Excellencies; Heads of Delegations; distinguished guests and participants.
Australia’s National Statement is posted on the Global Platform website, but I wanted to use the opportunity today to highlight a few important elements.
The Australian Government is firmly committed to implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
As a famous Australian poet put it, ‘Australia is a land of drought and flooding rains’.
Most recently, Tropical Cyclone Debbie impacted two of our most populous states – Queensland and New South Wales.
It highlighted the vulnerability of Australian communities, but it also demonstrated the resilience of the Australian spirit.
Since we gathered in Sendai in 2015, the Australian Government has focused on establishing the right policies and governance arrangements to reduce the impact of hazards on our communities.
We undertook a review of our emergency management arrangements and implemented an agile structure to enable flexible responses.
We established a Senior Official Interagency Committee to ensure disaster and climate risk policies are progressed in tandem.
We hosted a platform of representatives from business, the community sector and government to develop innovative solutions to disaster risk reduction.
This work has placed us in a strong position to deal with the inter-generational problem of escalating disaster risk in Australia.
We complement robust domestic action with strong regional and global action to assist our neighbours.
Two of the largest cyclones in recorded history have hit the Pacific – Cyclone Pam affecting 70 per cent of the population in Vanuatu costing 64 per cent of their GDP, and Cyclone Winston affecting 62 per cent of the population in Fiji, costing an estimated 20 per cent of their GDP.
The scale of impact thwarts economic growth and development.
But preparation and preparedness and prevention pay dividends.
Early warning systems in both cases alerted communities to the approaching cyclones and as a result, the human from these events was remarkably low.
In 2015-16, we invested almost three per cent of our overseas development assistance managing disaster risk and building disaster resilience.
We have committed AUD 6.1 million over three years to UNISDR, and we are pleased that this has included funding for Pacific participation in the Platform.
We are also allocating AUD 12.3 million over three years to the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.
Working collaboratively with these partners is important, but national leadership is crucial.
Accordingly, Australia will continue to assist where we can to add value to the national actions of our development partners, but we cannot replace their own efforts.
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