GLOBAL INITIATIVE ON DISASTER
Disaster Risk Management (DRM) forms a key element of all international development agendas and its implementation is an important element for all nations. Such importance and presence, however, has been found to lead to a range of cost burdens, overlapping programmes, and working duplications as varying government and non-government agencies undertake their DRM activities. The German-funded Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) project aims to overcome these obstacles, and create efficiency and coherence within national and international DRM efforts.
Based on the realisation of such agendas as the Sendai-Framework, Paris Climate Agreement and Agenda 2030, GIDRM works to link a range of DRM elements of such agendas through planning, implementation and reporting of DRM requirements. Funded through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the GIDRM has engaged with the AHA Centre and a number of ASEAN nations during the second phase of the project, specifically working with the Philippines who have been designated as one of GIDRM’s two key pilot countries (the second being Mexico). Rather than a top-down approach, GIDRM works to support efforts from the bottom-up. Examples of successful coherence and efficiency from national and sub-national levels aim to be highlighted at regional and global level, to promote learning and good practices, and form recommendations for expanded activity implementation.
The partnership between GIDRM and the AHA Centre began in 2016, and has resulted in a range of workshops and training exercises, implemented both specifically for the AHA Centre and also engaging a wider range of regional disaster management stakeholders. In 2018, the AHA Centre and GIDRM undertook an earthquake disaster response simulation, allowing the AHA Centre staff to practice their internal preparedness and response mechanisms, which were reviewed and evaluated after the scenario took place. GIDRM also previously supported implementation of the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) 2016 in Brunei Darussalam, and worked with the AHA Centre and ASEAN Member States to review ARDEX processes, as well as wider mechanisms including the Standard Operating Procedure for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (SASOP).
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS
AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES
Engagement between the AHA Centre and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been ongoing since 2014, with particular focus towards information and knowledge-sharing, as well as technical exercises.
The IFRC holds strong similarities to the AHA Centre in its approach to disaster management – with its aim to promote and support united disaster response and preparedness efforts on a global scale. This mission only serves to strengthen the need for such a strategic partnership, as the AHA Centre strives to do the same from an ASEAN regional perspective. Therefore, recent years have seen the IFRC and the National Societies become important stakeholders within the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), the AHA Centre’s key operational mechanism for emergency response under the One ASEAN, One Response plan. Within these efforts, both organisations have embarked on continuous information sharing and distribution during emergency response operations, with both organisations’ Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) playing pivotal roles in providing the sector, and the wider community with relevant and up-to-date information during times of disaster.
The IFRC also has been a key participant in the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX), within which the AHA Centre takes the lead in the exercise’s design and organisation. The IFRC has also provided valuable and active engagement within the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) training programme, most recently providing facilitation and training services on Humanitarian Logistics as part of the ASEAN-ERAT Level 2 course, held in September 2018. The IFRC also supported the ASEAN-ERAT advance course pilot on Rapid Assessment, in which they facilitated a session on Protection, Gender and Inclusion in Emergency.
The IFRC provides capacity development support to the ASEAN Member States through the AHA Centre’s Executive Programme (ACE Programme), in which they share knowledge and expertise regarding resilience, protection and inclusion, alongside Disaster Law and advocacy. The AHA Centre has also taken on opportunities to participate in the IFRC’s signature programmes – such as the Regional Disaster Response Teams and Operations Management Training – to learn further about how IFRC staff and volunteers support national disaster response teams and work alongside international teams. These mutual engagements and cross-learning exercises have supported both the IFRC and AHA Centre to gain a better understanding of how each other’s processes and mechanisms work, and how they can mutually engage and build on each other ‘s strengths, creating further efficiency and stronger impact during times of major disaster response.
Written by : Carla Budiarto | Photo : IFRC
UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR
The United States Goverment through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the AHA Centre’s original partners, with the agency having supported the AHA Centre since its establishment. This support has allowed the AHA Centre to perform its roles as a regional humanitarian and disaster management response institution to the scale and capacity that we see today. The partnership between USAID and the AHA Centre has resulted in a cast range of achievements, including, amongst many, the development of a disaster monitoring and response system, and the establishment of a customised technical assistance and training facility.
One of the most notable collaborations between the two parties has resulted in the development of the Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS), implemented through the US PROGRESS programme. DMRS is an effective tool that improves the consolidation of meteorological, seismic, and demographic data, information that is integral for decision making, as well as almost real-time disaster monitoring across the region. Alongside this, the partnership with USAID has also resulted in the development of the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA) guidelines, which serve as a key tool for identifying vulnerabilities in areas prone to natural disasters. The RVA guidelines aim to support disaster managers in prioritising preparedness measures for both people and economic assets.
