Skip directly to content


Preparedness refers to the state of being prepared for specific or unpredictable events or situations. Specifically, public health preparedness is fundamental to avoid and mitigate negative outcomes due to infectious disease outbreaks. It is a major phase of emergency management which relies on research, estimation, planning, resourcing, education, practicing and rehearsing. Preparedness of the legal environment in which public health authorities will operate is also crucial. Public law legal preparedness refers to the concept of ensuring an adequate level of legal preparedness for public health emergency situations. This is because if the correct legal framework is not in place at the time the emergency occurs it may not be possible to implement the required response. The International Health Regulations obliges states to be prepared for an epidemic situation and also obliges respect for human rights in such planning. States therefore have an obligation to consider human rights implications during planning for a potential epidemic situation under their obligations under the IHR. This includes human rights within the concept of public law preparedness that has been a hallmark of states’ disaster preparation since September 2001.