BANGKOK, 26 June 2014 – International organizations have called for Asian countries to establish and enforce stronger laws that protect at-risk communities from threats posed by natural disasters.
The report entitled “Effective Law and Regulation for Disaster Risk Reduction” released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) calls for a greater focus on the implementation of existing legislation, including ensuring that local authorities are equipped with necessary skills and resources, and more participation of at-risk communities in the formulation of risk reduction laws and policies.
Studies have shown that although there has been much progress in modernizing disaster management legislation, some of the new laws still have not made the fundamental shift to ensure that prevention is a priority. According to Tessa Kelly, coordinator of the IFRC’s disaster law program in Asia Pacific, many laws are too vague to be fully effective, especially when it comes to funding and community participation in decision-making.
The IFRC has also expressed worries that legal frameworks in many countries have not come to grips with how to promote the safety of people living without legal title to their land in urban slums, even though those people are most at risk.