Legislating for climate smart disaster risk management in the Pacific

Legislating for climate smart DRM Group Photo

Legislating for climate smart DRM Group Photo

Legislating for climate smart disaster risk management (DRM) is one of the many ways in which the Pacific region is working together to strengthen its resilience to the effects of climate change and disaster.

Despite increased global and regional attention on strengthening governance frameworks on climate change and DRM, many regulatory issues continue to hinder effective climate smart disaster risk management systems domestically. These include the reactive nature of laws and regulations, lacking clarity in roles and responsibilities pertaining to risk reduction and an effective institutional basis to recover from disasters, as well as several regulatory issues that arise in disaster response operations, including liability, coordination and legal preparedness for international disaster assistance.

To address these kinds of issues, the Forum Secretariat hosted climate change and DRM policy experts, legal professionals, and national Red Cross societies from across the region on 6 – 8 June to share experiences with developing governance (legal and policy) frameworks on climate change and disaster risk management.

The workshop utilised expertise, instruments and learning tools on disaster law from the IFRC Disaster Law Programme, as well as technical expertise on climate change law from the Commonwealth Secretariat. Officials discussed rights, roles and responsibilities in the climate smart DRM process, covering global, regional and national governance frameworks pertaining to disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response (including international disaster response), and recovery. They also discussed the integration of protection and inclusive approaches in governance frameworks, and the application of global and regional commitments into practical national level law to support and strengthen institutional resilience.

Participants also learned about climate change and DRM integration and discussed the practicalities of having legal frameworks that would accurately address this integration at the national level.

The workshop also provided a unique opportunity for Pacific island countries to pilot the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Law and Climate Change Toolkit, which is an online resource to support countries’ efforts to review national laws and undertake reform in support of their climate policy commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Using the tools and lessons shared throughout the workshop, officials worked in country delegations to map progress against commitments relating to DRM and climate change frameworks, and to develop individual country action plans for reviewing and strengthening their respective legal frameworks. These plans stressed the importance of maintaining strong and inclusive engagement and partnerships with all stakeholders throughout the full legislative review and development process, including through consultations, Parliamentary processes, and ongoing awareness, education and capacity development for effective implementation of these legal frameworks.

The workshop was organised in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, with funding support provided by the British Red Cross and Australian Red Cross.

The workshop advances goal three of the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), being to strengthen the disaster preparedness, response and recovery capacity of Pacific island countries through the review and strengthening of DRM governance frameworks (laws and policies) to ensure clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and an inclusive approach involving all stakeholders to response and recovery.