Senior emergency and disaster management experts from China, Australia and the broader Asia Pacific region will meet on the Gold Coast later this month.

The summit, coordinated by Griffith University in partnership with Peking University and the Queensland Government, will take place at the Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast, on Thursday November 17.

While there have been many expert conferences and workshops held in Australia recently on emergency and disaster management, the November 17 event will be the first involving direct dialogue between Chinese and Australian experts in the field.

Members of China’s State Council will join their senior Australian counterparts from Emergency Management Australia and the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to exchange views on the scale of the disaster management challenge in Asia and avenues for further cooperation.

The talks are part of a series of Second Track Dialogues intended to strengthen regional ties with a view to “Charting a Common Future: China, Australia and the Region Beyond 2020”.

This year’s theme, Non-traditional Challenges to Asia’s Security: Forging Resilience in the 21st Century will address the issues of natural disaster management and recovery.

Vice Chancellor of Griffith University, Professor Ian O’Connor said the focus of this dialogue could not be more timely.

“Our region has witnessed a striking surge in natural disasters in recent years, with China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand having to absorb large scale humanitarian and economic impacts of events beyond their control”, said Professor O’Connor.

“The dialogue brings together high level experts from government, academia, and business with the purpose of formulating new approaches to addressing non-traditional security challenges that arise from natural disasters,” he said.

Dialogue Chair, Griffith Asia Institute Director Professor Andrew O’Neil pictured), agrees there has never been a more pressing need to promote greater understanding among regional experts on disaster management.

“In 2011 alone, countries in the region have had to confront major disasters, most notably the horrific tsunami in Japan”, said Professor O’Neil.

“For a country like China, the sheer scale of protecting more than 1.3 billion people from harm is a mighty challenge for policy makers; one that Australia and other regional countries have much to learn from”, he said.

The Second Track Dialogue will be divided into three sessions:

– how natural disasters differ from more conventional challenges

– practical responses to natural disasters

– how regional cooperation in Asia can improve disaster management and recovery.

Conclusions drawn from these sessions will result in a policy recommendations paper.

“The overall aim is that the dialogues will foster ideas on future-oriented policy issues that support Queensland’s and Australia’s economic and social development in the region,” said Professor O’Neil.

“The Dialogue initiative reflects Griffith’s recognition of the importance of Asia to Australia’s future and of Griffith’s long tradition in Asian studies,” he said.

Further information on the Australia-China Futures Dialogues can be found at