Conclusion

As stakeholders are increasingly learning, and as best practice is increasingly demonstrating, disaster preparedness and response is not only about emergency and humanitarian interventions. Instead, actions taken in support of disaster risk reduction, and more broadly disaster management, are cross cutting and ultimately centre on aid effectiveness that spans a continuum of immediate life-saving intervention to longer term sustained development outcomes and effective policies.

The study has presented the argument that the HRG is well placed to help lead discussion on how the ANGO sector can work more effectively, more collaboratively, and more in partnership with one another and other key stakeholders in maximising development outcomes. Yet, the findings go beyond the HRG to reflections on the larger ANGO community—its challenges, limitations, and opportunities—as a driver for change, further professionalisation of the sector and for greater development impact. Even with the limitations imposed by, for example, geography or status within a larger confederation and/or alliance structure, ANGOs are also uniquely positioned to help drive best practice and aid effectiveness. Although relatively small players individually in the international arena of aid and development actors, ANGOs still bring together a broad array of experiences, expertise and complementarities that can be harnessed and made mutually reinforcing and productive. Through leadership provided by ACFID as a peak council and through committees such as the HRG, the ANGOs have, at the least, less physical constraints to coming together to identify how the sector can continue to evolve and demonstrate its relevancy and added value. At a time when so many other players are now engaged in aid and development, being self-reflective and asking fundamental questions regarding who we are as a sector, what added value we bring to the table, how we work more collaboratively as a sector, and how we work more as a ‘whole-of-community’ would seem essential.

Not only should there be reflection within the sector on core identity and added value, but this needs to extend out to all stakeholders—including whole-of-government—in Australia engaged in disaster preparedness, planning and response. We should all be asking the core question: ‘What does excellence look like and how can we achieve it?’.