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Joy of Many Colours | Australian Business Roundtable | What is the cost of doing nothing?

26 September 2019

What is the cost of doing nothing?

Hi everyone,

Last week, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies published The Cost of Doing Nothing, a report which shares the potential consequences should the global community fail to step up to address the rising risks in a changing climate. 

The report estimates that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of storms, droughts and floods could climb beyond 200 million annually – compared to an estimated 108 million today.

It is a sobering fact that if we do nothing now, the detrimental impact on human beings will be much higher than we are ready for. In the most pessimistic scenario, the cost of doing nothing could rise to US$20 billion per year by 2030.

There are steps that we can take now: if we take determined and ambitious action that prioritises inclusive, climate-smart development, the annual cost of international humanitarian aid for people in need could be as low as US$68 million (AU$100 million) by 2030, and even drop to US$10 million (AU$14 million) by 2050 – a decrease of 90 per cent compared with today. 

Interestingly at the same time in the UK, the Government announced it will be co-creating partnerships to protect one billion people in the developing world from extreme weather. The Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership will help ensure the world’s poorest people receive earlier warnings of potential disasters such as typhoon and hurricanes – and are better prepared to deal with their effects.

Much like the work we do as part of Red Cross, Red Crescent Climate Centre, our role is to understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change on humanity and how to prepare for it.

We focus on the impacts of a changing climate on the health and wellbeing of Australians, especially the most vulnerable in our society, and ensuring they prepare for and recover from more frequent and intense disasters.

We know the impacts of climate change will not be equally spread. The cross-sector approach in the UK can improve the availability and quality of weather forecasting information available and reach out to those who are most vulnerable.

It’s one step forward and a great collaborative effort to one of the world’s most pressing problems. At Red Cross, we will continue to work closely with the Movement, and continue to work with our youths, the next generations who will live through the consequences of actions made before them.

Australian Business Roundtable

We have been a member of this Australian Business Roundtable on Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities since its inception. It is an impressive group of businesses and organisations who all work together to achieve our collective ambition for more resilient Australian communities. We meet several times per year and are supported by an excellent secretariat. You can see from the link above the work we have done so far together.

At our meeting last week, we spent time reviewing how we could use a range of big data initiatives to help communities, businesses, homes, local governments and others assess their own risks and work towards mitigating them. This is related to the goals of the National Resilience Taskforce which acknowledges “Decision-makers at all levels need access to sound, trusted and authoritative disaster risk information and to expertise to help them navigate through increasingly uncertain, ambiguous and dynamic environments.” The National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework also identified “understand disaster risk” as its first priority.

So, the Secretariat has been exploring what might be possible and what role the Roundtable could play. They have assessed the Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index (Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC), New Zealand Resilience Index (Resilient Organisations), and many others. As part of the meeting we also heard from two emerging organisations, Neighbourlytics and Climate Risk XDI. 

Lucinda Harley who is the co-founder and chief innovation officer at Neighbourlytics shared with us their really interesting model that uses a variety of data to analyse and measure the social resilience of a city or place, based on a number of indicators of ‘social prosperity.’ This has the potential to be used alongside risk and hazard data in determining the level of resilience to disasters at a community level and also in identifying key groups who could take the lead in community recovery post disaster (by way of context, the Roundtable is looking to develop a tool or project on levels of resilience, potentially providing community level guidance on how to increase levels of resilience to disaster). 

The other presentation was from Dr. Karl Mallon, CEO and CTO of Climate Risk XDI whose mission is – “We believe that enabling people to quantify the financial costs of climate change empowers them to value climate protection and resilience building. We strive to build the most powerful and accurate risk engines possible using the best data and technology available.”

These are some really interesting initiatives for us to be involved with.  At that same meeting we also discussed what new research initiatives we want to pursue over the coming year.

Joy of Many Colours

Last week, we had a very special project in Darwin supported by the Migration Support Programs staff, volunteers and Charles Darwin University (CDU) placement students.

Joy of Many Colours is a fashion show that showcases talents and skills of women from migrant and refugee communities, and people seeking asylum in Darwin.

There were 225 attendees at the CDU Theatre. The models featured an array of outfits from cultural attire, casual wear, business wear and party wear. What’s interesting is that half of the 110 dresses featured were made, upcycled or recycled during workshops where women participated. There were also nine cultural performances from seven cultural groups. More than 80 volunteers were mobilised and 80% of the volunteers are migrants.

In the lead-up to this event, a series of meetings and workshops were delivered involving more than 150 women from diverse backgrounds, each a champion of resilience who is seeking to build a purposeful life for herself and her family in the Northern Territory. The process has been empowering for many, with women being inspired to consider starting their own business enterprises and increase in self-determination.

Thanks to all Red Cross people from all programs who supported the cause as well as Red Cross Shops who contributed by donating clothes and running a stall at the event.

What a brilliant, purposeful and colourful event. Well done team.

Blog takeover

I'm inviting you to submit your stories for my blog takeover next week. Let us know your most impactful Red Cross moments - it can be a story about a chat you had with a Red Cross client, a book you read that reminded you of the work we do, or your preparations for the hotter months that are coming. Send your stories to our Internal Communications team by Tuesday 1 October at 12pm

That’s all for this week. Chat to you soon.