WHO CC involvement: Prof John Daly, Prof Jim Buchan, Michele Rumsey, Stephanie Fletcher, Jodi Thiessen, Monica Sanderson and UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures
WHO CC UTS and the Institute of Sustainable Futures at UTS, funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, partnered to inform policy makers about how climate change is likely to impact on Australia’s capacity to respond to disasters in the Pacific, and how the emergency and humanitarian responses of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) will also be affected by a changing climate.
A regional reference group including representatives from Humanitarian Partnership Agreement (Caritas, Oxfam, CARE, PLAN International, Save the Children, and World Vision), APEDNN, WHO WPRO, and CSIRO, was formed to support the project.
More than 90 interviews were conducted with representatives from organisations who respond to disasters in Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu. Interviews were analysed and major determinants for adaptive capacity following a disaster were isolated and discussed. Several reports were written: Review of Australia’s Overseas Disaster and Emergency Response Sector; Projected Climate Change Impacts on the Pacific; Draft Background Review: Disaster Response Systems of Four Pacific Island Countries and a Final Report which included individual country reports and will be available on the WHO CC UTS website.
The primary objectives of the research are:
- To provide recommendations to policy makers and practitioners in the Australian and Pacific disaster and emergency response sectors on current adaptive capacity of PICs to climate related disasters (e.g. tropical cyclones), and what resources are likely to be needed in the coming years to enhance this capacity; focusing on some of the immediate humanitarian needs post-disaster, including health care; food and nutrition; water and sanitation and psychosocial needs.
- To understand the Australian emergency services and related organisations’ capacity and obligations to assist PICs in times of disaster and whether there is adequate capacity to service future needs due to a changing climate, allowing for better planning and thus more effective response in times of disaster.
- A deeper understanding of the future implications of climate change to the Pacific and what impact this has on Australia will be gained.