This is the sixth and final day in our #IStandWithHaiti series. To follow this article, it is important to read the preceding article.
Do your laws adequately address gender considerations and the special needs of particularly vulnerable categories of persons?
Natural disasters affect different people differently. It may be because of the difference in their social class, their difference in age or sex, or it could even be because of their vulnerability.
Laws on disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management should be made to provide for groups of persons who may be at a higher risk of being affected by natural disasters. For example, provision should be made for evacuation of persons with disabilities; provision should be made for evacuation centers for children and their mothers, and the elderly.
More so, disaster risk reduction strategies and contingency plans should take into account the difference in genders and the need for all persons affected to access basic needs such as shelter, food, and primary health care, among others.
According to the ICRC, the guiding questions when making legislation should be:
- Do your laws ensure a proper analysis as to which categories of persons may be most vulnerable or exposed to disaster risks?
- Are specific responsibilities assigned to institutions to take the needs of these groups into account? Do your laws ensure that gender specific needs or considerations are taken into account?
- Do your laws ensure that the specific needs of other groups with particular vulnerabilities are taken into account?
Do your laws include adequate mechanisms to ensure that responsibilities are fulfilled and rights are protected?
When government officials/citizens are obliged to do something under, then it is important to provide for incentives and disincentives for adherence and non-adherence to those obligations. This helps to curb corruption, to dissuade certain persons form putting others at risk.
Accountability measures should be put in place to ensure that funds allocated are spent as budgeted for. Such measures may include disclosure of expenditure to an oversight authority or a public accounts committee.
Relevant ministries should be tasked to share information regarding impeding disasters and how their risk is to be reduced.
The guiding questions, according to the ICRC, should be:
- Do your laws establish public reporting or parliamentary oversight mechanisms for government agencies tasked with DRR responsibilities?
- Is this information required to be publicly available in an accessible format, such as through open websites?
- Is there a mandated role of the judiciary in enhancing accountability for DRR?
- Do your laws include incentives for compliance with laws and regulations for DRR?
- Do your laws establish rights relevant to DRR, including the right to disaster information, and include detail on how they will be enforced?
- Do your laws establish legal and/or administrative sanctions for public officials, individuals and businesses for a gross failure to fulfill their duties
To come up with good laws on disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management, it is important to use this list and even do more research on how to make better laws, laws that are tailored for a particular country and a particular disaster.
We are currently afflicted by drought and the use of this checklist to develop laws to manage the risks it comes with would go a long way to help both the citizens and the government.