Mary has over 25 years' professional experience. During the past ten years, she has focussed on the legal and policy aspects of humanitarian action, disaster resilience and sustainable development.
Mary has been at the forefront of the development of disaster law. While working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), she undertook ground-breaking global research on disaster risk reduction legislation, and was co-developer of a model national law on the facilitation of international disaster response. She has published numerous reports and papers, including detailed national case studies, and has delivered presentations and workshops for governments and humanitarian organisations, regional and global conferences, taking her to more than a dozen countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and Central America.
Mary’s work as a consultant has been wide-ranging, with clients including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Health Organisation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the IFRC, American Red Cross and The Sphere Project, among others. She has worked on projects relating to the legal and policy frameworks for urban resilience, and for disaster resilience of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia, fire risk in informal settlements in South Africa, gender equality and protection from sexual-and-gender-based-violence (SGBV) in disasters, and aspects of comparative international law, international humanitarian law, anti-discrimination, and human rights.
Mary combines rigorous research methodology with clear analysis, plain-English report writing and a practical approach to recommendations. She is adept at cross-cultural communication, working with teams from different language and cultural backgrounds, and can also read and research in French and Spanish.
After practising law in Melbourne, Australia, in the field of employment and anti-discrimination law, Mary undertook postgraduate study in Geneva, Switzerland, where she obtained her DEA (Masters equivalent) and doctorate in public international law.
M Picard, ‘Water Treaty Regimes as a Vehicle for Cooperation to Reduce Water-Related Disaster Risk: The Case of Southern Africa and the Zambezi Basin’ in David Fisher and Jacqueline Peel (Eds), Role of International Environmental Law in Disaster Risk Reduction, (Brill, 2016). Available here.
M. Picard and E. Powrie, ‘Disaster Risk Management Law and Policy’ in Oliver C. Ruppel and Katharina Ruppel-Schlichting (Eds), Environmental Law and Policy in Namibia: Towards making Africa the Tree of Life (3rd edtn) (Hanns Seidel Foundation, Germany and Namibia, 2016). Available here.
M. Picard, Disaster management, risk reduction and international disaster response laws in the Commonwealth. Commonwealth Senior Officials of Law Ministries Meeting, 3-5 October 2016: (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2016). Available on request.
M. Picard, 'The potential of Southern Africa's shared watercourse frameworks to reduce flood risk and water stress in the face of climate change', presentation at workshop, 'How Can International Environmental Law Reduce Disaster Risks?’ Stanford Law School, May 21-22, 2015. Available on request.
M. Picard, Effective Law and Regulation for Disaster Risk Reduction: A Multi-Country Report (IFRC, UNDP, June 2014). Available here.
D. Fisher and M. Picard, Draft Model Law & Commentary on International Disaster Response Laws, Rules, and Principles (IDRL), (IFRC, 2011). With input from a range of legal experts and stakeholders. (Final version, as revised by D. Fisher 2012) Available here.
J. Darcy and M. Picard, The Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Annex, 2011 revision focal points and principal drafters. Available here.
M. Picard, Analysis of legislation related to disaster risk reduction in Nepal (IFRC, 2011). Available here.
M. Picard, Legal Issues from the International Response to Tropical Storm Stan in Guatemala (IFRC, 2007). Available here.