Humanitarian crises, including natural disasters and conflict, severely undermine growth, reverse hard-won development gains and increase poverty and insecurity. Australia’s region is highly vulnerable to these shocks, and their impact is becoming more extreme as an ever increasing number of people live in areas affected by disasters.
In the past decade, 2.2 billion people were affected by natural disasters with around two-thirds located in the Asia-Pacific region. The associated global economic cost is estimated at US$1.5 trillion, with around US$750 billion incurred in the Asia-Pacific. All of this means that we need to increase our disaster risk reduction efforts to reduce exposure to hazards and to build a more effective humanitarian system to ensure timely, coordinated international responses to disasters when they occur.
Private Sector partnerships have a valuable role to play in working to improve the reach, quality and responsiveness of the humanitarian system and to help strengthen disaster management in the region.
DFAT, in consultation with Austrade, is assessing ways to increase collaboration with private sector organisations with the potential to deliver products or approaches to assist crisis-affected communities.
In June 2015, DFAT hosted a Humanitarian Private Sector Engagement Roundtable to explore the private sector’s current and future role in humanitarian action and disaster risk management in the Indo-Pacific region. The roundtable involved representatives of private sector organisation from a diversity of sectors such as logistics, banking and finance, telecommunications, technology and software development, insurance and health.
At the World Humanitarian Summit Pacific Consultations in June 2015, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the Pacific Innovation Challenge, a $2M initiative focused on developing innovative new approaches to humanitarian action in the Pacific.
Consistent with the outcomes of the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting on Disaster Management in July 2015, DFAT will work with private sector organisations to support disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts, including:
- supporting rapid recovery process of markets;
- quickly re-establishing telecommunications; and
- assisting in the provision of food and logistics.
Read more about DFAT’s investment priorities: Disaster Risk reduction and Humanitarian response