Vol 67 – AHA CENTRE DELIVERS DESPITE PANDEMIC CHALLENGES: THE 13TH MEETING OF THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE AHA CENTRE
AHA CENTRE DELIVERS DESPITE PANDEMIC CHALLENGES:
THE 13TH MEETING OF THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE AHA CENTRE
The 13th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre took place on 26 November 2020, utilising Zoom video conferencing platform as is the norm during the 2020 pandemic. The Meeting was held back-to-back with a range of other key engagements, including: the 37th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM); the 14th Meeting of the Joint Task Force (JTF) to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR); the 8th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM), and; the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to AADMER (COP to AADMER), which were all held between 25 – 27 November 2020.
The Governing Board Meeting was attended by National Focal Points of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as representatives from the AHA Centre as the Secretariat to the Governing Board, and the ASEAN Secretariat as ex-officio member.
Prior to the Meeting, the 37th ACDM Meeting endorsed the AADMER Work Programme (AWP) 2021-2025. The AWP is the primary document that will guide the activity of the ACDM – as well as the AHA Centre – for the next 5 years, focusing on five priority programmes of risk assessment and monitoring, prevention and mitigation, preparedness and response, resilient recovery, and global leadership.
As part of the Governing Board’s agenda, the AHA Centre also presented the proposed AHA Centre Strategic Direction for 2021-2025, resulted from a comprehensive rethinking and consultation process involving ASEAN Member States and partners, to assess the organisation’s scope and mandate and how the AHA Centre can further enhance its capacity. The AHA Centre will use the Strategic Direction paper and the AWP 2021-2025 as main reference documents for the Centre’s own five-year work plan.
During the Meeting, the AHA Centre also reported to the Governing Board regarding its activities during 2020. The Board noted a number of AHA Centre achievements despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, including the provision of humanitarian assistance to the communities affected by the widespread flooding and landslides in Viet Nam, caused by the combination of Tropical Storms LINFA and NANGKA. The Governing Board also highlighted the recent response to support communities impacted by the effects of Super Typhoon GONI (ROLLY) and Typhoon VAMCO (ULYSSES) in the Philippines. Alongside these, the AHA Centre was also commended for its efforts to deploy resources from the DELSA regional stockpile in Subang, Malaysia as well as DELSA satellite warehouses in Chainat, Thailand and Manila, the Philippines, to support the regional efforts combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AHA Centre is grateful for the continuous support provided by the Governing Board of the AHA Centre during the challenging year of 2020, and hopes that the upcoming 2021 will bring better opportunity for the region.
Written by : Dipo Summa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
AHA CENTRE PARTNERSHIP FORUM
REFLECTING ON UNITY AND TRANSFORMATION
As part of its 9th Anniversary, the AHA Centre recently implemented its own Partnership Forum, that was aptly named Transforming through Uncertainty. The forum was organised to reflect on the strong support provided to the AHA Centre’s journey by ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat and its other humanitarian partners. The forum was also an opportunity for the AHA Centre to continue re-defining itself, in efforts to adapt and transform to remain agile and engaged, particularly with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and other challenges.
The forum was attended by 109 participants from nearly 40 partner organisations. The Executive Director of AHA Centre, Ms Adelina Kamal; the Chair of the Governing Board to the AHA Centre, Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad of the Philippines; and the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E Dato Lim Jock Hoi, all offered their welcome remarks to open the forum.
The event was divided into two dialogue sessions, each with a specific theme, namely Celebrating Partnership, and Renewed and Future Partnerships. Session 1 speakers included five representatives from foreign government offices and international organisations, namely: the Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN, H.E Will Nankervis; Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam, Mission to ASEAN, Mr Hans Farnhammer; Deputy Head of Mission of Japan to ASEAN, Mr Yoshi Kodama; First Secretary of the Mission of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN, Mr Lee Soohong; Ambassador of Switzerland to Indonesia, Timor Leste, and ASEAN, H.E Kurt Kunz, and; Deputy Director of Emergency Response of Direct Relief, Mr Gordon Wilcock, PhD.
