It has never been more important to reduce disaster risk and build resilience. With science telling us that disasters will become more frequent and severe due to climate change, the urgency of this work is clear.1 Individuals, communities, organisations and governments are all calling for greater coordination, collaboration, creativity, and adaptability, and for such efforts to be inclusive of diverse voices and Indigenous knowledge.
We must reimagine the future if we are to create the change we need. Our partnerships, programs, actions and ideas all play an important part in creating and safeguarding the world we want to live in now, and the world we want to pass on to future generations.
We are increasingly used to hearing ‘bad news’, to the point where it perhaps no longer shocks us. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report highlights that our region continues to face cascading, compounding and aggregate impacts from natural hazards.2 CSIRO’s Our Future World: Global megatrends impacting the way we live over coming decades report identified adapting to climate change as one of seven key global megatrends, while also noting that disasters are expected to cost the Australian economy almost three times more in 2050 than recent times.3 The evidence is clear, and supported by our recent lived experience, that we are now living with a more volatile climate, characterised by continued extreme weather events that push historical boundaries.
All too often, natural hazards result in disaster and communities are left to rebuild. In the face of growing challenges, it is time to get creative. It is time to embrace diverse knowledge and bring a broader range of voices and values into decision making. It is time to reimagine resilience.
- What would it take for our future to be characterised by unprecedented levels of disaster resilience across communities, economies, and our built and natural environment?
- What if the spotlight was on the cascading and compounding benefits of our disaster resilience initiatives?
- What if we could change the systems that exist now, and create systems that work together to strengthen resilience?
- What would we do differently if we better valued our connection to the natural environment?
- What if we harnessed the strength of diversity in our communities to create an inclusive path forward?
- What if we achieved the Sustainable Development Goals and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction targets ahead of schedule? What would have happened to make this possible?
- What benefits would we see if we invested in people and process, not just products and things?
The 2023 Australian Disaster Resilience Conference will explore what is possible by coming together to reimagine resilience. The conference will prioritise creative and collaborative approaches being taken across our country, and enable us to hear from fresh voices that propose new, innovative ways to foster the disaster resilience our nation needs to thrive in the complex future we know is ahead of us.
- Deloitte Access Economics, 2021, Special report: Update to the economic costs of natural disasters in Australia
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2021, Sixth Assessment Report
- CSIRO, 2022, Our Future World: Global megatrends impacting the way we live over coming decades