Prof. Giulio Bartolini, Prof. Emanuele Sommario and Dr Tommaso Natoli published two contributions within a symposium on “Disaster risk reduction: An International Law perspective”, hosted by the peer-reviewd scientific Journal “QIL – Questions of International Law”. QIL is an open-source e-journal which aims to foster the debate on questions of public international law by providing a dynamic platform for scholars and practitioners.
Bartolini’s and Natoli’s introductive contribution provides an overview of the recent developments concerning DRR, an area which is at present of significant interest for legal researchers. Their analysis demonstrates how, on the one hand, the theoretical implications of this innovative area deserve closer scrutiny, particularly for its capacity to assess the role of informal law-making processes in international law. Indeed, law-making activities have largely be characterized by output informality and several instruments have been adopted through stakeholder consultations in conjunction with traditional intergovernmental negotiations. On the other hand, they highlight the necessity to evaluate the potential existence, and current basis, of international obligations pertaining to this area, as recently maintained by the International Law Commission in the 2016 Draft Articles on the ‘Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters’.
Sommario’s and Venier’s contribution conversely focuses30 on how States’ commitments to respect and protect human rights increasingly cross their path with disaster management policies and activities. Their careful and innovative appraisal of relevant practice developed by universal and regional human rights treaty bodies, of both judicial and non-judicial nature, as well as the emphasis posed to human rights issues in DRR documents, highlights the interplay between Human Rights Law and DRR. Their combined effect is to impose on States the adoption of measures capable of tackling the vulnerabilities affecting individuals and local communities living in disaster-prone areas. Such contributions thus permit to shed light on a challenging topic which is going to assume an increasing relevance in the international legal agenda.