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13 October 2015—International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

Minister for Justice

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

13 October 2015

Today marks the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – a day to acknowledge the efforts of communities to reduce their exposure to natural disasters.

This year's theme 'knowledge for life' focuses on the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge to complement science in disaster risk management.

With 19.3 million people displaced by disasters globally in 2014 it is vital that every citizen and government plays their part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

The Australian Government recognises that Indigenous peoples provide an important contribution to disaster risk reduction through their experience and traditional knowledge.

That is why the Government provided $200,000 to pilot community based and community led emergency management training in Indigenous communities across central, northern and north-west Australia. This training will build local capacity and help communities further refine their local emergency management plans.

This is on top of a $150,000 commitment to review the Keeping Our Mob Safe strategy, which provides a framework for coordinated and cooperative approaches to emergency management in remote Indigenous communities. The review will ensure that the strategy remains up-to-date and continues to meets the needs of Indigenous communities.

Engaging local communities and indigenous peoples is also a key principle of the United Nation's Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, which aims to reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health.

Across northern Australia, indigenous landowners utilise traditional fire management practices in the early dry season to create cool, low intensity fires. These practices help prevent more serious wildfires later in the season.

Rangers are funded through the Australian Government's Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the Indigenous Protected Areas programme to implement traditional fire management regimes.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction started in 1989 following approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees the IDDR as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

Further information on International Day for Disaster Reduction can be found here: http://www.unisdr.org/we/campaign/iddr

Further information on the Australian Government's programs and policies aimed at strengthening disaster resilience can be found here: http://www.ag.gov.au/EmergencyManagement/Pages/default.aspx