And can I thank you and the Government of Mongolia for organising a wonderful conference for us here.
Can I also acknowledge the great efforts of the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction Dr Mizutori, thank you so much for all your personal commitment and can I also take the opportunity to acknowledge and thank your predecessor Dr Robert Glasser who’s also an Australian and for his efforts he put in, in the lead up also to this.
I think the days that we’ve spent here have highlighted the importance of investing in disaster risk reduction and of course this is particularly important in our Indo-Pacific region which is the most disaster prone area in the world.
Last year six of the world’s ten countries most affected by natural disasters were in our region and thank you Deputy Prime Minister for reminding us that we know that for every dollar that is invested in disaster risk reduction, that saves fifteen dollars in economic loss after the disaster and of course, investing in disaster risk reduction makes good economic sense and that’s why it’s not only a goal of governments, of civil society but also of businesses to understand that investment in disaster risk reduction makes good economic sense.
Let me just give you an example, ahead of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal we retrofitted Australia’s assistance, retrofitted 169 schools to improve earthquake resilience. Now, all of those schools withstood the earthquake and provided much needed shelter and community spaces in the aftermath of that earthquake. Now that is just one example, but it’s a very poignant example of what we can do and know that it is going to achieve success.
So, we are delighted to be hosting the next conference, the 2020 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and to have an opportunity to share our experiences in not only just Australia but also in, most especially, our Pacific Region. Of course, Australia has droughts, we’ve had floods, we have bushfires, we have droughts so we are very aware of, not only of the impact of disasters but most especially the importance of disaster preparedness.
We would like to share not only what we do in Australia, but also highlight the particular challenges that are faced in the Pacific region especially given the number of small islands developing states and their particular vulnerabilities especially in time, now that we face issues pertinent to climate change.
We are particularly committed to ensuring that women and girls, often the ones who suffer the most in circumstances, and people with disabilities have an important voice in the preparation of plans for disaster and disaster preparedness. And we know that people with disabilities often are the ones who are left behind and as we are all committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, let’s not forget what the Sustainable Development Goals tell us and that is to leave no one behind.
Can I conclude by saying that if we are well prepared and our plans are well targeted then we will save lives, not only will we save lives but we will minimise economic loss after disasters. Again, thank you Deputy Prime Minister for your wonderful hosting and we look forward to following in your very successful footsteps.