The Handbook and Checklist on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction

09 Dec 2015

Laws and regulations serve as an important foundation for building community resilience. They are essential for contributing to an enabling environment for reducing existing risks related to natural hazards, as well as preventing new risks from arising, thus making people safer. In 2005, the Hyogo Framework for Action, Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters 2005 – 2015 highlighted the important role legislation plays in supporting disaster risk reduction (DRR). This emphasis was reiterated in March 2015 in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which calls for a renewed focus on reviewing and strengthening legal frameworks. Also UNDP’s Strategic Plan recognizes the importance of legal frameworks for effective risk governance.


Prompted by a steady increase in disaster related losses in recent years (often linked to global climate change), as well as the international policy frameworks, many countries have sought to strengthen their laws and regulations for DRR. In response to the increased demand for support from its programme countries, UNDP has been working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) since 2012 to provide practical guidance to governments, lawmakers, officials and practitioners to review and improve laws and regulations to ensure DRR prioritization in all sectors and at all levels with clear mandates and accountability frameworks. Based on the findings of the analysis of legal frameworks in 31 countries, UNDP and IFRC launched the and insights gained from comprehensive stakeholder consultations, UNDP and IFRC jointly developed two new practical guidance tools on this area of law.


- The Checklist on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction (the Checklist) provides a prioritized list of 10 questions that lawmakers, officials, practitioners and those supporting them need to consider in order to ensure that their laws provide the best support for DRR. It covers not only dedicated disaster risk management (DRM) laws, but also other sectoral laws and regulations – covering issues such as the environment, land and natural resource management, and climate change – that are critical for building safety and resilience.


- The Handbook on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction (the Handbook) provides guidance on how to use the Checklist with a view to support countries to undertake legislative review, identify strengths and gaps and develop effective legislative framework(s) through a multi-stakeholder consultative process addressing all aspects of disaster risk management while according priority to disaster risk reduction considerations in their national as well as sectorial laws.


Strong, effective and comprehensive legal frameworks can make all the difference between a vulnerable and resilient country and community.


For more information on the research of legislative frameworks in the 31 countries that informed the multi-country report, please visit: For more information on the Checklist and Handbook, please contact or of the BPPS Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Team.

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