These representatives – through their government and organisations – support current and ongoing AHA Centre projects including:
Strengthening the AHA Centre’s Capability to Respond Effectively to Human Induced Crises (Australia)
Integrated Programme for Enhancing the Capacity of AHA Centre and ASEAN Emergency Response Mechanism (European Union)
Disaster Emergency Logistic System for ASEAN (DELSA) Phase II (Japan)
ASEAN Standards and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND) (Republic of Korea)
Cooperation on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (Switzerland)
Enhancing DELSA Satellite Warehouses (Switzerland and Direct Relief)
ASEAN Village in Central Sulawesi (Australia and Direct Relief, complementing Brunei Darussalam and Philippines’ support)
Session 2 provided an opportunity for the new and existing partners to share their insights on the existing gaps for humanitarian issues in the region, and insights on their expectations for partnerships and future engagement with the AHA Centre. Five panelists were invited to shared their opinions, including: First Secretary in Development Section of the Mission of Canada to ASEAN, Mr Abdullah Mojaddedi; Deputy Head of Mission of France to ASEAN, Ms Myriam Saint-Pierre; Chief Executive Officer of RedR Australia, Ms Kirsten Sayers; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Italy to Indonesia and ASEAN, H.E Benedetto Latteri, and; Executive Director of the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), Mr Ray Shirkhodai.
The Forum was closed with a presentation and introduction of the new AHA Centre project proposals that include:
1. Future Disaster Emergency Logistics System and Digital Transformation for ASEAN (DELSA-Transformed);
2. Enhancing ASEAN Member States’ Government Local Capacity through Local Capacity Building Programme (Go-Local);
3. Future Strengthening of Capacities of ASEAN Disaster Management Professionals in Emergency Response and in Building Resilience (FutureScape), and;
4. Learning Management System in Disaster Management (ASEAN-Learn).
Written by : Yuniarti Wahyuningtyas | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
ARMOR 2ND EDITION PUBLIC LAUNCH AND WEBINAR SERIES:
IT’S TIME TO ACT NOW!
Following the inaugural publication of the ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR) in 2019, the AHA Centre has successfully released the second edition with support from the European Union. The ARMOR 2nd Edition – “Time is Running Out: Why ASEAN Must Act Now against Climate Emergencies?” – aims to offer scientific perspectives regarding climate change influence towards the risk and threat of disasters, particularly within the ASEAN region.
The public launch event was conducted on 19 November 2020 via Zoom Webinar platform, as part of the commemoration of the AHA Centre’s 9th anniversary. The event also kicked-off the launch of the ARMOR Webinar Series that aims to ensure widespread dissemination of key findings from the ARMOR 2nd Edition articles. The virtual public launch was officiated by H.E. Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the EU Mission to ASEAN and Ms. Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre.
Overall, the ARMOR 2nd Edition consists of nine articles by an array of authors from the AHA Centre and external partners, such as UN University, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), ASEAN Disaster Preparedness Center, USAID, Emory University, NTU Singapore, DDPM Thailand, IFRC, ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), and Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. Following the initial ARMOR publication that focused on bridging science and decision making, this 2nd Edition aims to provide information required by the ASEAN Member States to better prepare, mitigate, respond and recover from disasters, most importantly as caused by the increasing threat of climate change.
The coinciding Webinar Series is made-up of four separate sessions that highlight different articles in the publication. With the first session taking place after the initial launch, the remaining three webinar sessions are under development, with the second session scheduled to take place in the fourth week of January 2021.
The first webinar session focused on the first two articles of the publication, with article one titled “Real and Present Danger: What Does a 1.5˚C Increase Mean to ASEAN?” by Dr Mizan Bisri from the UN University, and article two titled “The Threat-Multiplier: Climate Change and Disaster Riskscape in ASEAN”, co-authored by LA Dimailig and Keith Landicho from the AHA Centre together with Dr Joseph Green and Daniel Morath from the PDC. The session was designed as an interactive discussion, and attended by approximately 100 participants, with the panelists comprised of the articles’ authors, with comments from Dr Riyanti Djalante, Head of the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, and moderated by Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre.
The idea for the theme arose from the growing threat posed by climate change to the survivability of humankind. The first article in the publication on the risk and threat posed by the 1.5˚C increase on climate to the disaster risk in ASEAN became the centre of discussion. The article summarises the latest assessments and outlook of climate change impacts in the ASEAN region that inspired the overall publication title.
Written by : Caroline Widagdo | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
While the global pandemic has interrupted capacity building efforts such as the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, the Centre continues to provide education for ACE Programme Graduates. The AHA Centre has been implementing a webinar series to support its objectives of capacity-building, networking, and utilising leadership competencies to improve national and regional coordination response mechanisms and disaster management more broadly. As part of the AHA Centre’s 9th Anniversary celebrations, the final instalment of the ACE Programme Webinar Series 2020 was held on 18 November 2020, with a focus on the area of humanitarian diplomacy.
