On 19 August the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop marked World Humanitarian Day at an event co-hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Lowy Institute.
World Humanitarian Day recognises the aid workers who risk their lives to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need around the world.
To a crowd of humanitarian workers, NGO representatives, business leaders, academics, school students and members of the diplomatic community, Minister Bishop launched the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Strategy during a speech at State Library Victoria in Melbourne. This strategy articulates how DFAT will respond to humanitarian crises and ensures our humanitarian action aligns with and supports Australian Government priorities.
The Minister also launched DFAT’s Humanitarian Supplies Challenge, which is a $1 million investment by the Australian Government in new and innovative relief supplies to support communities in our region immediately after a crisis.
During her speech, the Minister announced a new scholarship program to build disaster management capacity in the Pacific. The Pacific Humanitarian Leadership Scholarship will be delivered through the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership and is jointly funded by DFAT and the IKEA Foundation. Up to five full scholarships will be offered to applicants from the Pacific to strengthen disaster resilience and disaster management expertise in their countries.
At the event the Minister met Australian Civilian Corps, RedR Australia and Australian Medical Team humanitarian workers, members of the Australian Defence Force who provided humanitarian support to Fiji following Tropical Cyclone Winston earlier this year, and winners of DFAT’s Pacific Humanitarian Challenge.
The Australian Government has a long history of providing humanitarian assistance around the world, particularly in Australia’s immediate Indo-Pacific region. In 2015-16, Australia responded to more than 20 crises, providing over $167 million in life-saving assistance.