National disaster management authorities

The primary and sovereign responsibility for response to disaster and crisis lies with the state authorities. These authorities -- national, provincial, district, local (and traditional) -- vary greatly in their capacity to coordinate and implement the provision of assistance and protection to their people. Increasingly, governments in crisis-prone areas have created a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) or have developed the capacity to organise an ad hoc coordination approach, such as through an Incident Management System (IMS). Where these exist, international crisis response actors and structures (e.g., the UN's cluster system) should work to exercise their implementation and coordination functions in support of the national authorities.

Search and rescue workers by a destroyed building

Photo: Jessica Lea/DFID

Key actors

List of National Disaster Management Authorities (compiled by ReliefWeb)

Global network dealing with urban search and rescue (USAR) related issues

Strengthens the capacities of its 190 member National Societies, which have an agreed auxiliary role to the government in national disaster response

International association of managers in national disaster response operations

International association of professionals that carry out critical emergency assistance in response to disasters

PHAP certifications

Knowledge about governmental actors in crisis response is covered by the Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem (UHE) certification (competency statement 2.2).

Key references

On the roles and responsibilities of national governments in relation to humanitarian action

Paper presenting the findings of four case studies of how national governments strengthen capacity to manage natural disasters

Guide targeted to national authorities on the fundamentals of the international humanitarian system (in particular Chapter 5 on State Roles and Responsibilities in Disaster Response)

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