This publication presents a set of practical guidelines to support National Societies in developing the processes, systems, teams and individuals involved in preparing for and responding to, disasters. The guidelines acknowledge that response is, first and foremost, local but that it takes place within the global solidarity of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

It includes case studies from Pakistan, Tajikistan, Belize and Sudan.


  • The first stage in creating a National Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism is to develop the political will to do so. This decision must be supported by leadership at the top of the National Society in question. Section 1 of the document explains how to develop the political will within a National Society to set up the mechanism. This is done by linking the mechanism with global priorities, taking the decision to establish and support the mechanism and, finally, defining the general direction and allocating resources accordingly.
  • The next step is to ensure that the conditions are viable to establish the mechanism. Section 2 sets out the tasks involved in ensuring that the conditions are ready. First, this means making sure that all staff and volunteers understand the National Society and its wider context, and accept the need for the mechanism. It also involves linking the mechanism to existing operations, integrating policy into strategy and planning, and planning for implementation and sustainability.
  • The final stage in establishing the mechanism is to ensure that it is ready to operate successfully. Section 3 outlines the key steps in implementing the mechanism. This involves putting in place effective procedures for recruitment, capacity-building and high-quality deployment. It also comprises work to coordinate operations with other international response activities, integrate the mechanism teams in existing operations, monitoring and evaluation, and guaranteeing continuity and sustainability.

Usage: Guidance for project implementation; Policy development

Audiences: National Society leadership; Technical staff; Human Resources

Citation: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2010). Setting up a National Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism: Guidelines for National Societies (pp. 1-64).

For other related information, click here: Video on Setting up a Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism

Document Data

Author: IFRC
Publication date:
Status: Final Type: PDF Size (MB): Size: 0.5
Country: Global, Regional
Resource type: Guidelines

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