An Australian Perspective on Multiagency Crisis Management Best Practice

22 Jun 2015

ACMC staff member, Lyndon McCauley has had a chapter published in the Finnish Centre of Expertise in Comprehensive Crisis Management book Good Practices of a Comprehensive Approach to Crisis Management. The work, edited by Jari Mustonen, focuses on strategies to improve the coherence and effectiveness of international efforts to respond to crises and conflicts. In recent years the Finnish Centre of Expertise has emerged as a leading international advocate for the application of the ‘comprehensive approach’ in multiagency operations.

The core task of the Centre of Expertise is ‘to promote understanding of coordination and comprehensiveness of crisis management in the context of building national crisis management capacity’. This publication examined best practices from around the world. Mr McCauley was commissioned to write a chapter examining the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

RAMSI was, in 2003, a largely untried whole-of-government approach which demonstrated the strengths and opportunities of a coordinated multiagency response in a regional partnership. RAMSI proved a testing ground for inter-agency cooperation which led to a more effective response.

Mr McCauley’s chapter provides an interesting contrast to the other chapters in the book which have, not surprisingly, a more European and NATO focus.

RAMSI is unique in several ways. As an initiative of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), RAMSI is the only multinational, nation-building operation not to involve the United States, Europe or the United Nations. Australia led a collective, which comprised the Solomons, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Niue, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. A civilian Special Coordinator from Australia’s foreign ministry was appointed to lead the mission, unlike earlier operations in East Timor which were military-led.

The chapter, and book, demonstrate the value of developing greater understanding of what is meant by the comprehensive approach. It confirms that Australian operational experience is extremely relevant. Future operational success will require that planners and leaders are aware of best practice and operational considerations and are ready to apply those lessons to solve problems.

The contribution of an Australian perspective to a Finnish publication demonstrates that civil-military-police coordination has an international face. The ACMC is delighted to work with international partners to promote effective and efficient multiagency operations.

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