Case study: Strengthening local risk governance in Nepal - Strengthening community and institutional resilience to floods and other hazards in Nepal through effective municipal laws and policies



Nepal is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. With a population of 28 million people it experiences frequent flooding, landslides, earthquakes and exposure to the impacts of a multitude of other hazards that occur annually, including cold spells and heatwaves.

Nepal has more than 6,000 rivers and rivulets flowing from north to south, with almost 80 per cent of annual precipitation falling during the summer monsoon season (June-September). Flooding occurs annually with devastating impacts, with the 2017 floods affecting 35 of the 77 districts, more than 190,000 houses destroyed or partially damaged, displacing thousands of people.

Nepal is classified as a least developed country on the Human Development Index, ranked 142 out of 189 countries.

Nepal Red Cross Society

Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) was established in 1963 and is the largest humanitarian network throughout the country, with a total of 117,617 active volunteers and an operational presence in all 77 districts (with 77 district branches). Nepal Red Cross’ role is articulated in key government policies and strategies as a critical stakeholder in disaster risk management and response, and in practice acts as an auxiliary or special partner to national and local government.

The Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) platform provides an excellent example of this partnership in action. Created in 2011, and co-chaired by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA), and Nepal Red Cross, the CBDRM platform provides a multistakeholder and inclusive approach to risk reduction and resilience in Nepal and has created opportunities between the government of Nepal, Red Cross and partners to co-create policies and ensure effective coordination of best practices of disaster and climate risk management.

IFRC Disaster Law

Disasters cause massive human suffering and loss, but the right laws and policies can help keep communities safe and save lives. IFRC Disaster Law supports National Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and governments to strengthen disaster risk governance, through the development and implementation of climate, disaster and emergency related legislation, policies and procedures. Since 2008 Nepal Red Cross has been working alongside its government to evaluate and strengthen laws and regulations for disaster risk management at the national level, ranging from work on legal preparedness for international disaster assistance in Nepal, DRR and Law in Nepal; regulatory barriers in emergency shelter in Nepal and Gender Equality and prevention of SGBV in disaster law in Nepal. Red Cross was also instrumental in supporting the Government of Nepal to review its 34-year-old Natural Calamity Act and to pass the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2017.

Red Cross is now turning its efforts to support government and communities in Nepal to strengthen disaster risk management law, policy and action at the municipal level.