

We've conducted research to identify the key features of an effective domestic legal and policy framework for public health emergency preparedness and response.

Watch: Legal preparedness