Viet Nam, current chair of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) hosted a partnership conference to accelerate and support the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). The conference was officially opened by Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Alicia dela Rosa Bala, Australian Ambassador to ASEAN Simon Merrifield, and Mr. Nguyen Xuan Dieu, Deputy Director-General, Directorate of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam.
The conference is a medium for ASEAN’s expression as a community and for partners to learn about mutual partnership on disaster management with ASEAN. A total of 21 flagship projects that will be implemented in were announced at the conference. The 21 flagship projects are developed by taking into consideration positive progress that needs to be maintained in order to ensure maximum achievement by the end of 2015.
Among the topics discussed in the conference is ASEAN’s ongoing response following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. ASEAN has encouraged the Member States and partners to continue with their support to the country and restore hope and progress in affected communities.
Apart from disaster management senior officials from the ASEAN countries, 35 countries and partner organisations participated in the Conference. Among them were Australia, Canada, European Union, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States[DS1] [DS2] [DS3] . Other participants included the civil society representatives from Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, Pacific Disaster Center and UN agencies.
Finalised in 2005, then ratified by ASEAN Member States in 2009, AADMER is a regional policy backbone for disaster management in the region. It serves as a regional framework for cooperation, coordination, technical assistance and resource mobilisation. In order to put AADMER into action, the ACDM came up with a 5-year work programme then known as the AADMER Work Programme (2010-2015). The Work Programme is designed to build capacities of ASEAN Member States in various aspects of disaster management - from risk assessment, early warning, monitoring, and disaster risk reduction to disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
The AADMER Work Programme is implemented in two phases. Throughout Phase 1 (implemented in 2010-2012), the Work Programme has achieved various accomplishments. Among the most notable is the establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), which has served as the operational coordinating engine focusing on disaster monitoring and emergency response.
Entering the second phase of implementation, the ACDM, which comprises national disaster management organisations from the ASEAN countries, has come up with an accomplishment report from the first phase as well as priorities for the second phase under the AADMER Work Programme. The partnership conference gathers ASEAN’s partners who have been supporting ASEAN in the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme as well as potential partners that share common interest in building disaster-resilient nations and safer communities in the ASEAN region.