2ND PROJECT STEERING COMMITTEE (PSC) MEETING OF THE ASCEND
On 20 May, 2021 the AHA Centre held the second project steering committee (PSC) meeting of ASCEND. The meeting was presided over by co-chairs Indonesia and Singapore of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) Working Group on Global Leadership and attended by the Mission of the Republic Korea (ROK) to ASEAN, the Korean National Fire Agency (KNFA), the ASEAN-ROK Development Cooperation Programme Management Team (AKPMT), the ASEAN Secretariat and the AHA Centre.
During the meeting, the AHA Centre presented the ASCEND project implementation progress report for December 2020 to April 2021. It provided updates on the overall implementation of the ASCEND project and covered three major areas of work, namely the development of documents and systems, the development of communication materials, and continued coordination and expanded collaboration with various stakeholders. Due to limitations brought about by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, the ASCEND project management team (PMT) has focused its efforts on conducting studies, developing guidelines and establishing the IT system needed for the certification process. The AHA Centre expects to introduce and pilot use all of the materials and the IT system within workshops and training planned for late this year and early next year. In addition to the aforementioned progress, the ASCEND-PMT of the AHA Centre has also expanded its collaboration to more than 90 individuals from at least 30 institutions or organisations.
The ASCEND-PMT also presented updates on the establishment of the ASCEND Reference Group. The ASCEND Reference Group aims to ensure that the preparation and implementation of the ASCEND project incorporates all recommendations from the ASEAN Member States. On this occasion, the PSC members discussed the possibility of establishing an effective communication flow between the ASCEND-PMT and the Reference Group members.
Lastly, the meeting explored the possibility of conducting an ASCEND benchmarking visit to the Republic of Korea. Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, it was agreed that the AHA Centre and the KNFA should explore alternatives to conducting the benchmarking visit aside from a physical visit. One of the ideas from the PSC members was to combine a virtual study visit first before considering a physical visit later. The AHA Centre and the KNFA gave an assurance that these options would be considered when developing the concept note. The concept note will also include the risk and benefit analysis of conducting benchmarking visits based on the alternative options available. The co-chairs of the ACDM Working Group Global Leadership closed the meeting by thanking the PSC members for the fruitful and productive discussion during the meeting.
ASCEND is a three-year project grant-funded by the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund (AKCF) to the tune of USD 3.3 million. It aims to enhance the quality of human resources within ASEAN in disaster management through establishing a common set of standard skills and competencies, along with a validation process.
Written by: Haura Mayang | Photo : AHA Centre
REFRESH OUR MIND ON INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
In these days of ever-increasing remote working it is easy to become rusty, to lose the day-to-day contact and interaction with colleagues and fellow professionals who can keep us up to date with all the latest news and developments that allow us to remain at our sharpest in our respective fields of operations, and to miss out on tips and innovations that can facilitate our work.
With that in mind and based on positive feedback from the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team’s (ASEAN-ERAT) Refresh Our Mind series, which started in the early part of this year, the AHA Centre is continuing the series to keep ASEAN-ERAT members engaged and connected from their homes or offices during the course of the pandemic. The second edition of the ASEAN-ERAT Refresh Our Mind series helped ASEAN-ERAT members to brush up their knowledge on information management, often using simple, readily available and free-to-use software and open-source material, and all in only 100 minutes.
Before the second edition commenced, the AHA Centre introduced ASEAN-ERAT members who had registered for the event to the AHA Centre’s Learning Management System. The ASEAN-ERAT members took the opportunity to update their knowledge about the key aspects of the Information Management continuum and got an introduction to Google Earth by watching short videos. Then, the ASEAN-ERAT members met through a video call to continue their learning journey on the same topic by taking part in an interactive quiz and conversing through a group discussion. The group discussion flowed well with an informal atmosphere, allowing the ASEAN-ERAT members to enjoy their Friday afternoon with small talk while sipping their favourite drinks, or simply waiting to break the fast for those who observed Ramadhan.
The discussion heard from an ASEAN-ERAT member from Indonesia, Mr Mizan Bisri, a former officer at the AHA Centre under the Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Unit. Currently he is Assistant Professor in Disaster Management at Kobe University and is a founder of CARI, a web-based knowledge management platform for disaster management, and he described the use of Google Earth for basic mapping to quickly capture the most reliable and visual information for initial-stage disaster responses.
