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close this bookCommunity Emergency Preparedness: A Manual for Managers and Policy-Makers (WHO, 1999, 141 p.)
close this folderChapter 2 Policy development
View the documentPolicy
View the documentEmergency preparedness policy
View the documentIssues in emergency management policy
View the documentSummary
View the documentReference

Emergency preparedness policy

Policy development in relation to emergency preparedness can be broken down into principles, form, content, and process.

The emergency preparedness policy principles recognize the following (1):

· the rights of individuals and collective rights;

· the nature of the hazards, community, and vulnerability in the geographical area covered by the policy;

· existing related policies, including development, health, and environmental policy;

· existing legislative and organizational responsibilities;

· resource limitations;

· accepted emergency management concepts, including:

- the comprehensive approach;
- the all-hazards approach;
- incorporating emergency preparedness into development planning;
- developing emergency management capabilities at the community level;
- community participation in emergency preparedness;
- building upon existing emergency capabilities;
- the multisectoral and intersectoral approach;
- public attitudes.

The form of emergency preparedness policy will vary both from country to country and between provinces in a given country. Policy may consist of community agreements, sectoral or intersectoral agreements, a provincial government decision, a national government executive decision, or legislation. The form should, however, maximize multisectoral participation. It is essential to emergency preparedness that all relevant organizations and levels are consulted to ensure joint commitment to community safety and well-being.

One process for emergency preparedness policy development is outlined below:

· A decision is made that policy is required and policy development is authorized.

· A qualified person (with a knowledge of policy development and emergency preparedness) is selected as the policy process manager.

· The policy process manager analyses the environment, culture, and administration of the area under his or her jurisdiction.

· A multisectoral team is selected to represent all of the organizations with an interest in emergency preparedness.

· The policy process manager and policy team consider the various emergency preparedness policy issues and document their decisions.

· The decisions on policy directions are publicized and debated in as many forums as possible.

· Final decisions on policy are made and formalized by the appropriate authorities (national legislature, national executive, provincial government, etc.).

· Policy is disseminated widely.

The next section, on emergency management policy, covers some of the options and questions on issues in emergency preparedness policy. It is suggested that the policy process manager does not give these lists of options and questions to the policy team. Rather, she or he should use them to prepare for policy development within the specific country context. The issues are summarized in the left-hand column of Table 1, with the recommended options shown in the right-hand column.

These policy issues may create considerable discussion and even disagreement among those responsible for emergency management, and countries and communities can choose any of numerous options to address them. The issues are detailed below, with options and discussion questions that can be used as a guide to policy and planning decision-making.