Regional Disaster Risk Reduction: Is there a Pacific Way?

AuthorW John Hopkins
PositionProfessor of Law, University of Canterbury
e 2015 Sendai Fra mework for Disa ster Risk Redu ction has re-a rmed the global
importance of D RR in the early years of the 21st ce ntury. Alongside a glob al recognition of
its importan ce, regional approach es to DRR have now become co mmonplace. is art icle
examines this ph enomenon in a South Pacif‌ic c ontext and critically ana lyses the limited
regional fram ework that currently exist s.
In common with regi onalism generally, di saster co-operati on in the South Pacif‌ic has
been underta ken primarily through s oft law frameworks sp onsored by the Pacif‌ic Isl ands
Forum (notably the Fram ework for Resilient Deve lopment in the Pacif‌ic). ese in clude a
signif‌icant ro le for donors (including th e metropolitan memb ers of the Forum) and NGOs.
As well as its use of s oft law instr uments, the Pacif‌ic “mode l” is notable for it s exclusive
focus on the devel opment of resilience within in dividual states rather than reg ional co-
operation. I n addition, th ose South Pacif‌i c regional model s developed to enh ance co-
operation in th e f‌ield (notably the FRENZ arrangem ent) are notable for th e exclusion of
Pacif‌ic Island states.
e article exa mines this “Pac if‌ic Way” of DRR in the conte xt of other regional
examples. It conc ludes by quest ioning whether re gional DRR law i n the South Pacif‌i c
represents a tr uly Pacif‌ic Way in the f‌ield or is yet an other instance of global n orms being
implemented through “transmission belt” regionalism.
Risk Reduction
Disast er risk and its reduc tion have become an incr easing focus of int ernational
law and governa nce in the pa st decades. Bot h in the Paci f‌ic and globa lly th is has
seen the development of int ernation al fra meworks, guideli nes and in stitut ions
* Professor of L aw, University of Cant erbury. This art icle incorporates r esearch undert aken as
part of a New Z ealand E uropea n Union Centre s Network proje ct into comp arative r egional
disast er response in the Asi a-Pacif‌ic region. The aut hor is grateful for t he f‌inanci al support
provided by t he Europea n Commis sion without w hich thi s project would not h ave been possi ble.
The author a lso wishes to tha nk Professor Ki rsten Bookmi ller, Dr Katja Samu el and Dr Karen
Grant for the ir comments on ea rlier versions of p aper. The tradit ional discl aimer applies .

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