Representatives from various international aid agencies, Non-Government Organisations, a number of Australian Government agencies including AusAID and Emergency Management Australia, and members of the Australian Defence Force have come together this week to learn about building better models for cooperation in international disaster and emergency management.
The Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence is conducting the Civil-Military Coordination Course of behalf of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the Australian Federal Police College in Canberra. The course is designed to bring together various players in both the civilian and military spheres to improve communication and cooperation in disaster relief and peace keeping operations.
The Centre’s Executive Director, Major General (Rtd) Michael G Smith AO, said, “Events happening in the world right now, such as the tragic events in flood ravaged Pakistan, demonstrate the importance of better coordination in disaster management”.
“The Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence was established in late 2008 out of an identified need to improve coordination in disaster and conflict management.”
General Smith said, “The United Nations program is in its 14th year, and Canberra was the 100th course to be run around the world and the second held in Australia”.
“Since 2004, a total of eight courses have been conducted in our region, benefiting 227 graduates, 67 of whom are women. Women constitute a vital component in building trust in emergency response and in culturally sensitive situations.”
He added that a great majority of course graduates have gone on to work either directly or in support of emergency responses to international and domestic disasters. For example, the Haiti earthquake response involved some 55 course graduates.
“I look forward to working with the course graduates and commend their commitment to working together and creating the building blocks of stable and prosperous societies,” General Smith said.
Media contact: Simon Tidy (APCMCOE): 02 6160 2219 or 0432 186 465
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