From Law to Action: The IDRL Guidelines 10 years on

November 2017 marked 10 years since the adoption of the Guidelines for the Domestic Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance, more commonly known as the ‘IDRL Guidelines’. This landmark instrument has helped guide States in over 30 countries to develop their domestic laws and procedures for international disaster response, and laid the foundation for more effective and efficient relief operations.

Celebrations of this milestone anniversary took place in Geneva and New York in December 2017, bringing together high-level panellists from governments such as Australia, Mexico and Colombia, international organizations such as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Health Organization and the IFRC, and academia, to highlight the significance of this anniversary, and the role that law can play in making a difference during times of emergency. In Geneva the high-level panel held in December 2017 was chaired by the Roma Tre IEUDL Jean Monnet Module Coordinator Prof. Giulio Bartolini.

Case studies highlighting examples of good practice, and the significant progress made on IDRL across the globe, were shared in a new advocacy report, which was launched to coincide with the anniversary events. This report documents the experience of Ecuador, South Sudan and Vanuatu managing international disaster assistance after a large-scale disaster, which have led to tangible legal and policy change. Furthermore many states have used the IDRL guidelines to build their legal frameworks for disaster response, including those that have been hit hard by disasters in recent years, such as Mexico.

With the aim to accelerating progress in the facilitation and regulation of international disaster assistance, and to garner more momentum at the national level in the implementation of the IDRL Guidelines, the IFRC also launched several new tools, including an IDRL Checklist, and Model Emergency Decree jointly with OCHA. These tools serve to complement the IDRL Guidelines and provide succinct and easy-to-use guidance for states to improve their domestic laws and procedures for managing international disaster assistance.