Cooperative confreres: what can disaster law offer to combatting the climate emergency?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In the face of the climate emergency, the need for international cooperation is undeniable. For example, the International Climate Cooperation Program (ICCP) ‘supports efforts by Francophone countries in Africa and the French West Indies to strengthen their capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change and limit their greenhouse gas emissions’. The 2015 Paris Agreement specifically recognises ‘the importance of support for and international cooperation on adaptation efforts and the importance of taking into account the needs of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change’ and that ‘Parties should strengthen their cooperation on enhancing action on adaptation’.

The increasing number and severity of disasters highlight the climate emergency. It is therefore unsurprising that in the context of international disaster law, cooperation is assumed to be utterly elemental in terms of responding to and preventing disasters. However, the granularity of what such cooperation entails is unclear. The 2016 International Law Commission Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in Disasters address the cooperative duty as it relates variously to states, the UN and ‘other assisting actors’, and they iterate the forms such cooperation may take. Duties to cooperate extend to disaster responses and duties to mitigate and prevent such events. As the Sendai Framework notes ‘each State has the primary responsibility to prevent and reduce disaster risk, including through international, regional, subregional, transboundary and bilateral cooperation’. Caution has been expressed from many quarters as to the confines of the legal cooperative duty and its capacity to actualise, or even encourage, acts of international alliance. This paper will unpack notions of cooperation in the disaster law context and ponder their potential contribution to mitigating the climate emergency threat.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022
EventNorthern European Emergency and Disaster Studies Conference: NEEDS 2022: Global Disasters - University of Copenhagen, Centre for International Law and Governance, Faculty of Law, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 1 Nov 20223 Nov 2022


ConferenceNorthern European Emergency and Disaster Studies Conference


  • international law
  • disasters
  • climate emergency
  • sustainability


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