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Risk and Resilience Program

The Risk and Resilience Program continued to provide opinion and commentary on and develop ideas about managing the impacts of natural and sociotechnical hazards in Australia. This work included developing advice and commentary informing policy choices in Australia’s federal, state and local governments and the private sector, as well as enhancing the assessment of vulnerability and mitigation options to promote resilience in human systems.

The program continued to pursue its key aims, which include:

  promoting inclusive dialogues on ensuring readiness for complex emergencies through better planning and preparation, and considering capability needs for future emergency events
  engaging practitioner and industry groups (including the civilian services and the ADF) with practical discussions aimed at improving policies and planning
  sponsoring issues papers and research on building resilience into future infrastructure
  exploring capacity needs for disaster risk reduction in the Indo-Pacific region.

In addition to numerous media engagements and publications on issues ranging from fuel security vulnerabilities, the 2019–20 bushfire crises and implications of Covid-19 for national risk exposures and biosecurity issues, publishing highlights included:

  a co-sponsored report with Engineers Australia, Designing for resilient energy systems: choices in future engineering, which gathered the thoughts of a younger generation of Australian engineers on future developments on energy resilience in Australia
  a DFAT-supported edited volume, A Pacific disaster prevention review, which examined independent views on the challenges to implementing the Sendai Disaster Risk Reduction Framework across eight Pacific island economies.

Other highlights of the program’s work in 2019–20 were invitations to Dr Paul Barnes to participate in a number of international advisory groups.

He was appointed as a council member of the International Military Council on Climate and Security, which is based in Washington DC. The council is supported by a consortium that includes the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael), the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies and the Center for Climate and Security. A key role of the council is commentary and advocacy on the national security implications of a changing climate and related environmental and weather crises.

He was also invited to participate in the working groups of the UN Global Risk Assessment Framework. The working groups enhance decision-making and advisory capabilities for the UN across a range of sectors to enable all-source risk reduction globally.

Both Dr Barnes and Visiting Fellow Dr Robert Glasser supported DFAT as members of an intergovernmental consultative planning group for the 2020 Asia–Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

ASPI’s focus on risk and resilience outcomes will continue with the production of opinion pieces, media commentary and targeted views for The Strategist, the completion of more detailed papers on national resilience building and the delivery of invited presentations at national and international forums on emerging issues in these nationally important areas.