Parliamentarians at WCDRR

The UNISDR advisory groups of parliamentarians for disaster risk reduction have taken action to promote disaster risk reduction as a legal obligation in both development and humanitarian assistance.

Their advocacy efforts have reached more than 1,800 parliamentarians from 163 countries via partnerships with regional and global parliamentary assemblies.

Parliamentarians play vital roles in advocacy, capacity building and promoting legislation and governance for disaster risk reduction. Parliamentarians have an important role to play in ensuring that national policy and legal frameworks for DRR exist with decentralized responsibilities and capacities at all levels. While much progress has been made some countries report that the lack, or insufficient level, of such frameworks is a challenge. The efforts of parliamentarians are key to shifting the paradigm from a “reactive” approach, with a focus on disaster relief and response, to a “proactive” one, ensuring that disaster risk reduction is adequately reflected in a country’s legal framework and institutional arrangements.

Achievements include the Rio+20 Legislator’s Protocol, in which parliamentarians committed to mainstream disaster risk reduction in national policies, and risk-resilient development featured in discussions at the 129th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in October 2013. The Parlatino (Parliamento Latinoamericano) adopted a Protocol for Managing Disaster Risks, which will enable 23 member states to incorporate guiding principles of building resilience into existing or emerging legislation. The European Parliament amended the Basic Law for Development Cooperation Instrument, which allows support to vulnerability and risk reduction in developing countries. In addition, its newly revised legislation on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism emphasizes the need for closer cooperation on disaster prevention, preparedness and planning to achieve better-coordinated and quicker responses among EU member states. UNISDR’s collaboration with members of the European Parliament led to the adoption of the “Own-Initiative Report on the EU Approach to Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction in Developing Countries: Learning from Food Security Crises”, which anchors disaster risk reduction work in the European Parliament. The East African Legislative Assembly has advanced its consultations towards adoption of a Bill on disaster management and disaster risk reduction among its five member states.

Parliamentarians Initiative

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 adopted in March 2015, highlights a new legal dimension, which offers a unique opportunity to move forward with reducing risk, from a strategic advocacy action to accountability measures. UNISDR will continue facilitating engagement among partners to keenly promote and implement the Sendai Framework, hence parliamentarian commitment is crucial to embed a better understanding of risk, and the reduction and prevention of new risks in national plans, policies and laws. Parliamentarians play a key role not only on legal matters but influencing and advocating decision-making processes on education, investment, health, land use and other DRR issues.

During the Hyogo Framework for Action decade (2005-2015), UNISDR engaged more than 1,850 members of parliaments from 163 countries for advocating and implementing DRR mainly in the reviewing, drafting, and adoption of laws and regulations processes through political interventions. To support guidance and implementation mechanisms a Global Advisory Group was created and as result, many UN and regional parliaments resolutions (PARLATINO, EU-LAT, etc.) have included DRR references.

Genuine agents of change

In democratic societies, the role of the Parliament is crucial. As representatives of the people, parliamentarians have a key role and responsibilities in contributing to the primary responsibility of each State which is to prevent and reduce disaster risk by creating a safe environment for their citizens and their assets. Parliamentarians also have the responsibility to hold governments accountable for the commitments they have assumed at international level, including their implementation at national and local levels.

Advocates for Parliaments

UNISDR promotes disaster risk reduction to become an essential part of national planning and programmes, and with the adoption of the Sendai Framework it re-launches the advocacy initiative for legislators.

This initiative promotes disaster risk reduction through informed and committed parliamentarians and parliamentary assemblies. UNISDR targets parliamentarians from member states of the United Nations and parliamentarians who work at regional and international parliamentary assemblies.

UNISDR's parliamentarian focal point is Liliana Lopez in NYC -USA (lopezortiz(at) and Ana Maria Castillo in Geneva -Switzerland (castilloa(at)

Parliamentarian Advisory Group for Disaster Risk Reduction

The UNISDR Advisory Group of Parliamentarians consists of individual parliamentarians who demonstrate strong political commitment to building the resilience of people to disasters. The Advisory Group of Parliamentarians is a support group aiming at implementing the Sendai Framework through advocacy and legislative actions.

The primary function of the Advisory Group of Parliamentarians is to provide advice to the SRSG on thematic areas and engage parliaments to bring DRR issues to the top of their agendas.

The Advisory Group boosts legislative action, reviews and advocate policy imperatives for disaster risk resilient development by raising the profile of DRR and establishing it as a core component of the political agenda in parliaments.

The Advisory Group engages as UNISDR Global Ambassadors to promote increased political and economic investment in DRR for sustainable progress.

The Advisory Group advocates and promotes UNISDR campaigns such as: “Safe Schools and Hospitals” and “The Making Cities Resilient” campaigns.

The Advisory Group commits to promote activities and statements for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction every 13 October.

The Advisory Group reviews the effectiveness of UNISDR Parliamentarians’ Initiative on DRR by recommending strategies and providing analytical inputs to move forward.

Advisory Group Members

UNISDR champion is new IPU President

UNISDR champion is new IPU President

GENEVA, 17 October 2014 - UNISDR Chief, Margareta Wahlstrom today welcomed the election of UNISDR champion and long-standing advocate for disaster risk reduction, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, as the new President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

She said: “UNISDR is pleased that someone who has been a long-time advocate for parliamentarians should be elected to this high office to press for greater political commitment and legislation for disaster risk reduction.

“The IPU is an important partner for UNISDR as we prepare for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan next March. Parliamentarians around the world have a vital role to play in ensuring that the new post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction is applied at national and local level to reduce existing levels of risk and avoid the creation of new risk. It is encouraging that the IPU members have chosen as their President someone with such an in-depth knowledge of disaster management from his career in Bangladesh and who clearly understands the links between climate change and disaster risk reduction.”

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