By Gabrielle Emery
A new and revitalised legal base for disaster risk reduction and response has emerged in Mongolia, with the recent passage of the revised Disaster Protection Law. The new disaster law was passed by Mongolia’s Parliament, the Great Khural, and serves to strengthen Mongolia’s governance framework for disasters. It also ushers in a more contemporary approach to disaster management, moving the country from a reactive response paradigm to one which is proactive and works to prevent and reduce the risk of disasters on people, livestock and the environment.
New and emerging environmental challenges, combined with unpreceded urbanization and economic development, have required a revision of the institutional and governance framework established under the earlier 2003 Disaster Protection Law.
The revision was a lengthy process, with the Government of Mongolia, led by its National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and other stakeholders including Red Cross, being engaged in the revision of the law for over five years.
As part of this process, Mongolia has explored and learned from other countries’ experiences, including USA, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Belarus, Russian Federation, Peoples Republic of China, South Korea and Latvia. Consultations have also been held in country with line ministries, civil society, NGOs /INGOs, academia and most importantly community groups. These efforts have been aided by Mongolia Red Cross and IFRC who have provided support across the consultation process, including training opportunities and technical support and guidance based on key IFRC tools such as the IDRL Guidelines, Model Act on International Disaster Assistance and Checklist on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction.
The 2017 Disaster Protection Law has been revised and strengthened in three key areas, including: disaster risk reduction and prevention, humanitarian coordination and recovery. The new law also provides for multi stakeholder national and local platforms to be embedded into the new institutional structure.
Mongolia has gone one step further to include a chapter on rights, roles and responsibilities of citizens and public, private and non-governmental organisations in disaster risk management activities. A chapter on international cooperation and procedures for coordinating and facilitating foreign assistance in the event of a large-scale disaster response has also been included.
The Mongolia Red Cross has played an instrumental role across this process. The Secretary General of Mongolia Red Cross, Madame Bolormaa, firmly believes that a strong institutional basis for all aspects of disaster risk management should be cemented in law, and is necessary to lay the foundation for resilience.
The adoption of the law has been a key achievement for Mongolia, however it is only the tip of the iceberg. The challenge now is to develop 28 implementing rules and regulations provided for under the new legislative framework. The Mongolia Red Cross has committed itself to provide ongoing technical support throughout this process, and will be working closely alongside the Government of Mongolia in the development, implementation and dissemination of the new law. The aim is to have the implementing rules and regulations in place by the end of the year, with the new system operational in time for Mongolia’s hosting of the Asian Ministerial Conference for DRR (AMCDRR) in July 2018.