High-Level Regional European Webinar on the Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters

IFRC Disaster Law held a High-Level Regional Webinar to highlight and discuss the ongoing diplomatic efforts on the prospect of developing the global framework for the protection of persons in the event of disasters.

IFRC has been active in disaster law at the international, regional and domestic levels for over 20 years. Since 2008 IFRC actively contributed to the ILC’s consideration of the topic of the protection of persons in the event of disasters. Notably, the influence of the IDRL Guidelines on the Draft Articles is evident from the commentaries on the Draft Articles, which cite the IDRL Guidelines developed by IFRC many times and indicate how they influenced the content and precise wording of several articles.

Isabelle Granger, the head of Disaster Law and Auxiliary Role at IFRC says the webinar was an important discussion on furthering the development of a global legal framework for the protection of persons in the event of disasters. disaster. 

“We have seen many states take significant steps to strengthen their legal frameworks for disaster risk management and put in place mechanisms to ensure that disaster risk reduction is mainstreamed in all sectors of society. However, the vast majority of countries still lack clear and comprehensive laws and procedures for disaster risk reduction and more preparation should be undertaken.

The current text of the Draft Articles has several strong elements and provides a good starting point for the development of a new convention. IFRC anticipates that a new convention will catalyse much-needed progress towards disaster risk reduction and the effective management of disasters at the domestic level, and address recurring regulatory challenges faced during disaster response operations.’

Adopted by the ILC in 2016, the Draft Articles address human rights, humanitarian principles, international disaster cooperation, disaster risk reduction, and the responsibilities of states and external assistance in disaster scenarios. They were developed with input from IFRC, the EU and its member states. 

Following their adoption, the UNGA adopted Resolution 76/119 in 2021 by which it decided to examine the Draft Articles and consider further the ILC’s recommendation as well as any other potential course of action. In October 2023, states showed renewed interest in the development of a global treaty during discussions at the 78th session of the UNGA and established a working group of the Sixth Committee to examine the Draft Articles further and report back to the UNGA with a recommendation as to further action to be taken in respect of the Draft Articles. This growing consensus is set to be further deliberated in 2024, during the 79th session.

Webinar presenters included Piet Heirbaut, Director General of Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium & Chair of COJUR, EU Council, Frédéric Wirtz, National President, Belgian Red Cross, Tommaso Natoli, IFRC Disaster Law Europe Focal Point, Enrico Milano, Legal Advisor at Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN,  4TH MARCH 2024, Isabelle Granger,  IFRC Global Lead, Disaster Law and Auxiliary Role, Joanna Serdynska, DG ECHO Team Leader UCPM Legislation, Giulio Bartolini,  Editor-in-Chief Yearbook of International Disaster Law, International Law Professor, Roma Tre University and Patrícia Galvão Teles, Member of the UN International, Law Commission, International Law Professor, Autonomous University of Lisbon. 

IFRC Disaster Law will be holding further webinars on the Draft Articles around the world this year. 

IFRC’s position paper on the Draft Articles further outlines why a Treaty should be developed.