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IDRL in the south-west Indian Ocean, Study of legal frameworks to facilitate and regulate international disaster response in: Union of the Comoros, Mayotte and Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Tanzania (13/01/2021)

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For twenty years the Indian Ocean Regional Intervention Platform (PIROI) – which reports to the International Relations and Operations Department (DIRO) of the French Red Cross – has been working on risk management of disasters (DRM) in the south-west Indian Ocean. PIROI consists of various members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement: Comoros Red Crescent, French Red Cross, Malagasy Red Cross, Mauritius Red Cross, Mozambique Red Cross, Seychelles Red Cross Society, Tanzania Red Cross Society, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

PIROI works alongside the Indian Ocean’s National Societies and national risk management authorities (e.g. civil protection departments and government ministries), as well as French organisations who operate in the region. In addition, PIROI works with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) under a partnership agreement signed in 2012 which aims to build the capacities of those involved in the region’s disaster risk management. Based in Reunion Island, PIROI also works to develop skills and resources as close as possible to vulnerable areas, thus increasing responsiveness and flexibility when dealing with disasters. The strength of PIROI’s regional response relies on its dense regional networks and coverage: more than 800 local committees and over 35,000 active volunteers work with the seven PIROI-member National Societies, including at its eight warehouses of pre-positioned relief supplies.

PIROI is a key stakeholder in disaster management in the Indian Ocean. It has been interested in International Disaster Law, or IDRL, for several years, both in terms of building other stakeholders’ capacities, and in the advocacy required for it to intervene in the event of disasters in order to effectively provide material assistance to the affected countries. PIROI’s interest is not only reflected by this study but also by its role as organiser of several national workshops and a regional workshop promoting a legal approach to DRM.

This overview stems from a comprehensive study aimed at presenting the international and regional framework of disaster law. It aims to:

• Identify the international legal and policy framework for assistance, as well as its integration into domestic legal frameworks

• Identify national legal and policy arrangements governing international disaster assistance, and analyse the degree of IDRL Guideline integration

• Identify any legal obstacles that may delay or hinder international assistance

• Present key legal frameworks to facilitate humanitarian stakeholders’ response

• Propose recommendations based on these considerations in order to improve the effectiveness of disaster response for Indian Ocean countries