In collaboration with the Asian Institute Management (AIM) – an Asian pioneer in management education – the AHA Centre had the fortunate opportunity to engage H.E. Ambassador Laura Quiambao-Del Rosario (Distinguished Fellow in Development Management of AIM) as a resource speaker, as well as Dr. Miguel Manuel C. Dorotan (Adjunct Faculty of AIM) as the moderator for the humanitarian diplomacy webinar.
The webinar itself began with a poll to identify the geographical background of participants, their role in their organisation, and their experience or involvement in diplomatic negotiation. This was done to support the aims of ensuring that the webinar materials could successfully cover all aspects and needs of the participants related to humanitarian diplomacy. Out of all webinar participants, 95% were located in the ASEAN region, and one each were from Europe and the Pacific. A third of the participants were in middle-management, 15% were in senior management, another third (31%) were technical specialists, a fifth (21%) were rank and file. 38% said they have previously been involved in diplomatic negotiations.
Ambassador del Rosario started by describing the difference between Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law as basis for humanitarian diplomacy. While both legal frameworks aim to protect life, health and dignity of humanity, human rights law applies in both peace time and war, while International Humanitarian Law applies only during war and conflict. Under such circumstances some human rights can be suspended for internal security reason, except the right to life, the prohibition of torture, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the prohibition of servitude and slavery.
Humanitarian diplomacy is specifically needed in circumstances that include: densely populated areas of need; during unstructured conflict; where there is displacement of people; where there is a breakdown of systems of health, education, distribution of food and water, and; where there is sexual violence. The Ambassador highlighted that as part of diplomatic negotiation during humanitarian situations, it is important to know the interest or objectives of other parties in the conflict. A lot of questions were raised with regard to the role of the AHA Centre during conflict. The Ambassador emphasised that the application of neutrality as a humanitarian principle must be maintained. The role of any humanitarian in a situation of conflict is to alleviate the suffering of affected people, while addressing the root of the conflict should be left to political stakeholders.
Dr. Dorotan summarised the key takeaways on humanitarian diplomacy by spelling out an acronym using DIPLOMACY itself. Know the discipline of humanitarian diplomacy, international human rights law, and humanitarian law. The Ambassador suggests to not only focus on the problem but also on the people affected. Openness to share your views among each other across different level of population is important in negotiations. Just as in any other profession, one must have a mastery of the craft one is doing. As a diplomat it is important to be a communicator. And finally, y stands for “yehey”, as a term of expression for celebrating the small but successful accomplishments.
Written by : Shella Ningtyas, edited by Gaynor Tanyang | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
MEASURING OUTCOMES FOR DISASTER RESPONSE,
COORDINATION AND MANAGEMENT
While the global pandemic has interrupted capacity building efforts such as the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, the Centre continues to provide education for ACE Programme graduates. The AHA Centre recently implemented a webinar series to support its objectives of capacity-building, networking, and utilising leadership competencies to improve national and regional coordination response mechanisms and disaster management more broadly. The webinars run from September to November 2020, and are primarily intended to expose the ACE Programme graduates to the latest trends and challenges in disaster management.
Following the success of the first ACE Webinar during September, the AHA Centre conducted the second ACE Webinar – namely Measuring Outcomes for Disaster Response, Coordination and Management – on 21 October, 2020. The webinar engaged more than 142 humanitarian practitioners from the ACE Programme graduate pool, NDMO officers, partners, and academics, in particular those working in monitoring and evaluation. Experts from UNOCHA, IFRC, Save the Children (member of the AADMER Partnership Group), and the Lien Centre for Social Innovation from Singapore Management University (SMU), shared their experiences in measuring the effectiveness of disaster response.
The session began with an interactive session on how often participants assess certain aspects during disaster operations – including measurement of coordination, response team effectiveness, accountability to affected population, leadership, and adherence to the programme cycle. Participants highlighted that coordination was the most frequent aspect that they measure in disaster response. This was highlighted further by the UNOCHA’s presentation, which focused on the importance of coordination to evaluate disaster responses, to ensure that assistance reaches the affected population, and to avoid gaps and duplication of assistance. This notion was also echoed by the speaker from the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, who also stated that cross-sectoral collaboration should create strong results for all stakeholders. ACE Programme Graduate Ms. Sarah Ulat of the Philippines Office of Civil Defense – National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the Philippines moderated the webinar, and also highlighted the importance of partnerships as a force multiplier and as a mode to a highly enabling environment for all agencies.
