Today I opened the World Humanitarian Summit Pacific Regional Consultation (Regional Consultation) in Auckland, with New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Murray McCully.

The Regional Consultation is an opportunity to highlight our humanitarian response in the Pacific, one of the most disaster prone regions in the world. Of the top 20 countries with the highest annual average disaster losses by GDP, eight are from the Pacific.

Today I announce $2 million dollars for a Humanitarian Innovation Challenge – designed to encourage individuals, the public and private sectors, academics and NGOs to identify creative solutions to the challenges faced by Pacific communities as a result of natural disasters.

The Australian aid program has a proven track record in delivering innovative humanitarian solutions in the Pacific, such as an SMS alert system powered by Digicel, which allowed the Vanuatu Government to warn remote communities of Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Australia looks forward to sharing our innovative ways of preparing and responding to natural disasters in the Pacific at the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul in May 2016.

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