As we go about the work of reducing disaster risk, enhancing resilience and preventing, preparing, responding, and recovering from emergencies and disasters, we are doing so within a risk environment that’s ever more complex and interconnected. The pace of change is extraordinary, and the great risk amplifier of climate change is influencing the occurrence of hazards and the creation of new disaster risks, including compounding hazards. We are faced with the need to adapt and transform our approaches in a world where a hazard-by-hazard, event-by-event approach to disaster risk management is no longer enough.
Over the past years, Australia has made some major advances in how we think about – and prioritise – disaster resilience and risk reduction. Borne from the hard-won wisdom of dealing with major catastrophic events, we have produced the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework, and highly innovative local and state resilience strategies and programs. We have established national and state agencies that focus specifically on resilience and recovery, and support community-led actions. We have conducted cutting edge research and listened to the experiences and recommendations of disaster-affected citizens.
Looking back, we have much to be proud of. Looking forward, as a nation, we are well positioned for positive change and meaningful progress. So, what are the next steps? How might we mainstream disaster risk reduction and resilience in decision making across sectors, programs and policy? What leading examples of community-led disaster resilience projects and programs could we learn from and scale up? In what ways should we seek to adapt and transform our practice in preparation for the future?
While the complexity of our risk landscape is growing, so too is the level of complexity from an information perspective. We are living in an all-pervasive information environment in which it is increasingly difficult to interpret and judge the reliability of the information we are exposed to. This has profound implications with respect to crisis and disaster, as well as for the decisions and plans we make to reduce risk and enhance resilience. How do we navigate through our riskier world at a time of increasing information disorder?
The 2022 Australian Disaster Resilience Conference will look back and look forward to explore the ways in which we can build disaster resilience in an increasingly risky world, with a focus on adapting and transforming for the future.
The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2021: Resilience in a Riskier World: Managing Systemic Risks from Biological and Other Natural Hazards explores related concepts at a regional level. Click to read the report online.