The speaker from IFRC shared experiences in measuring the effectiveness of surge teams undertaking internal reviews and utilising performance management and appraisals. The speaker from Save the Children covered the importance of assistance reaching vulnerable groups – including children – as they often make-up large percentages of an affected population.
Failure to listen to or consult with children in response evaluations not only neglects important information, but also ignores children’s agency and ability to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives.
The webinar concluded with some key takeaways provided by ACE Programme Graduate Mr Muhammad Azhar bin Said of the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
“Monitoring, evaluation and coordination is a continuous process to ensure the effectiveness of the humanitarian response. These days, with the advance of technology, we should be able to transform the way we undertake responses. After all, leadership is extremely important to be able to deliver productive and successful operations”.
-Mr Muhammad Azhar bin Said
Written by : Ferosa Arsadita | Photo : AHA Centre
ACE WEBINAR ON PANDEMICS AND NATURAL DISASTERS:
RETHINKING HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS
While the global pandemic has interrupted capacity building efforts such as the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, the Centre continues to provide education for ACE Programme graduates. The AHA Centre recently implemented a webinar series to support its objectives of capacity-building, networking, and utilising leadership competencies to improve national and regional coordination response mechanisms and disaster management more broadly. The webinars will run from September to November 2020, and are primarily intended to expose the ACE Programme graduates to the latest trends and challenges in disaster management.
The first webinar was conducted on 16 September 2020, in which experts and practitioners from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and HELP Logistics shared their humanitarian logistics experiences managing humanitarian relief operations amidst COVID-19.
This pandemic has disrupted humanitarian relief operations in many ways. Restrictions limit the deployment of items and staff to the field, while global shortages of specific items (such as personal protective equipment – PPE) also hampered the supply chain at the beginning of the pandemic. Alongside this, the speed of deployment has been affected due to border closures and also shortage of commercial flights. Delays on getting tax exemptions remain a challenge as many officials work from home, reducing human resource capacity to process documentation, while some stakeholders maintain their usual ways of working in contrast with the general crisis business approaches.
All webinar speakers agreed that this pandemic has forced humanitarian actors to be agile in terms of planning and operations. This can begin with creating closer supply chain hubs, outsourcing to the private sector, and integrating efforts and coordination with manufacturers/suppliers on medical PPE. The speakers also pointed out the importance of logistic sustainability and responsiveness, by enhancing local logistic capacity and prepositioning of commodities which are contextualised according to the population density. The use of non-in-kind assistance, for example cash, is also an option to ensure effective humanitarian assistance. Speakers and participants agreed that export-import restriction and country isolation are the most serious challenges for disaster impact that need to be addressed. In this sense, collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders is required to improve the logistic supply chain and reduce the supply competition.
The first two-hour webinar was attended by 150 participants from various sectors – with 77% of the participants having a background in disaster management and 87% having some job responsibility related to humanitarian logistic. ACE Programme graduate Ms Murni Mat Amin from the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) Malaysia summed up the discussion as a key step to “think strategically and act collaboratively”. The bonding between ACE Programme graduates through engagement such as this form a further opportunity to ensure an efficient flow of humanitarian logistic across the region.
Written by : Gaynor Tanyang/ Ferosa Arsadita | Photo : AHA Centre
Vol 64 – RSIS-AHA CENTRE WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY WEBINAR: HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA DURING COVID-19
RSIS-AHA CENTRE WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY WEBINAR:
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA DURING COVID-19
In commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day on 19 August 2020, the AHA Centre collaborated with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) of the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) to implement a webinar on Humanitarian Assistance in Southeast Asia during COVID-19.
The discussion focused on the potential dual threats of a pandemic and natural disaster. Speakers shared ideas and insights on the particular challenges faced by the humanitarian sector during the pandemic, as well as potential solutions to the challenges, and how to strengthen partnerships between relevant stakeholders.
The webinar featured a number of distinguished speakers and guests. Primarily there was Tan Sri Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, who previously served as the Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and currently is the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Public Health. Next were Mr. Masahiro Ishizeki, the Head of International Programmes of Mercy Relief, and Ms. Carol Lee, Executive Director of Mercy Relief. Dr Alistair D. B. Cook is Coordinator of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Programme and Senior Fellow at the NTS Centre, RSIS. Prof. Mely Caballero-Anthony, Head of NTS Centre, RSIS, opened the one-hour webinar, and Ms. Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, served as the moderator of the discussion.
