Abu Dhabi Interview

Governing through crisis

Kestrel consultant John Hamilton presented at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crisis and Emergency Management Conference (CEMC) held in Abu Dhabi in March 2019.

The invitation came on the back of John’s participation in an initiative developed by the New Zealand Embassy in the UAE and managed by Victoria University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. The initiative, Professional and Executive Development, has provided a series of discussion groups in the UAE covering New Zealand’s approach to crisis management, coordination of response and recoveries, and crisis leadership.

The theme for the 2019 Crisis and Emergency Management Conference was “Future Foresight of Emergencies and Crises – Capabilities and Challenges”.

John’s presentation was part of the conference’s ‘Governance in Emergencies and Crisis Systems’ segment and explained how New Zealand coordinates and controls the response to a crisis using the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC) system.

John drew on his time as a former Director of the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management and the experience he gained from holding the role of National Controller during the response to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. He used this to illustrate the mechanisms used in New Zealand and to highlight the critical importance of coordination and control to promote an effective response to complex emergencies.

CEMC 2019 gave John the opportunity to explain how New Zealand manages its civil defence emergencies and crises.

“Importantly it also enabled me to compare our experiences with others, to share knowledge, and allow me to highlight lessons which might be useful,” he said.

Dr Jamal Mohammed Al Hosani, Director General of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, said John’s participation was valued and his efforts were, “instrumental in the success of the conference by shaping a fresh outlook for the future of managing crises, disasters and emergencies.”