Understanding the Global Regulatory Process
Edited by Francesca Bignami and David Zaring
Chapter 21: Governing disasters: the challenge of global disaster law and policy
In their provocative new book Transnational Legal Orders, Halliday and Shaffer (2015a, 2015b) argue that in areas as diverse as civil rights, public health, financial stability, and trade policy, governments increasingly “reach beyond domestic to transnational legal norms” (2015a: 3) when crafting law and policy. They are not alone in noting the growing importance of what has come to be called global governance; scholars across a range of disciplines argue that transnational legal regimes have become increasingly important. This chapter uses the analytical framework of transnational legal ordering (TLO) developed by Halliday and Shaffer and applies it to the area of law and disasters. In contrast to the increasingly transnational legal nature of social ordering highlighted by Halliday and Shaffer, it argues that the emergence of transnational regulatory networks and cross-border principles or policies in the area of disaster management has been uneven and incomplete. Although there are many factors that help to explain why the law/disasters area has resisted the trend toward “transnationalization,” two stand out. One is the relative dearth of national laws and policies governing disaster management, which means that unlike other areas in which TLOs have emerged, there is an inadequate foundation of nation-specific laws and norms on which to build a transnational edifice. The second, closely related reason, is that governments tend to “go it alone” when it comes to disaster management.
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