In terms of capacity building, the AHA Centre and US PROGRESS continue to develop and refine training curriculum to create a framework for the ASEAN Standardisation and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND). USAID also funded the development of the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), which acts as the main guiding blueprint for One ASEAN One Response. Such support expanded as far as the AJDRP’s review period, which included implementation through contingency planning workshops in Metro Manila and Myanmar during 2017. As part of these workshops, various disaster scenarios were tested, including under the duress of earthquake, tsunami, and typhoon. Information regarding identified gaps and recommendations was gathered from participants, and then incorporated into the updated and refined AJDRP document.
Additionally US PROGRESS also works with the AHA Centre related to the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in disaster management activities. A number of workshops have already been undertaken, introducing improved ways to utilise new communication technologies such as TV white space, alternative radio frequencies, and social media to increase the ASEAN region’s capacity to respond to disasters.
USAID has supported the AHA Centre in developing skills through trainings, in particular through funding the ASEAN Technical Assistance and Training Facility (TATF) in an effort to build disaster resilient nations and communities through the ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration (ADVANCE) programme. Earlier in 2018, the agency facilitated two workshops on Incident Command Systems and Incident Action Planning. In partnership with the United States Forest Service, the two-week workshop equipped participants with skills to develop strategies for various emergency-response scenarios.
Written by : Christella Feni, Will Shea | Photo : USAID
Medical services are an integral element for all phases of ASEAN disaster management – preparedness, response, and recovery. Medical professionals play a vital role in working to safeguard the health and wellbeing of individuals directly and indirectly affected by disaster, as well as aid workers deployed in the field. Importantly, the improvement of the affected population’s psychological health and resilience in order to recover quickly after experiencing a disaster also form a key health-related focus. In the ASEAN region, Mercy Malaysia forms one of the primary organisations for health-related activities in disaster situations, and work alongside the AHA Centre in improving health elements in the ASEAN disaster management field.
MERCY Malaysia, or the Malaysian Medical Relief Society, is an international, non-governmental organisation that focuses on providing medical relief, sustainable health-related development, and risk reduction activities for vulnerable communities, in both crisis and non-crisis situations. MERCY Malaysia is a member of the AADMER Partnership Group (APG), a consortium of seven INGOs who are committed to work with ASEAN to ensure the people-centred implementation of AADMER, leading to a resilient ASEAN region. MERCY Malaysia’s capabilities have also been included by the Government of Malaysia within the ASEAN Standby Arrangements.
MERCY Malaysia has been supporting and contributing in delivering humanitarian aid and expertise to the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) since 2013. Through this partnership, there will be a greater support, facilitation, involvement, and beneficial participation of civil society organisations from ASEAN Member States. This will be facilitated through a Regional Alliance for Collective Emergency Response (RACER), which allows non-government emergency response organisations to support One Asean One Response. Using the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), RACER will contribute to the realisation of One ASEAN One Response vision. Furthermore, MERCY Malaysia provides support on developing mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for ASEAN-ERAT members deployed to emergency response situations.
To formalise MERCY Malaysia’s engagement with the AHA Centre, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) on the 27th of June, 2018, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the sidelines of the Eighth Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre. The MoI not only strengthens the partnership between the two entities, but also signifies their commitment to cooperate in areas of mutual interest, and to reinforce each party’s current capacities that are recognised as mutually beneficial.
Written by : William Shea | Photo : MERCY Malaysia
THE PHILIPPINE DISASTER RESILIENCE FOUNDATION
The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) is a unique organisation, who forms the major coordinating body for the Philippines’ private sector engagement and support on disaster management. The ASEAN region has become increasingly aware of the importance of private sector engagement in disaster management field, as well as the value that such engagement can foster, with organisations such as the PDRF providing strong examples of the strong, responsive and skilled resources that can support the overall disaster management efforts of this disaster-prone region.
Over recent years, the AHA Centre has turned its focus more heavily to the engagement of the private sector throughout its disaster management work, based on the reasons above, alongside the private sector’s own realisation that disaster is something that impacts them heavily – and that they need to do more to support with ongoing efforts. The PDRF mission and work form a solid match with the AHA Centre, therefore their partnership is mutually beneficial on many levels. The partnership was first formalised in April 2017, with Ms. Adelina Kamal, the (then acting) Executive Director of the AHA Centre, and PDRF President Rene Meily putting pen to paper to formalise this valuable agreement.
The PDRF itself is composed from a team of highly committed professionals who work alongside field experts and reputable humanitarian institutions to organise, coordinate, and solidify the commitment of the private sector within overall disaster management efforts. The PDRF has been a leader in effective reconstruction measures that address the needs of disaster-stricken communities, with their programmes developed for post-disaster recovery in key sectors such as shelter, livelihood, education, environment and water, infrastructure, sanitation, and health. Alongside this, they operate their own state-of-the-art operations and communications centre, engage in community resilience programmes, and support the business sector across a range of elements related to disaster preparedness as well as business resilience in the event of disaster.
