PH, Australia express intention to pursue bilateral talks on disaster response

Published September 22, 2022, 6:14 PM

by Betheena Unite

While meeting at a regional disaster risk reduction conference in Brisbane, the Philippines and Australia expressed intentions to pursue bilateral discussions on emergency preparedness and response.

Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga (second from left) holds a bilateral meeting with Australia’s Minister for Emergency Management Senator the Hon Murray Watt (second from right) on 19 September in Brisbane. (Photo courtesy of Canberra PE/DFA)

Both countries’ intention to work together in this area was brought up during the meeting of Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga and Senator Murray Watt, Australian minister for Emergency Management, at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR) on Sept. 19.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DF), the two officials also discussed developments in national efforts to address climate change and develop national resilience.

They also exchanged best practices in the delivery of disaster preparedness and response services.

During their conversation, both leaders reaffirmed the long-standing relations of the two countries and committed to support efforts to advance their partnership to a strategic level.

Watt thanked the Philippines for its leadership on disaster risk reduction and expressed Australia’s desire to pursue bilateral discussions on emergency preparedness and response.

The Minister shared the recent establishment of the National Emergency Management Agency in Australia combining the National Recovery and Resilience Agency and Emergency Management Australia.

Loyzaga expressed the Philippines’ keen interest in this development as it looks forward to further engagement with Australia.

Watt was the head of the Australian delegation to the APMCDRR. He also serves as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Australia.

Loyzaga was joined in the meeting by Undersecretary Raymundo Ferrer of the Department of National Defense – Office for Civil Defense while Watt was joined by Senator Tony Sheldon, Australia’s Special Envoy for Disaster Recovery.

The Government of Australia and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) co-hosted the APMCDRR 2022 from Sept. 19 to 22 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It is the largest Asia-Pacific biennial gathering focused on disaster risk reduction, resilience, and the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.