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
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