Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia

Asian Partners for Co-operation Meeting

OSCE Asian Partners for Cooperation Meeting, hosted by Thailand

Friday 29 April 2022

Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Richard Sadleir, Australian Permanent Mission


Thank you, Chair.

I would like to express my appreciation to you [Ambassador Funered] and Ambassador Sriswasdi for convening meeting and thematic discussion.

I would also like to thank our Moderator and panellists for their contributions.


As we meet today to discuss the important topic of “Mainstreaming Gender Perspectives and Empowering Women in Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response”, we cannot ignore Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine. The ongoing war in Ukraine is undoubtedly a ‘crisis’ and ‘disaster’ which requires effective and considered ‘emergency responses’ from the international community.


Once again in an OSCE forum, Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine. The invasion is a gross violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.

Our topic today on gender perspectives in disaster risk reduction and response could not be more timely.

It is important to highlight the consequences and appalling atrocities flowing from Russia’s invasion and actions in Ukraine and the devastating impact this is having on women and girls, the elderly, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups in Ukraine, all who have suffered and continue to suffer terribly.

The Australian Government stands in solidarity with Ukraine, and with our allies and partners, in holding Russia accountable for its actions.

We call on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory, consistent with the legally binding decision of the International Court of Justice.


We know that whether perpetrated by humans, as in the case of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or when a result of natural events, the impact of disasters is not gender neutral.

Integrating gender equality is essential to effective and dignified humanitarian action.

We know that marginalised groups are disproportionately affected by disasters. Yet such groups are frequently excluded from decision-making on disaster risk management.

We must ensure that women and girls, people with disabilities, young people, the elderly, indigenous peoples and other marginalised groups are included in leadership and decision making on risk-informed development, in humanitarian preparedness and response, in conflict prevention and in peacebuilding.

All voices must be heard in order to effectively plan for the needs of marginalised groups. When we have appropriate consultation and inclusion, we can transform disaster resilience across all levels.

Chair, studies have found that women and children are 14 times more likely than men to die during a natural disaster. For example, a 2019 study found that 96% of deaths in the Solomon Islands flash floods in 2014 were women and children, and 55% of deaths in the 2015 earthquake in Nepal were women.

Women also died at significantly higher rates than men in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. These higher death rates for women are directly linked to their level of economic and social rights as compared to men.

Sadly, the Indo-Pacific region is the most natural disaster-prone region in the world.

Australia looks forward to hosting the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in September this year. This forum will provide an important opportunity to review risk reduction efforts, share innovative and practical solutions, and make commitments on disaster risk financing, shock proofing infrastructure and systems, and creating resilient communities.

Australia is proud to support the Women’s Resilience to Disasters Program in the Pacific, a $13.5 million partnership with UN Women aimed at empowering women in Fiji, Kiribati and Vanuatu to lead Pacific solutions to disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery.

We also support the Women’s International Network on Disaster Risk Reduction, a professional network of over 400 members supporting and promoting the decision-making and leadership capabilities of women in disaster risk reduction across Asia and the Pacific.


Discussions today have highlighted the crucial importance of investing in women’s leadership to ensure we can achieve effective and sustainable solutions to our shared challenges. We look forward to continuing to work with Thailand, our ASEAN and Indo-Pacific friends, and our partners in the OSCE to progress the important issues discussed here today.

Supporting and ensuring women participate in all aspects of decision-making and policy-making will lead to better outcomes for all.

Thank you, Chair.