His explanation was corroborated by the experience of another ASEAN-ERAT member, Mr Qingyuan Pang, from Singapore, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organisation, working in Cox’s Bazaar. Before he joined WHO, Mr Pang was the Assistant Director of the Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Unit of the AHA Centre and he explained that he used Google Earth as it was faster and much less tedious than other mapping tools. He also cited heatmapping, the graphical representation of data where values are depicted as colours, as another tool to help him visualise data and monitor diarrhoea outbreaks in Cox’s Bazaar.
In addition to the extended discussion on data visualisation, he shared the humanitarian icons from UNOCHA with other ASEAN-ERAT members. Mr Adiratna Wira Adnan, Senior Assistant Director in the Technical and Infrastructure Department of Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency, suggested using the icons as the standard reference for all ASEAN-ERAT members.
The AHA Centre wrapped up the second edition of the ASEAN-ERAT Refresh Our Mind series with the announcement of the quiz winners and prizes for those who completed their self-refreshment through the ASEAN-ERAT Learning Management System. The winners were Ms Murni Mat Amin (Malaysia), Ms Gaynor Tanyang and Mr Irvin Miranda (the Philippines), and Mr Pang (Singapore). Congratulations to all the winners!
Written by: Madiatri A. Silalahi | Photo Credit : ERAT PMT
ARMOR WEBINAR SERIES #3:
SHIFTING INTO A FORECAST-BASED REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
The third instalment of the ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR) Webinar Series focused on the topic of ‘Shifting into a Forecast-based Regional Humanitarian Response’. The webinar series is being implemented to discuss articles presented by the ARMOR 2nd Edition, with this session aiming to highlight the importance of anticipatory action in disaster management. The webinar engaged various experts and commentators from different international organisations, and was conducted in a virtual environment on 4 March 2021.
The webinar began with a discussion on the article titled When Early Actions Save Lives: Anticipating Instead of Reacting with Forecast-based Financing. Panellists in this session spoke about how Forecast-based Financing (FbF) strengthens humanitarian mandates by enabling National Societies to assist people in need more quickly and effectively. They also discussed about internal processes in becoming more agile in delivering aid and services under FbF, and the emergency response processes profiting equally – which means that FbF also contributes to the enhancement of responses.
The three panellists for the session were Mr Raymond Zingg (Regional Forecast-based Financing Coordinator for Asia Pacific of the IFRC), Mr Nguyen Hai Anh (Vice President and Secretary-General of the Viet Nam Red Cross Society), and Mr Ferdinand Ferrer (Philippine Red Cross Chapter Administrator of Camarines Norte). Mr Anh provided an example of FbF implementation in Viet Nam for heatwaves in an urban context, with the main objective of reducing the impact of heatwaves on Hanoi’s most vulnerable populations. As each heatwave can affect a large area, the organisations recognised the need to identify the most at-risk zones. Mr Ferrer shared lessons learned on developing an Early Action Protocol (EAP) for tropical cyclones in the Philippines, as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) developed an EAP that enables the implementation of early actions focusing on the most at-risk municipalities. The EAP adapts to the local contexts of these municipalities by encouraging the strengthening of vulnerable houses, early harvesting of mature crops, and evacuation of livestock.
The second ARMOR article up for discussion was Three Weeks’ Notice: Forecasting Extreme Weather Events with Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Climate Prediction, which engaged Dr Govindarajalu Srinivasan (Chief Scientist for Climate Applications, Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia – RIMES), and Dr Thea Turkington (Senior Research Scientist in the Seasonal and Sub-seasonal Prediction Section, Meteorological Service Singapore). The panellists discussed the importance of considering Subseasonal-to-Seasonal (S2S) predictions as part of a broader spectrum of weather and climate products that should be utilised together to improve decision-making in the areas of preparedness and response.
Such easy-to-use decision support systems that bring together a range of weather and climate information will better enable disaster managers to put S2S into action. It was also explained that successful integration of S2S into disaster preparedness protocols can reduce disaster impacts, because the predictions from S2S have a higher update frequency than seasonal predictions, as well as longer lead time than short and medium-range weather forecasts.
All webinar participants also had the opportunity to have an interactive session with the expert panellists and commentators. Interestingly, discussing the issues related to anticipatory decision-making saw most participants agree that anticipatory action implementation also needs to be supported by the policy makers and governments. In line with this context, an announcement was also made at the beginning of the webinar related to the AHA Centre’s new collaboration with the Anticipation Hub. Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, stated that this collaboration will enable more anticipatory action across the region.
