Your Excellencies and distinguished guests.
As we face the global challenge of climate change, Australia is confident our collective action under the Paris Agreement will see results.
But we must nonetheless face the reality of increased severe weather events and the impact these have.
We know this well in Australia, where we live in a region – the Asia Pacific – with seven of the top ten most disaster prone countries.
In the past three years, we’ve seen the three largest cyclones in recorded history devastate our neighbours in the Philippines, Vanuatu and Fiji.
These events show the right investment in disaster risk reduction and preparedness, and capable national institutions, can greatly reduce the impact on communities.
Along with our MIKTA colleagues – Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and Turkey – we commit to a program of action and advocacy to support accelerated implementation of the Sendai Framework within our regions.
We can do more to ensure our global humanitarian system is more responsive to local contexts.
A system that can better differentiate between sudden onset natural disasters – where nation states are capable and willing to lead responses – and protracted complex crises.
A system that allows the UN to focus where it is most needed – particularly on protracted and complex crises, and on helping states in need reduce risk and prepare for natural disasters.
A system that is inclusive – that encourages women’s leadership in humanitarian action and the active participation of people with disabilities.
A system that draws creatively on a wider range of financing mechanisms – for instance engaging with the private sector to share risk and broaden the resource base for response.
We are working with banks to waive remittance fees on overseas transfers following disasters, and with insurance companies to help more businesses and households gain access to low-cost insurance.
We are engaging Australian power companies to provide their resources and expertise to assist Fiji’s power sector to be re-established after Cyclone Winston.
We have committed $2 million to the Pacific Humanitarian Innovation Challenge which, among other things, will help improve the financial resilience of businesses and communities.
We commit, with our Pacific partners, to developing Pacific protocols to better align regional and international offers of assistance with national government responses following a disaster.
These protocols will strengthen national and local leadership in disaster management and map out a coherent and coordinated approach to international assistance. It will be consistent with the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
Finally Australia gives a firm commitment to supporting the core commitments of this Roundtable and the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Humanity.
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