ASEAN to deepen and broaden cooperation in disaster management and emergency response

Leaders from ASEAN National Disaster Management Organisations gathered in Vientiane, Lao PDR from 4-6 April 2017 for the 30th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), which was convened in conjunction with the 5th Governing Board Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre); 7th Joint Task Force Meeting to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (JTF on HADR), and 4th ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Partnership Conference.

The 30th ACDM Meeting was opened by H.E Dr. Khampheng Xaysompheng, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare of Lao PDR. In his Opening Remarks, the Minister mentioned that “Disaster management is a critical and cross-sectoral coordination issue. It is therefore important for all ASEAN Member States to discuss on the efficient implementation of the AADMER Work Programme 2016-2020 and the ASEAN Declaration on ONE ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Response to disaster as one in the region and outside the region.”.

With a view to create a more resilient ASEAN, the development of social protection guidelines was also discussed at the 30th ACDM Meeting. The guidelines aims to build disaster resilience and develop instruments that are effective to reduce disaster risks, respond to disasters and recover from the impact of disasters.

In addition, representatives from the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development (SOMHD), Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) and ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting (ADMM) also participated at the 7th JTF on HADR to explore and to promote closer working partnership between the various ASEAN sectoral bodies. ASEAN’s unified response among sectoral bodies will be salient to further enhance and strengthen ASEAN’s collective response towards disasters. The JTF affirmed the importance that the work of ACDM should be integrated with other sectoral bodies initiatives under disaster management and emergency response.

Similarly, to realise a disaster resilient ASEAN community, the 4th AADMER Partnership Conference brought together various stakeholders and partners, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, IFRC, ICRC, JICA, the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), GIZ/Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM), Save the children, and the Swiss Re, all of whom affirmed their commitments and contributions towards the implementation of AADMER Work Programme.