Different perspectives on both articles were provided during the event, with guest commentary offered by Alexandra Ruth (Head of the Anticipation Hub from the German Red Cross), and Nicolas Bidault (Head of Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping, UN World Food Programme Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific). The ARMOR Webinar Series was organised as part of the EU-SAHA project, through the support of the European Union Mission to ASEAN.
Written by: Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
THE AHA CENTRE WORK PLAN DEVELOPMENT
The ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) members have continued to stay connected amid the array of challenges faced within the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While managing disasters and COVID responses in their respective countries, ASEAN-ERAT members found time to gather virtually as part of ASEAN-ERAT Coffee Chat sessions, and engaged in the ASEAN-ERAT Refresh Our Mind series. The aim of these sessions was to support ASEAN-ERAT members to continue to interact with each other – even if only virtually – as well as to remain engaged with the ASEAN-ERAT system itself and its specialisation courses.
A total of forty-five ASEAN-ERAT members from four ASEAN Member States (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore) participated in the first ASEAN-ERAT Coffee Chat session, which was held online on 4 December, 2020. It provided an opportunity for members, from the programme’s first group (2010 graduates) through to the twelfth group (2019 graduation) to re-connect and discuss the issues related to past responses, as well as the ERAT induction course itself. Based on the feedback from the first session, the second ASEAN-ERAT Coffee Chat was held on 11 December 2020, and deliberated specifically on ASEAN-ERAT’s role into the future. Thirty-eight ASEAN-ERAT members engaged from across all groups, with productive discussions resulting in several ideas on enhancing the ASEAN-ERAT members’ role in the future. One such idea was for more specialised skillsets to enable the ASEAN-ERAT members to support complex and evolving humanitarian emergencies, such as pandemic situations amongst others.
Kicking-off 2021 on January 29, the AHA Centre organised the first event of the ASEAN-ERAT Refresh Our Mind series, which focused on Rapid Needs and Damage Assessments, and was attended by seven ASEAN-ERAT members. The event included a 100-minute online learning task designed for ASEAN-ERAT members who feel they need a refreshment on the ASEAN-ERAT system, as well as Rapid Needs and Damage Assessments, and was delivered through a fun learning, interactive, and insightful session. The event commenced with a quiz that invited ASEAN-ERAT members to refresh on the ASEAN-ERAT system and Rapid Needs and Damage Assessments in general. Then three ASEAN-ERAT members (Ms Mary Grace Somido from the Philippines, Ms Grace Endina and Mr Yos Malole from Indonesia) shared insights on their hands-on experiences conducting a rapid needs assessment during deployments. The final section for the first event was a hands-on activity that allowed participants to develop a scenario-based Assessment Plan. The participants were provided with access to the ASEAN-ERAT Learning Management System to watch three short videos related to the first event’s content.
Participants attending the ASEAN-ERAT Coffee Chat sessions and the first ASEAN-ERAT Refresh Our Mind event provided positive feedback overall, and encouraged the AHA Centre to continue organising such virtual events in 2021 to increase connections and engagement for more ASEAN-ERAT members.
Written by : Madiatri A. Silalahi, Siva Balan | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
THE AHA CENTRE WORK PLAN DEVELOPMENT
FRAMING TARGETED RESULTS BY 2025
During the third week of January 2021, the AHA Centre undertook its regular annual planning workshop. Usually conducted annually as a two-day workshop, this year the AHA Centre adjusted the event to become a series of half-day workshops, and conducted them online through the Zoom platform between 18-25 January. The series of half-day workshops were attended by all AHA Centre staff members, as well as consultants from RedR Australia and the Department of International Development of the United Kingdom (DFID UK), who are supporting the AHA Centre to develop their resource mobilisation plan and strategic direction.
The workshops aimed to be an inclusive process through which all of the AHA Centre staff members could reflect on past achievements, and contribute their ideas and suggestions to shape the AHA Centre’s work in the coming five years. During these workshops, the AHA Centre discussed results and achievement of the AHA Centre work progress in 2020 and the plan for the upcoming years. The AHA Centre also utilised the annual planning workshop as a team-building opportunity in which staff members can engage and enjoy some time with each other. Several entertaining activities were conducted as part of the workshops, such as a virtual lunch, daily interactive quizzes, and the AHA Centre Awards.
As the highlight of the workshop week, namely the discussions, were focused on the AHA Centre Work Plan 2025. Using the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme (AWP) 2021-2025 as its base, the AHA Centre developed its own plan based on guidance provided through other relevant documents such as the AADMER, the Agreement on the Establishment of the AHA Centre, ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management, AHA Centre Strategic Direction for 2021-2025 paper, and other relevant project documents. The AHA Centre Work Plan 2025 will also incorporate the corporate and institutional governance elements of the AHA Centre’s work.As such, it will be a comprehensive tool to guide the work of the AHA Centre in the next five years.