All speakers raised many important points during the course of the discussion. Dr. Mahmood said that the pandemic should not be an excuse for the region to ‘take their eyes off’ the many issues facing the region, including the ongoing threat of natural disasters, climate change, refugees and irregular migration. She also highlighted the potential solutions offered by technology in mitigating the impact of the pandemic, such as one example applied in Malaysia named the “Kita Match” application.
Mr. Ishizeki shared the activities implemented by Mercy Relief in several countries in the region to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, as well as some of the learnings from the response. Key points included on ensuring accountability, as well as the logistics of managing operations spanning several countries at the same time.
Finally, Dr. Cook noted several humanitarian trends happening right now, many of which actually preceded the pandemic, but became more pronounced due to COVID-19. Examples included how the needs of the most vulnerable population often become secondary to the political security considerations, and the challenge to global cooperation as more countries turn to regional collaboration. Dr. Cook also proposed for humanitarian lane to facilitate quick transfer and distribution of humanitarian assistance during emergencies, as well as a national one stop shop in order to enhance government’s relations with local and national partners, including the private sector.
Written by : Dipo Summa | Photo : AHA Centre
AHA CENTRE CONDUCT SUCCESSFUL ON-LINE
Amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AHA Centre has aimed to maintain consistency and capacity to coordinate emergency responses by conducting an online Emergency Response Operation (ERO) exercise.
To ensure ongoing capacity and efficiency in fulfilling its role to support affected ASEAN Member States during times of disaster, the AHA Centre undertakes routine emergency response operation exercises that involves all staff. Such exercises are conducted regularly to test and maintain emergency procedures, and to ensure processes are up-to-date and still relevant with current contexts.
For AHA Centre personnel, the exercise also ensures that everyone holds the information and knowledge to confidently perform their role within an ERO without hesitation. As when an emergency strikes there is limited time to execute each responsibility, so undertaking such an exercise trains the members of the organisation to work seamlessly as a team.
This year was the first time such an ERO exercise has been undertaken in an online environment, as all 42 of the AHA Centre’s staff participated in the activity that utilised a critical typhoon scenario occurring in the region. The exercise tested the chain of command, the interoperability between sections, and how overall coordination took place.
This ERO exercise is not only a refresher for the all AHA Centre staff, but it is also a way to introduce new staff to AHA Centre operations during critical events. Despite the current obstacles and limitations due to the pandemic, the AHA Centre was able to adapt and engage to undertake their role. With all staff are working from home, the ability to adapt and perform has become increasingly important, and these skills and experiences may later be transferred into situations and events in future contexts.
Written by : Ina Rachmawati | Photo : AHA Centre
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL MEETING (ECOSOC)
On June 10, 2020, the AHA Centre’s Executive Director Ms. Adelina Kamal was engaged as a key panellist on the United Nations Economic and Social Council Meeting (ECOSOC) discussion on Improving humanitarian effectiveness through new technology and innovation: opportunities and challenges. The discussion was on the third day of the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2020, within which the panel discussed concrete examples of the humanitarian sector improving humanitarian effectiveness in a changing landscape through use of new technology and innovation.
The online panel was chaired by H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco and Vice-President of ECOSOC, and moderated by Mr. Ramesh Rajasingham, Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator. Alongside Ms. Kamal from the AHA Centre, other panellists included: Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Under-Secretary-General for Digital Cooperation; Ms. Valerie Guarnieri, Assistant Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme; Mr. Balthasar Staehelin, Director of Digital Transformation and Data, International Committee of the Red Cross; Dr. Patrick Meier, CEO, WeRobotics, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Mr. Raj Kumar, Founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex, and; Mr. Christopher Fabian, Senior Advisor on Innovation, UNICEF. Throughout the session all panellists showcased examples of new technology and innovation being used in humanitarian preparedness and response to improve the impact of humanitarian operations, as well as share best practices and lessons learned.
Alongside this, the panel also approached how the humanitarian sector is positioning itself to work with partners – including regional, national, and local actors, as well as the private sector – to identify and roll-out further opportunities. Speakers also identified numerous risks and challenges associated with new and emerging technologies, and discussed how these can be mitigated in the future. Challenges included data protection and protection against privacy breaches, the potential curtailment of personal liberties through the misuse of data, the spread of misinformation and disinformation, and the use of technology to stigmatize or incite tensions.
