Australian partnership honoured with certificate of distinction in global disaster reduction awards

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Corporate Responsibility News

18 March 2015

Australian partnership honoured with certificate of distinction in global disaster reduction awards

The winner of the 2015 Sasakawa Award was announced yesterday during the UNISDR World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, currently taking place in Japan (14-18 March). The Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities (the Roundtable), was one of three finalist projects for the award, which eventually went to Alan Lavell from Costa Rica. The Roundtable was given a certificate of distinction. It is therewith the first private sector organisation to do so in the 29 year history of the awards.

The Sasakawa Award is presented every other year to an individual or institution which has made a proactive effort to reduce disaster risk in their communities and advocate for disaster risk reduction. From a record number of 88 entries, the Roundtable reached the final shortlist of three.

The Roundtable was formed by the Chief Executive Officers of Australian Red Cross, Insurance Australia Group, Investa Property Group, Munich Re Australia, Optus and Westpac Group. The CEO's created the Roundtable as all believe having resilient communities that can adapt to extreme weather events is of national importance. This is the first time such a broad spectrum of organisations have come together to champion this issue, and follows an unprecedented number of floods, storms and bushfires that have devastated life and property across Australia in recent years.

One of the key findings of the project is a forecast of the cost of natural disasters in Australia - rising from AU$ 6.3bn a year currently to around AU$ 23bn a year in 2050 even without any consideration of the potential impact of climate change. The Roundtables white paper outlines how a national investment in cost-effective resilience and preventative activities can reduce the impact on government budgets for having to respond to disasters by more than 50%. Every year, the Australian government spends an estimated AU$ 560m on post-disaster relief and recovery compared to an estimated AU$ 50m on pre-disaster resilience.

Recognising that governments acting alone cannot address these challenges, Munich Re joined in forming the Roundtable with the aim of supporting the development of a more sustainable, coordinated national approach to making our communities more resilient and Australians safer. Combining expertise and knowledge in finance and insurance, telecommunications, property infrastructure and humanitarian expertise, and by working together with government, it is possible to save lives, reduce damage to property and vital national infrastructure, and free up taxpayers' money to spend on essential public services and communities.

Munich Re is proud to be part of this initiative.

The published work of the Roundtable can be found here.

Robert Tickner CEO,Australian Red Cross & Julie Batch, Chief Analytics Officer, Insurance Australia Group as representatives of Australian Business Roundtable receive the Certificate of Distinction at the UN Sasakawa Award.


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