Building disaster resilience at the United Nations

By Director Engagement and Projects, Amanda Lamont.

Australia was well represented at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction last month in Geneva, Switzerland.  

AIDR joined the Australian delegation alongside Emergency Management Australia, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Red Cross, Geoscience Australia, Bureau of Meteorology, Latrobe and Kentish Councils (Tasmania), Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Torrens Resilience Institute at the event hosted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Participants attended from 182 countries. Half of the panellists were women and 40% of all participants were women. It was particularly nice to see more than 120 persons with disabilities in attendance.

Building resilience was high on the agenda, with presentations and discussions following the theme ‘the resilience dividend: towards sustainable and inclusive societies’. This provided a platform for presentations on the dividends of risk-informed decision-making to build resilience and inclusion of social, environmental, and economic considerations in disaster risk reduction.

The Australian delegation were invited to a reception for Asia Pacific delegates followed by a dinner hosted at the residence of the Australian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Sally Mansfield.

Director General Emergency Management Australia, Rob Cameron, reported on Australia’s new National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and on Australia’s investment in greater preparedness capabilities, particularly highlighting the National Fire Danger Rating System.

Mr Cameron’s statement also confirmed that more Australians are being impacted by natural hazards with more frequency and intensity across Australia, including unparalleled heatwaves in scale and duration, unprecedented bushfires, severe flooding and destructive tropical cyclones.

The Global Platform and sideline events covered a huge range of topics including risk; data; capacity; at risk and marginalised people; women; youth; media; transboundary risks; local and national risk reduction strategies; infrastructure; health; displacement; financing; private sector; climate change; fragile states; build back better; early warning systems and cooperation.

The focus now moves to Brisbane, who will host the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction next year. The conference will be co-hosted with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and will provide an opportunity to draw greater attention to the particular challenges faced by island-nations and remote populations in the region.