This engagement gave the AHA Centre yet another opportunity to lead the region on disaster management coordination with an array of international bodies, while also be actively involved in the continuing expansion of information and communication technology activities taking place within the global disaster management sector. The change, the innovation, and the importance of this subject was highlighted by H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale when he stated during his opening speech that:
“When I began my career in humanitarian affairs, it was mostly a process of contingency planning involving a small group of disaster managers and aid workers meeting and gathering around a flipchart with a handful of coloured marker pens. Today, humanitarians use Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics to more quickly and efficiently analyse and make decisions about how to respond to crisis.”
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
CONTINUING REGIONAL EFFORTS ON
BUILDING ASEAN-ERAT CAPACITY FOR RESPONSE
The AHA Centre has progressed significantly towards achieving the vision of its ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) Transformation Plan, that was developed back in 2015. Aiming to strengthen ASEAN’s preparedness and response capacity – to support collective, fast, and reliable disaster responses in accordance with humanitarian standards – the organisation is moving towards the finalisation of the ASEAN-ERAT Transformation Plan’s initial 5-year period.
Contributing to the overall realisation of the Transformation Plan, on 31 March 2020 the AHA Centre, supported by the Government of Japan through the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), successfully concluded a 4-year project titled “ASEAN-ERAT Transformation Project”. Based on project evaluation results, the AHA Centre made significant contributions to the outcomes of the Transformation Plan, including:
Establishing and conducting regular ASEAN-ERAT Advisory Group meetings and ASEAN-ERAT In-country Networks with 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS)
Developing an ASEAN-ERAT publication as part of the AHA Centre’s knowledge series, and circulating ASEAN-ERAT activities through the AHA Centre’s monthly bulletin
Updating ASEAN-ERAT Guidelines
Maintaining the Emergency Alerts system
Developing ASEAN-ERAT Manager Web and Mobile Applications
Establishing online course platform used to reinforce the delivery of face-to-face ASEAN-ERAT courses
Developing advance course curriculum and piloting the trainings; i.e. Rapid Needs Assessment, Information Management, Humanitarian Logistics, Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination, and Early Recovery; that have increased the capacity of ASEAN-ERAT to provide technical assistance to AMS, including support during the early recovery phase
Conducting Training of Trainers (TOT) that have enabled the AHA Centre to gain support from graduates to conduct ASEAN-ERAT courses
Successfully establishing an operational support group with partners from Map Action, Télécoms Sans Frontières, and DHL, that has supported ASEAN-ERAT large-scale operations, such as during the 7,4M Earthquake in Palu, Indonesia
Successfully training 322 ASEAN-ERAT members from 10 AMS
Deploying trained ASEAN-ERAT members to actual emergencies and simulation exercises
With an array of natural disasters experienced over the last 12 years, the trained ASEAN-ERAT members were deployed to many disaster responses. Of the 28 ASEAN-ERAT deployments in the past 12 years, one of the most interesting experiences was deployment to the 2018 Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami, within which the AHA Centre deployed 28 members to reinforce the Indonesian NDMO with many support mechanisms including coordination and the facilitation of incoming relief assistance. Another unique mission was the ASEAN-ERAT response to human-induced disaster in Rakhine State, Myanmar. This mission was executed upon request from the Government of Myanmar, entrusting ASEAN-ERAT to conduct a preliminary needs assessment to identify areas of cooperation, that in turn could support the repatriation of displaced persons to Rakhine State.
Exercising inter-operability of ASEAN-ERAT and UNDAC during Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami in 2018, signifying better coordination and collaboration between the two.
Acknowledging tangible support from ASEAN-ERAT members, the AHA Centre aims to continue the ASEAN-ERAT capacity building programme supported by the JAIF, which will be undertaken through ASEAN-ERAT Phase 2 project entitled “Strengthening ASEAN’s Collective Response Capacity through the Enhancement of the Capacity Building of the Regional ASEAN-ERAT”. This will be further strengthened through support from the European Union as part of the “EU Support to AHA Centre” (EU SAHA) project. It will ensure that the AHA Centre can equip more ERAT members for disaster response by continuing the capacity building efforts, particularly on the roll-out of the advanced courses that were piloted in 2018 – 2019. Considering the situation of COVID-19 pandemic, all the advanced courses planned in 2020 are moved to 2021.
Written by : ASEAN-ERAT Project Management Team | Photo : AHA Centre