Continuing the disaster risk reduction conversation

As the world marked the International Day for Disaster Reduction, a new series of videos have been published to continue the conversation for the future.

A new series of videos have been published to continue the conversation about the International Day for Disaster Reduction, which the world marked on 13 October.

The videos feature presenters and experts from the AFAC19 powered by INTERSCHUTZ Conference, which broke the attendance record at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in August.

Dr Robert Glasser, who gave a keynote presentation at the conference, said climate anomalies will begin occurring in areas where communities have not been historically prepared for a natural hazard.

“There’s some evidence that suggests cyclones are now going to be tracking further south into parts of Australia that have not been built to withstand cyclone force winds.

“A community that has weathered one of these hazards will be overwhelmed by subsequent ones that hit because they won’t have time to recover,” Dr Glasser said.

Dr Glasser is the former Head of the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction and Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The 2019 theme for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction explored the fourth target of the Sendai Framework for building resilience, which is to substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and the disruption of basic services.

“I think infrastructure resilience has a key part to play in emergency management,” said Chris Quinn, who specialises in resilience and preparedness initiatives at Resilient Projects.

“I’d love to see more collaboration between the emergency management sector and the infrastructure sector to ensure that we’re building the right things in the right places,” Mr Quinn said.

Bronwyn Weir also discussed how the built environment will react and adapt to climate change at AFAC19. Ms Weir is the co-author of The Shergold Weir Report, which outlines the reforms necessary to build reliable infrastructure for the future.

“There’s a lot of work about improving features of buildings that will make them more resilient to climate change, creating buildings that are able to be used by all of the community, including those with access issues,” Ms Weir said.

The conversation also heavily featured diversity and inclusion activities to assist with reducing disaster risk.

Dr Michelle Villeneuve from the University of Sydney says community resilience is a core part of building the capacity to cope with future disasters.

“We need to think a little bit more about how we engage with communities.

“Accessible resources and information that everybody can understand, and use, will benefit everybody,” Dr Villeneuve said.

The researcher specialises in disaster inclusion for people with a disability, and cross-sector collaboration.

“One of the benefits of focusing on people with disabilities is that when you design communities and information, you’re actually addressing a huge number of people in the population,” Dr Villeneuve said.

Greg Mullins from the Climate Council and Eliane Miles from the Curious Co. also shared their insights and expertise on reducing the impacts of disasters on communities, governments, the private sector and fire and emergency services.

The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction began in 1989, as an initiative of the United Nations General Assembly to promote a global approach and culture of disaster risk-awareness.

Watch the full series online.