Recently, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) launched a Masterclass on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), filmed by the CPA during the innovative DRR and International Law symposium co-organised by Dr Katja Samuel together with Professor Ros Cornforth, Director of the Walker Institute, University of Reading, in June 2017.
The DRR Masterclass is part of a recently introduced series of teaching resources produced by the CPA aimed at informing Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth about important and emerging issues of policy and practical concern. The Commonwealth comprises 53 countries with a combined population of 2.4 billion people.
As was so starkly demonstrated during the 2017 hurricane season across the Caribbean and Americas (Hurricanes Irma and Maria), as well as by other extreme weather and disaster events experienced in Asia such as severe flooding, many Commonwealth countries are severely impacted by disaster events, making DRR a high priority issue.
Six invited experts contributed: Katja Samuel spoke about the global DRR agenda under the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) from a legal perspective and interviewed the other five expert contributors. Ros Cornforth explained the critical importance of effective engagement with grass root communities if the ambitious Sendai Framework’s goals are to be fully realized. Other perspectives given were on: national contingency planning by Simon Whitbourn (Knightwood Legal, UK); regional approaches and challenges by Dr John Hopkins (University of Canterbury, New Zealand); a scientific perspective on the challenges but also successes to date of the Sendai Framework by Professor Virginia Murray (Public Health England, former Vice Chair of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Scientific and Technical Advisory Group); and a discussion of recent developments in international disaster law, especially regarding DRR, by Isabelle Granger (Director of the Disaster Law Programme of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva).