Legal and institutional arrangements (LIA) is an important step towards mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in local processes, functions, and services. The legal aspect of LIA focuses on the policy environment; as characterized by laws, regulations, codes, and ordinances, which provide the legal basis for national and local-level DRM activities. The institutional aspect delves on the administrative, functional and operational capabilities of the different organizations that are involved in DRM within a given jurisdiction. These functions include risk identification, information dissemination, planning, policy formulation and enforcement, and inter-organizational and cross-sectoral coordination. For effective implementation of DRM programs, our approach ensures that DRM policies, strategies and actions are firmly anchored in the legal and institutional framework of a local authority and the country. We also review the existing legal and institutional arrangements and provide points for improvement.
DRM practice, as an emerging scientific discipline, proves to be challenging to implement. Methodology and practical guidance for local authorities and institutions are lacking. We adopt science-based methodologies and analysis tools to identify and validate these gaps that hinder progress in building urban resilience. Our experience in working with different city partners enables us to establish the criteria and principles in assessing soundness of legal and institutional arrangement practices for urban DRM.
We work with complex cities in different political systems (such as federal, parliamentary monarchy, and republic) and propose institutional reforms in existing government systems to ensure that DRM is mainstreamed in local governance and functions.
- LIA analysis leads to the institutionalization of DRM within legal frameworks that address disaster mitigation and preparedness, as well as budget and resource allocations.
- LIA analysis maps out the intricacies of inter-institutional coordination processes and protocols that would align and harmonize the DRM process. It links local level implementation with international and national development frameworks, policies and plans. It also sets the directions for local authorities on how to perform their functions (during normal and disaster periods) in relation to other government units and non-government actors. This is true for institutions that provide critical services (such as but not limited to utilities, health, education and public safety).
- LIA analysis determines the institutional competencies and available resources in carrying out DRM functions. Relevant agencies are also able to self-assess their DRM capacities and identify the institutional gaps that need to be addressed.
We work on the premise that DRM practices are more sustainable and efficient in the long term when they are explicitly integrated into formal development and institutional processes of a city.