amb2107201408 July 2014 – Ambassador Cecilia B. Rebong, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations, called on members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be agents of change in disaster risk reduction and management (DRR) during the launch today of the findings of the largest comparative study to date on laws for disaster risk reduction.

Jointly initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the launch was attended by members of the diplomatic corps in Geneva, the United Nations office and Specialized Agencies, IOs and NGOs at the IFRC Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The study, presented by the lead author of the study, Mary Picard, covered 31 countries, including the Philippines, and looked at the main trends in their legislation related to risk reduction, identifying best practice and gap areas, including in the implementation of key rules.

Findings of the study point that although DRR is highly prioritized and integrated into DRM laws in some countries, including the Philippines, there is still considerable potential in many of the other countries to make DRR a higher priority in their legal frameworks and in their implementation.

DRM law in the Philippines is reviewed as covering the key DRM functions of prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery for multiple hazards. It gives clear priority to DRR, which may be expressed as enabling a “whole-of-society” approach. It specifies local institutional structures and/or responsibilities. Similar DRM laws are those of Mexico and Namibia.

A closer look at the findings pertaining to the Philippines explained that the country’s DRM law ensures that DRR education in the country is integrated into the school curricula at the secondary/tertiary levels and in many other forums, youth courses and programmes. It also mentioned that DRM law in the Philippines requires the government to ensure that both DRR and climate change measures are gender responsive. In particular, it cited that a representative from the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women and the heads of the Gender and Development Offices of LGUs are members of the NDRRMC.

The Ambassador also recommended that the study be presented/launched in the presence of various stakeholders at the national level.

She pointed out that the recommendations in the study deserve full appreciation and urged everyone present at the launch to bring the study to the attention of concerned authorities in their respective countries.

“We have to connect with the people, authorities and other stakeholders where DRM laws are needed. It would also be very helpful to make this presentation to legislators. The recommendations in the study are very important in preventing and reducing risks and creating resilient communities,” Ambassador Rebong said.

The launch is one of several events that IFRC and UNDP are organizing in various cities. The session was also webcast live and was recorded for persons who could not attend in person.

A copy of the study may be obtained by visiting this link: END