Australia Workshop – Emergency Management in Federal Countries

Workshop members from the Emergency Management Australia of the Australian Attorney General’s Department and Forum staff.

On the 20-21 February 2014, the Forum of Federations in collaboration with Emergency Management Australia of the Australian Attorney General’s Department held a workshop on Emergency Management in Federal Countries.

The workshop which took place at Mt. Macedon, Victoria, Australia, brought together senior government officials from Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan and the United States.

Over the course of the two days of this workshop delegations discussed such issues as, each country’s institutional arrangements – outlining their country’s existing emergency management structures, the assignment of responsibilities at each level of government, and the capacity and mandate of agencies dealing with emergency situations.

National delegations also presented innovative policy case studies, such as:

Canada described its Public Alert System, an innovative and cost effective public-private partnership initiative for issuing accurate and authoritative warning to as many Canadians as possible, and as quickly as possible, in the event of a threat to their life and safety.

India its National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the only dedicated disaster response force of the world, with multi-disciplinary, multi-skilled, high-tech, standalone capabilities for undertaking disaster response, capacity building and disaster preparedness activities in every situation of natural and man-made disasters.

Pakistan the Cash Transfer Programme (CTP) for disbursement of ex-gratia relief to people affected by emergency situations. The CTP is an innovative application of technology, comprehensive electronic database of population, and partnership with a number of agencies involving national, provincial and local governments, NADRA and the banking agencies.

The Unites States the National Prepared System (NPS) an overarching framework of disaster risk management in the country. The Goal of NPS is: "A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” NPS is based on whole of hazard (natural, manmade, accidental, and terrorism related), whole of government (federal, state, tribal and local government) and whole of community (individuals and families, businesses, community and faith-based groups, non-profit organizations) approach and involves all cycles of disaster risk management. It outlines an organized process for every stakeholder to move forward with their preparedness activities and achieve the National Preparedness Goal.

And Australia presented the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR) a long-term, evolving process to deliver the sustained behavioural change and enduring partnerships that are essential to building disaster resilient communities. State, territory and local governments use the NSDR to inform local action and business and community leaders, as well as the not-for-profit sector are encouraged to embrace this approach. This will promote a shared understanding about the critical part Australian’s can play in developing their own disaster resilience and that of their communities.

The workshop concluded by identifying best practice and lessons observed, as delegates highlighted main challenges, opportunities, successes, and differences in approach.

The presentations and observations from this workshop will form the basis of a Forum Report on Emergency Management in Federal Systems of Government. The Report will incorporate the views of those countries present as well as those from Germany and Switzerland.

Please follow this link for a pod cast of this event:

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