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Regulating disasters? The role of international law in disaster prevention and management

Journal article
Authors M. Aronsson-Storrier
Karen da Costa
Published in Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 26
Issue 5
Pages 502-513
ISSN 0965-3562
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 502-513
Language en
Keywords Disasters, Human rights, Disaster management, International law, International disaster law, human-rights, natural disasters, protection, relief, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Public, Environmental & Occupational, Health, Business & Economics
Subject categories Law and Society, Environmental Sciences


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of international law in disaster prevention and management, with a particular focus on the emerging field of international disaster law (IDL), and its relationship with international human rights law. It further introduces the four articles of the special column of this journal issue, dedicated to disasters and international law. Design/methodology/approach - The analysis is based upon primary sources of legislation and policy, as well as academic literature on disasters and international law. Findings - Although the field of IDL is in its infancy, the authors argue that this emergent area does have the potential to gain widespread recognition as a distinct field of law, and that this may benefit the wider disaster management community. Originality/value - The paper introduces key legal features and themes relating to international law and disasters, highlighting their relevance for disaster management. The added value is to widen the discussion on aspects of disasters regulated by international law, thus facilitating the future exchange with other academic subjects and operational fields.

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