What is the Problem?
In 2010, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) adopted resilience as one of the key guiding principles for making the nation safer. The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (Australian Government 2011) outlines how Australia should aim to improve social and community resilience with the view that resilient communities are in a much better position to withstand adversity and to recover more quickly from extreme events. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 also uses resilience as a key concept and calls for a people centred, multi-hazard, multi-sectoral approach to disaster risk reduction. As such each tier of government, emergency services and related NGOs have a distinct need to be able assess and monitor the ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters as well as a clear baseline condition from which to measure progress.
Why is it Important?
Society has always been susceptible to extreme events. While the occurrence of these events generally cannot be prevented; the risks can often be minimised and the impacts on affected populations and property reduced. For people and communities, the capacity to cope with, adapt to, learn from, and where needed transform behaviour and social structures in response to an event and its aftermath all reduce the impact of the disaster and can broadly be considered resilience. Improving resilience and thereby reducing the effects of natural hazards has increasingly become a key goal of governments, organisations and communities within Australia and internationally.
How are we going to solve it?
The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index project will produce a spatial representation of the current state of disaster resilience across Australia. The index will be composed of multiple levels of information that can be reported separately and represented as colour-coded maps where each point will have a corresponding set of information about natural hazard resilience. Spatially explicit capture of data will facilitate seamless integration of the project outcomes with other types of information. The index and indicators will also be drawn together as a State of Disaster Resilience Report which will interpret resilience at multiple levels and highlight hotspots of high and low elements of natural hazard resilience.