With an 84.96% completion rate by 2020, and the endorsement of the AWP 2021-2025 (which is now focusing more on results at the outcomes and outputs level), the AHA Centre aims to work comprehensively by ensuring its projects fit within a whole organisational approach, and the outcomes/outputs are translated into specific groups of projects and actionable activites. The new Work Plan will not only describe in detail the activities for 2021, but also encompass a five-year plan to cover priority objectives for 2021 – 2025.
This workshop series is not the only process utilised for developing the AHA Centre Work Plan. Prior to the events the AHA Centre conducted team group discussions to review AWP 2021-2025 components assigned to the AHA Centre, that form the basis for the AHA Centre Work Plan 2025. These discussions were also used to identify feasible activities to be conducted by the AHA Centre, with the results of discussions then presented and further discussed in the planning workshops. For the next steps, the AHA Centre will continue to refine the work plan design to ensure it provides a significant contribution to the targeted impacts of the AWP 2021-2025.
Written by : | Caroline Widagdo | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
PROJECT STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
The Integrated Programme in Enhancing the Capacity of AHA Centre and ASEAN Emergency Response Mechanisms (EU-SAHA) began in early 2020,, and although many activities have been pushed back due to the global pandemic, the AHA Centre continued with the implementation in the programme’s inaugural year. On 8 December, 2020, the Project Steering Committee for the EU-SAHA came together in an online environment to undertake their first formal meeting, aimed to provide a report and updates on the implementation process after the first year.
Engaged in the meeting were all key members of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) – including representatives from the AHA Centre, EU Mission to ASEAN, the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Division of ASEAN Secretariat, the Estonian Rescue Board (ERB), and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). The meeting was also co-chaired by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) of the Philippines, and the EU Mission to ASEAN.
The first PSC meeting primarily reported on the four key outputs or results that form the target of EU-SAHA overall. While the pandemic created obstacles for the achievement of outcomes as originally planned, there was still considerable progress in activities that form each of the key programmatic outcomes.
Efforts undertaken during 2020 as part of this output/result included the hiring of specialist staff, as well as the implementation of a capacity development project. There were eight positions fully-funded by EU-SAHA filled during the year, alongside eight partially-funded positions. Alongside this, a key component of the EU-SAHA programme – namely the Leveraging ASEAN Capacities for Emergency Response (LACER) project – was implemented with the support of the ERB and MSB. This AHA Centre institutional and operational capacity strengthening project developed and validated its baseline information with the AHA Centre, and finalised a workplan for the coming phases that was also presented at the PSC meeting.
Activities implemented during 2020 under Output/Result 2 were primarily focused on strengthening multi-stakeholder engagement and communication, and increasing brand awareness of the AHA Centre. The included the development of the EU-SAHA Communication and Visibility Plan, and the publication of EU-SAHA fact sheets to support basic communication of the project. Communication activities supporting the responses to a number of tropical storms in Viet Nam and Super Typhoon GONI (ROLLY) in the Philippines were also implemented, as were other communications efforts to support AHA Centre events and engagements during the year. Finally, recruitment was undertaken for a consultant to deliver a media monitoring and journalism workshop, with the event targeted to take place early in 2021.
The key activity underneath this output/result was the publication of the 2018 After-Action Review – an evaluative and reflective report that encompassed the AHA Centre’s largest year of disaster response since its establishment in November 2011.
Working towards the fourth output/result in 2020 included the review and improvement of the AHA Centre’s current Knowledge and Change Management (KCM) systems. This entailed reviewing the original strategy developed in 2016, and updating it to suit the current context of the AHA Centre. This included re-developing the KCM framework, developing a taxonomy system and guideline for documentation, reviewing 2020 workplan and tasks both for the AHA Centre and the wider AADMER programme workplans, and synchronising the upcoming workplans (2021-2025) between the AHA Centre and AADMER. Additionally, 2020 also saw the development and publication of the 2nd ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR) – which also forms a key element of the AHA Centre’s knowledge management processes.
After the in-depth reports and reviews, the EU-SAHA workplan was also delivered and discussed by the PSC during their meeting. This included highlighting risks and challenges – particularly related to the ongoing pandemic – and how such issues may be overcome to ensure the continuation of this all-important programme.
Written by : William Shea | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
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