The Australian Government’s Guiding Principles for Civil-Military-Police Interaction in International Disaster and Conflict Management (the Guiding Principles) has been developed by the Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC) in collaboration with the departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), Defence (ADF), Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Attorney-General’s (AGD), the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID). The Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Treasury have also reviewed and contributed to the Guiding Principles.
Australia’s experience in responding to disasters and conflicts overseas has developed significantly over the past 15 years. Complex disasters and conflicts in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and the Solomon Islands have reinforced the value of a whole-of government approach to solving multifaceted crises. More recently, the Australian Government’s responses to the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 have highlighted Australia’s strengths in multiagency and multinational settings.
As a result of this experience, Australian government agencies have made significant efforts to develop and maintain a collaborative culture and enhance coordination among stakeholders, including with affected states/communities, the aid community, the private sector, international partners, and state and territory governments. Given the changing nature of conflict, globalisation, climate change and the advent of new and emerging technologies, continued collaboration across a growing number of actors will be paramount if we are to prevent conflict and reduce the effects of disasters overseas.
A successful whole-of-government approach is best achieved through a collaborative culture, which recognises the unique capabilities of individual agencies despite different practices and approaches to develop, plan and implement coordinated response efforts.
This document seeks to complement the significant work done to date by reaffirming the principles that guide the Australian Government and its stakeholders in international multiagency response efforts. It also seeks to institutionalise the best of the learning that has come from the Australian experience.
The Guiding Principles is intended for policy makers and a range of stakeholders engaged in disaster and conflict response. They are designed to strengthen Australia’s whole-of-government commitment to achieving shared objectives and delivering effective and sustainable outcomes.
Collaborative whole-of-government efforts will be realised by reinforcing the Guiding Principles through multiagency exercises, training and education, practical research and lessons programs. The Guiding Principles is designed to be enduring in nature; however, this document will need periodic review to reflect maturing whole-of-government approaches, and as lessons from operations and exercises identify areas for improvement.