Panel 8 – Governance, law, and policy

Conveners: Christy Shucksmith-Wesley (University of Nottingham) and Marie Aronsson-Storrier (University of Reading)

Abstract: The governance and reduction of disaster risk requires a myriad of agreements and promises between States and other actors that, should the worst scenario come to pass, they will support one another and enable the people of the affected area to recover. We know that international agreements are not always upheld or perhaps fully realised when earthquakes, floods, etc occur. Although well intentioned, or perhaps at times merely politically motivated, States are sometimes unwilling or unable to provide the resources or finances that they promised at an international conference to the communities in need.

The emerging concept of ‘international disaster law’ (IDL) is in a period of significant development, illustrated by the 2016 adoption of the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters, as well as the adoption of the UN Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 the previous year.

In this panel we would like to ‘take stock’ of current progress and look ahead at future possibilities and challenges. Four years on from Sendai FDRR and three years on from the ILC Draft Articles, where are we? Have states and other actors made progress in their commitments, both internationally and domestically, to prevent and mitigate disaster losses in the short, medium and long term?

This panel seeks papers addressing the methods by which the implementation of IDL, DRR and DRM are being governed: which entities (State or non-State) are taking the lead? What legislative developments have been enacted within States, and regionally, to implement the promises made in Sendai, for example? Are such laws workable and enforceable? Can we see policy outputs that reflect the objectives of Sendai, or IDL/DRR/DRM more broadly?

In answering these questions, this panel welcomes papers from all disciplines.

Long Abstract:The governance and reduction of disaster risk requires a myriad of agreements and promises between States and other actors that, should the worst scenario come to pass, they will support one another and enable the people of the affected area to recover. We know that international agreements are not always upheld or perhaps fully realised when earthquakes, floods, etc occur. Although well intentioned, or perhaps at times merely politically motivated, States are sometimes unwilling or unable to provide the resources or finances that they promised at an international conference to the communities in need.

The emerging concept of ‘international disaster law’ (IDL) is in a period of significant development, illustrated by the 2016 adoption of the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters, as well as the adoption of the UN Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 the previous year. Disaster risk reduction and management involves numerous legal regimes, and in addition to the core frameworks just mentioned, law and policy regulating disasters also include other areas, including around environmental protection, human rights, climate change law, and water governance. Activities of DRR/M actors are further regulated through a number of guidelines and standards, at the same time as specific agreements regulate activities relating to certain hazards or aspects of disaster prevention and management. One of the core challenges currently facing the field is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the patchwork created by this vast number of relevant laws and regulations in order to identify significant overlaps, tensions and gaps. Further to this, it is also important to strengthen communication between address the implementation of existing laws and policies in ways that benefits affected people on the ground.

In this panel we would like to ‘take stock’ of current progress and look ahead at future possibilities and challenges. Four years on from Sendai FDRR and three years on from the ILC Draft Articles, where are we? Have states and other actors made progress in their commitments, both internationally and domestically, to prevent and mitigate disaster losses in the short, medium and long term?

This panel seeks papers addressing the methods by which the implementation of IDL, DRR and DRM are being governed: which entities (State or non-State) are taking the lead? What legislative developments have been enacted within States, and regionally, to implement the promises made in Sendai, for example? Are such laws workable and enforceable? Can we see policy outputs that reflect the objectives of Sendai, or IDL/DRR/DRM more broadly?

In answering these questions, this panel welcomes papers from all disciplines.