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Legislation for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction

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M. Pelling
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Legislation is crucial for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR) into development. This report aims to support national and donor governments to develop and improve their DRR legislation. The report:reviews existing disaster risk reduction legislationexamines the building blocks of successful legislative reform according to individual nations’ experiencepresents a detailed account of the reform process in South Africa from 1994 to 2005 that resulted in internationally-regarded DRR legislationThe report identifies six preconditions that shaped the success of South Africa’s disaster risk reduction legislation:an enabling political and legal contexta regional disaster risk context characterised by increasing severity and complexitya local professional context seeking to align itself with international best practicean international professional context that supported local initiative and responsibilityhigh levels of local agency, characterised by continuity and individual capacity, skill, integrity and creative initiativea change process that enabled gradual professional reorientation and incremental policy adjustmentFinally, the report offers recommendations for those undertaking legislative reform for DRR. Among others:reform requires sustained, high-level political supportreform is greatly facilitated by a well-placed and respected policy champion with technical knowledge, skill, commitment and creative initiativethe leadership of the reform process must be explicitly committed to broad stakeholder consultationlegislation should fit into existing government planning cycles and procedures for implementation and monitoringexternal facilitators can enable the reform process if the process is led by national stakeholdersDRR should have a clear identity, developed through consultation, that differentiates it from pre-existing relief-oriented disaster management