I write this foreword from the traditional lands of the Ainawan people. It is a complex region of environmental, social and cultural change that has experienced a series of recent and historical natural disasters. It is a region that inspires the multiple ways in which we can co-produce knowledge that protects, transforms, stewards and sustains.
The last few years have seen a sequence of challenging natural hazard events in Australia. Drought, bushfire, flood and pandemic. And what next? The singular and collective effects of these events in communities, institutions, economies and ecosystems will be felt for years to decades. Actions that inevitably emerge post-event to address the impact, reduce risk and build resilience can be transformative or maladaptive. Understanding the difference is sometimes difficult and often value-laden.
It is within this setting that the Australian Journal of Emergency Management provides a knowledge and evidence base that supports future-facing decision-making. As part of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub, the journal advances the practice of emergency management through the dissemination of high-quality research and practice-based articles.
The journal is unique in its positioning at the science-policy-practice interface. Complex problems such as disaster risk reduction and resilience are characterised by high stakes and high system uncertainty. Co-production of knowledge among an extended peer community is a contemporary model for understanding and managing complex problems. The journal achieves this through its mix of contributors, research and practice papers and news articles.
This themed edition exemplifies the co-production of knowledge about the management of animals in emergencies. Practitioners, academics and policy makers from animal welfare agencies, animal rescue services, federal, state and local governments, international agencies, zoos, consulting services and universities contributed to this bumper issue. The science-policy-practice knowledge embedded within the articles advances options to improve animal-inclusive emergency management and assist communities to respond and recover.
It is clear from the collection of articles in this issue that views about human-animal relationships are rapidly changing within society. These articles highlight some of the ethical, legal and operational matters that will influence the transition to animal-centric thinking in emergency management policy, programs and practice.
This issue also marks the start of my tenure as Editor in Chief. I thank the previous Editor in Chief, Dr John Bates, and more recently Emeritus Professor Frank Archer for their contributions. I also acknowledge the guest editors, editorial team and advisory board members who make the journal a success. I look forward to fostering the spirit of co-produced knowledge that characterises the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.