Free online disaster law course launched

The world’s first free online disaster law course, Law and Policies for the Protection of the Most Vulnerable, has been launched to increase knowledge of disaster law and how it can help save lives and keep communities safe in disasters.

The course known as a MOOC - a Massive Online Open Course, was developed by IFRC Disaster Law in partnership with the International Disaster, Emergency and Law Network (IDEAL) a global group of disaster law academics and experts, and with the support of the Italian Red Cross.

Teaching staff include disaster law scholars and IFRC Disaster Law Officers from around the world. Keynote speakers are Adelina Kamal, former Executive Director of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management, Eduardo Valencia Ospina, Special Rapporteur of the International Law Commission  Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters, Walter Kälin, Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement. 

Isabelle Granger, Global Lead on Disaster Law and Auxiliary Role at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says the course is extremely relevant and needed for a world experiencing increasing disasters compounded by climate change. 

“Law, regulations and contingency plans are the foundation of how we prevent, prepare, respond and recover from disasters and emergencies, and just as we need these laws, we need people within the humanitarian, government and academic sectors with knowledge of the important role legal frameworks play.”

The course provides participants with comprehensive knowledge of how international, regional and national legal and policy frameworks can effectively reduce the impact of catastrophic events on communities and ensure the protection of the most vulnerable. 

Participants will learn what rules apply to the preparedness and response to disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or drought, what laws need to be in place to protect communities vulnerable to disaster and how existing disaster laws should be strengthened.  

Connections are made throughout the course between disaster risk management and related sectors such as human rights protection, climate change adaptation, sustainable development, and public health emergencies.

Following the introductory session from Isabelle Granger, the course is split into three modules:

  1. Disaster Law: Main Concepts, Actors and Regulatory Dynamics
  2. Law and Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management: Thematic Issues
  3. Disaster Law and Governance at the Regional and National Levels

Each module follows the same structure, with a series of thematic sessions of 15-20 minutes, a video lecture from our teaching staff, complementary reading materials and a keynote podcast from renowned experts and practitioners with insights on their experiences and work in disaster law.

Participants can also join the disaster law community and receive monthly updates, newsletters and invitations to the webinars and other events regularly organised by IFRC Disaster Law. 

To join the MOOC, participants need to first register on IFRC's Learning Platform, which is a quick and easy process, and then search "disaster law" to find the course or click here.