Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



This Article draws attention to the nascent efforts of emergency medical personnel, convened under World Health Organization auspices, to improve humanitarian health responses following catastrophic natural disasters. The Foreign Medical Team Working Group (FMT-WG) is pursuing new professional standards related to sectoral coordination, classification and registration. As its approach has been significantly influenced by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group's (INSARAG) prior advances in these areas, INSARAG's contributions will first be highlighted. While more atypical contributors to international lawmaking than traditionally studied, the efforts by both groups shed significant light into the burgeoning International Disaster Response Law field. Two principle assertions here: that soft law-oriented technical guidelines can address highly time-sensitive, operational challenges related to transnational relief; and that ongoing professional self-regulation within specific response sectors may bolster state willingness to open its borders to outside international relief, even in the absence of a formal convention to do so.