SE39: Legal Preparedness for International Disaster Cooperation in the Context of Climate Change

  • ID: SE39
  • Date & Time: Friday 19 June (08:00 - 09:30)
  • Room: 16
  • Participation: Open
  • Organizer: IFRC, OCHA
  • Facilitators: Co-Chairs: Niels Scott, UN OCHA
    David Fisher, IFRC IDRL Programme
    Rapporteur: Gisela Hernandez, IFRC IDRL Programme
  • Focal Point: david.fisher (at), benedek (at)


Climate change is resulting in more major disasters which are also striking more intensely and in regions not traditionally used to them. As a result, the need for international cooperation in disaster response is already at an all-time high and this trend is likely to continue in the years to come, even if dramatic action is taken to mitigate the causes of global warming.

More than ever, governments need to be prepared both to effectively use and manage the help that outside actors can provide when they are faced with overwhelming disasters. In the past, however, few have devised comprehensive systems to do this before they were struck by disasters. This has led to bureaucratic bottlenecks as well as to problems of quality, coordination and complementarity.

In 2007, the State Parties to the Geneva Conventions and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted the "Guidelines for the domestic facilitation and regulation of international disaster relief and initial recovery assistance" to help states to address these issues. In their adopting resolution at the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, participants stressed the importance of mainstreaming the new Guidelines in the strengthened International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) system. In 2008, the UN General Assembly passed several resolutions encouraging member states to examine their legal preparedness for disaster cooperatoin, making use, as appropriate, of the Guidelines.


Since 2007, a number of governments have made important strides toward solving the issues described in the Guidelines pro-actively. This event will look at several examples of this and foster discussion about potential barriers and creative solutions to increasing legal preparedness for international disaster cooperation.

Expected Outcomes

The discussions and presentations will lead to:

• Improved understanding of the legal issues in international disaster response.
• Sharing of positive experiences of government and civil society cooperation in finding solutions to these issues before a disaster strikes.
• Reinforced calls for governments to integrate legal strengthening into their efforts to carry out Priority 5 of the Hyogo Framework.

Links to Global Platform 2009 outcomes:

This event will link bring out the preparedness side of the Global Platform's focus on adaptation to climate change. It should result in recommendations as to how best to integrate the issue of legal preparedness both within adaptation plans and broader efforts to carry out the Hyogo agenda.

Background Papers

> Legal preparedness for international disaster cooperation [DOC, 46.50 Kb]

> Introduction to the IDRL Guidelines [PDF, 842.69 Kb]

> Guidance and Indicator Package for Implementing Priority Five of the Hyogo Framework [PDF, 3.30 Mb]

> Law and legal issues in international disaster response [PDF, 2.43 Mb]


> Legal preparedness for disaster management in Cambodia [PPT, 305.00 Kb]

> Legal preparedness for international disaster cooperation in Sierra Leone [PPT, 214.50 Kb]

> Legal preparedness for international disaster cooperation in Norway [PPT, 1.25 Mb]


Note: this is an interim report pending publication of the Conference Proceedings from the 2009 Global Platform.

> Report from SE39 [DOC, 45.50 Kb]

Last updated: 04 December 2020