Australia to hold Diversity in Disaster Conference

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Bushfires in Australia (Photo: Gary Hayes)
Bushfires in Australia (Photo: Gary Hayes)

Geneva, 28 September 2017 - International Day for Disaster Reduction on October 13 will see the launch of a major awareness raising initiative in Australia on the role that gender plays in disasters and how improved understanding can help reduce the numbers of people affected by disasters, the theme of this year’s International Day.

A National Conference “Diversity in Disaster” is planned for Melbourne, Australia, in April 2018, and will examine how disasters impact on Aboriginal groups, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, people with disability, children and young people, those with visual impairment, or suffering homelessness, LGBTI groups, migrant and refugees, and rural communities.

The Conference website will go live on International Day, October 13, with the address:

Designed to enhance resilience and raise awareness of the needs and strengths of marginalised groups, the ‘Diversity in Disaster’ 2018 Conference in Melbourne, Australia on April 17-18 will engage emergency management practitioners with the latest research on disaster resilience.

Hosted by the Gender and Disaster Pod (GAD Pod), in partnership with the Victorian Council of Social Services, and Resilient Melbourne, conference participants will hear from more than 20 researchers and policy makers from across Australia and New Zealand.

Keynote speaker Professor Maureen Fordham from the University College of London and Northumbria University will speak to the importance of building gender awareness to strengthen community resilience.

Other notable topics covered include training related to increased family violence after disaster, the emotional and personal costs for men in emergencies, disaster and LGBTI communities, and the role of privileged groups in perpetuating environmentally destructive norms and practices.

As bushfire is an enormous challenge for emergency management in Australia, the conference will focus on Indigenous weather forecasting, traditional cool burning methods, and engagement with Aboriginal elders by the emergency management sector.

This broad-reaching conference will connect those working at the forefront of disaster relief and resilience-building activities with expert researchers in order to improve planning and produce better outcomes after disaster. It will include an immersive arts event. An important focus is the inclusion of people with lived experience, both in the organising groups and as presenters.

The Conference was an initiative of The GAD Pod (Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Women’s Health in the North and Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative), Victorian Council of Social Services and Resilient Melbourne. It is funded by the Attorney-General’s Department through Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme.

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