The Senegalese Red Cross advocates for a comprehensive legal framework on disaster management

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By Abdoulaye Diallo

Project Manager, Disaster Law Project, Senegalese Red Cross

Inspired by the "Guidelines for the domestic facilitation and regulation of international disaster relief disaster and initial recovery assistance" (IDRL Guidelines) adopted unanimously at the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the Senegalese Red Cross (SRC) held a workshop on legal frameworks for disaster management on 24 February 2015 at Hotel Savana in Dakar. The aim of the workshop was to discuss, among other things, the legal issues raised by international relief operations in Senegal, including barriers on entry into the territory and the conduct of operations, as well as gaps in quality control, related to the coordination and complementarity of international aid. As noted by the President of the Senegalese Red Cross, Mr Abdoul Azize Diallo, in his opening remarks: “the Ebola epidemic, which is still rife in West Africa, demonstrates the necessity of addressing issues on international relief interventions in the event of disasters.”

The IFRC has been supporting the SRC with funding and technical assistance for a project on IDRL in Senegal, to promote the SRC’s advocacy work with the government on strengthening its legal preparedness for international response to disasters, and this workshop is part of the activities planned in that project.

The project also includes another component on legal issues related to disaster risk reduction. Between February and December 2014, the SRC implemented a project resulting in the report: “Legal framework for disaster risk reduction and management in Senegal”. The lessons learned from that project were shared with the Senegalese authorities during the workshop on 24 February 2015. The discussions led to suggestions to improve the actual framework, for example, the need to use national dialects for the communities’ better knowledge of DRR, and the need for further capacity-building of the relevant actors. Nonetheless, further advocacy work remains to be completed. The second component of this project, a project on disaster risk reduction in an urban context, will complement the findings to date.

By carrying out this project, the SRC fulfils its auxiliary role to public authorities, focusing on legal preparedness in disaster management. It also recalls the commitments made at the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Finally, it allows the SRC to assume a leadership role in inviting all stakeholders involved in disaster management to participate in discussions on a comprehensive legal framework for disaster management.

The SRC will therefore pursue its research on the legal framework in Senegal, in order to produce a report highlighting good practices and gaps in the existing framework. The SRC will then advocate for the adoption of the report's recommendations in Senegal.