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Symposium on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and International Law

Believed to be the first of its kind in terms of approach and scope, this internationally important symposium was co-hosted between Walker Institute, the University of Reading School of Law and the American Society of International Law in July 2017. The principal focus was on the role of legal instruments in managing disaster risk, with consideration of DRR through the lens of a broad and diverse range of legal regimes.

Legal tools are often incorrectly perceived as being solely about constraint (notably what governments cannot do) when, in fact, they are as much about being facilitative tools for the achievement of both public and private sector disaster risk management goals, including DRR priorities. The symposium bought together legal, scientific and technological communities to learn how to work more closely together in order to progress key elements of the Sendai agenda, and build up current levels of truly multisectoral engagement and cooperation.

This has acted as a catalyst for the development of further in-depth, cross-cutting research across a broad range of legal regimes for clearer identification of the current DRR legal framework and to influence the current and future development of DRR related law, policy and practice.

Proceedings were livestreamed to increase global accessibility to the matters discussed. The publication of a significant edited DRR Handbook, with some further substantive additions was published by Cambridge University Press and the development of new, and augmentation of existing, expert networks across all key stakeholders surrounding climate resilience and DRR.

In parallel with the symposium proceedings, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association filmed contributing legal and scientific experts on global, regional, national and grassroots perspectives in order to develop an online Masterclass aimed primarily at Parliamentarians in the 52 countries comprising the Commonwealth, which represents approximately one third of the world’s population.


Check the outputs from this Symposium:

Samuel, K. and Cornforth, R.J. (2019) Chapter 19: DRR, Early Warning Systems and Global Health: Critiquing the current systems-based approach. In: Samuel, K., Aronsson-Storrier, M. and Nakjavani Bookmiller, K. (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Disaster Risk Reduction and International Law. Cambridge University Press, pp. 373-404. ISBN 978-1108474122

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Masterclass in Disaster Risk Reduction (2017): Linking Science, Policy and Practice with Law - Building Disaster Risk Reduction capacity on the ground through a multi-stakeholder approach (2017),