Asean enhances cooperation on disaster management
Azaraimy HH

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and other Asean leaders adopted the Asean Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management yesterday.

The Asean leaders sought further political support for regional disaster management efforts under the Asean Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) which came into force in 2009.

In a declaration adopted at the 23rd Asean Summit chaired by His Majesty, the leaders also called for regular dialogues and a longer-term vision beyond 2015 to promote Asean centrality and leadership in disaster management.

The leaders said they “fully support” the launch of the second phase of the AADMER Work Programme from 2013 to 2015 at an upcoming Partnership Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, in November. The conference “will provide an enhanced planning framework and deepening stakeholder participation in mobilising and targeting resources for the implementation of the work programme”.

The leaders called on relevant Asean bodies to “undertake necessary steps to ensure effective and timely implementation of the AADMER Programme Phase 2”, the declaration stated.

At the same time, they encouraged Asean Dialogue Partners and relevant regional and international organisations to “help to develop a supportive environment that optimises the implementation”.

The leaders called for the promotion of “regular dialogues among relevant Asean ministerial bodies to accelerate well-coordinated and concerted efforts to realise the building of disaster resilient and safer communities to reduce disaster losses and jointly respond to disaster emergencies by using AADMER as the common platform and maintaining Asean’s Centrality.” They tasked relevant Asean ministerial bodies to work on the proposed formation of a Joint Task Force and allocate additional joint sessions to their respective ministerial meetings.

Leaders also tasked relevant bodies and related mechanisms to “chart a longer-term vision of Asean cooperation in disaster management beyond 2015 that promotes Asean’s leadership and shared vision in the area of disaster management in relevant multilateral fora”.

The adoption of the Asean Declaration on enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management at the summit yesterday came two days after the World Bank released its World Development Report for 2014 titled ‘Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development’.

“In the face of more frequent natural disasters along with social unrest and economic crises, the World Bank says preparation and recovery efforts by government, communities and individuals have become increasingly essential. Effective risk management can provide both resilience to withstand adverse events and the ability to take advantage of development opportunities, the reports said.

Selected risk indicators published in the report show that the incidence of natural hazards in Asean member states between 2003 to 2012 increased by almost half from the previous decade. The increased incidence of such events – droughts, earthquakes, floods and storms – particularly affected the Philippines and Indonesia as well as Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar.

The indicators published by the World Bank show that Asean accounted for 14 per cent of natural hazardous events worldwide over the last decade, up from the less than 12 per cent between 1993 and 2002. - Borneo Bulletin (10 October 2013)