This is our 5th article in the #IStandWithHaiti series. To follow the story, it is important that you read the preceding article.
Do your laws require education, training and awareness-raising to promote a whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction?
Knowledge is potential power. Knowledge comes through information.
An informed people are a powerful people. To make disaster risk reduction resilient, laws must provide for channels in which people can be informed about the impeding risk and how its effect can be reduced. The information should be followed by capacity building of the communities so that the people are able to engage in reducing the effects of the risks which may affect their area.
The law on disaster risk reduction should provide for trainings for both the local people and professionals who work with the ministries/bodies involved in disaster preparedness. Students should also be taught about disaster preparedness, thus, it should be involved in schools’ curricula.
The guiding principles, according to the ICRC, when formulating the law under this point are:
- Do your laws or codes mandate training on disaster risk reduction in the school curricula?
- Do your laws establish or promote training for public officials and relevant professionals on DRR?
- Do your laws include provisions on promoting public awareness and understanding of DRR with specific guidance for implementation?
Do your laws ensure the engagement of civil society, the private sector, scientific institutions and communities in risk reduction decisions and activities?
Good solutions are inclusive.
Even in legislating for disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management, it is important that the solutions and risk reduction measures be inclusive. Everyone should be involved.
Government officials, people in the private sector, the local people: – women, people with disabilities, youth, men and the elderly; civil societies, religious bodies and many other institutions. The law on disaster risk management should guarantee participation from all the mentioned groups and more by ensuring that specific provisions for community engagement are made.
According to the ICRC, the guiding questions when making legislation under this point should be:
- Do your laws require community representation in DRR decision-making bodies and processes?
- Do your laws require representation of civil society organisations and your National Red Cross/Red Crescent Society in decision-making institutions and processes?
- Are civil society organisations and National Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies given specific roles or duties within your DRR laws?
- Are there legal provisions which ensure meaningful engagement and representation of women, minorities, people with disabilities and older persons?
- Do your laws address the participation of private sector actors in both decision-making bodies as well as DRR activities?
- Do your laws ensure that the best available scientific resources and analysis inform development and DRR decisions?
Look out for our next and final article on points 9 and 10 under our #IStandWithHaiti series.
BY SAMALI BITALA