Within this context, the AHA Centre PDRF partnership focuses towards supporting and advocating increases in public knowledge and awareness regarding disaster management. Through PDRF’s support of One ASEAN One Response, there will be a range of exchanges and knowledge sharing activites, that will be mutually reliant on each other’s assets and expertise, in order to increase and boost the capacity and capability in responding to disaster. In addition, the partnership will encourage private sector and start-up businesses to be more engaged, and share more ideas for disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and management, and resilient recovery.
Written by : Valerie Bayhon, William Shea | Photo : PDRF
The ASEAN region, being prone to a range of natural disasters, aims to be a step ahead in delivering response to such disasters when they strike. To achieve this, well-trained and prepared human capital is required, with strong teams developed through relevant and up-to-date seminars and workshops. Through the recent formalisation of a long-standing working partnership between RedR Australia and the AHA Centre, both parties aim to mutually promote, develop, and strengthen their cooperation in disaster management to further improve response for the ASEAN region’s communities.
RedR Australia is a non-governmental, international humanitarian agency that provides disaster management training across the world. One of their key objectives is to help rebuild and support communities to recover immediately after disaster strikes, by both delivering and equipping key actors with appropriate and efficient humanitarian skills. Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of AHA Centre, and Kirsten Sayers, the Chief Executive Officer of RedR Australia, recently signed and formalised a partnership through a Memorandum of Intent, on the side lines of the 8th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the 27th of June 2018.
The partnership is channelled through the “Australia Assists – Technical Assistance in Disaster Risk Management” programme, managed and co-designed by RedR Australia and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The programme aims to develop and increase the capacity of deployable civilian resources that meet humanitarian policy and procedure requirements and standards. The formation of collaboration between RedR Australia and AHA Centre will not only strengthen disaster response, but also develop stronger disaster management capacity within the region. The platform of the partnership has been undertaken with the intention of providing the highest quality disaster response and management practices within a constantly changing environment and context, and more importantly, to build resilience and improve the quality of humanitarian action to alleviate suffering and save lives.
This MoI stands as a bilateral recognition of the value that both parties’ ongoing engagement has created, and to expand on this, the formalised partnership will allow both parties to engage on a wider level. It aims to provide the ASEAN region with access to a deeper pool of deployable expertise, efficient roster management practices, effective monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) processes, appropriate and effective risk management, and more opportunities to develop disaster-related activities with RedR Australia.
Since 2016, RedR Australia’s expertise has also been integrated within the AHA Centre’s existing training programmes, such as the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, in which they have provided specific training modules on project management elements. Such engagement has been an integral part of the ACE Programme, which focuses specifically towards developing ASEAN leaders from all 10 Member States, who hold the capacity and skills to lead the region in response and operations when a disaster strikes. Alongside the new overall MoI, RedR Australia and the AHA Centre have also agreed to continue and strengthen their partnership through the ACE Programme, developing stronger, more specific training materials and engagements as part of ACE Programme Phase 2, being implemented from 2018-2020.
Written by : Valerie Bayhon | Photo : RedR Australia, AHA Centre
PACIFIC DISASTER CENTRE
Strengthening Disaster Preparedness across Asia-Pacific
with the Pacific Disaster Centre
THE PACIFIC DISASTER CENTER (PDC) IS A HAWAIIAN-BASED ORGANISATION WITH A FOCUS TOWARDS DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS FOR IMPROVING DISASTER MITIGATION, PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE, AND RECOVERY. FOR ALMOST TWO DECADES, PDC HAS DELIVERED A VARIETY OF TOOLS AND SERVICES TO THE GLOBAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT COMMUNITY – INCLUDING TO THE AHA CENTRE. SUCH TOOLS AND SERVICES INCLUDE GLOBAL MULTI-HAZARD DISASTER MONITORING, EARLY WARNING MECHANISMS AND DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS, RISK AND VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT TOOLS, MODELING AND VISUALISATION PLATFORMS, SIMULATION EXERCISE SUPPORT, AND A RANGE OF CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES.
ASEAN’s collaboration with the PDC began in mid-2004, prior to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the PDC has been constantly involved in the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). More recently, the PDC – supported by the United States Government through its US Agency for International Development (USAID) programmes – has worked with ASEAN and the AHA Centre to implement programmes such as the AADMER Work Programme for Risk Assessment, Early Warning, and Monitoring Activity (2010-2015), the AHA Centre Information Communication Technology (ICT) Gap Analysis, and the development of a Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS) powered by PDC’s DisasterAWARE™ platform.
The most notable recent collaboration between the two Centres has been the development of the DMRS. The system was initiated following an offer made by the United States’ President Barack Obama at the First ASEAN-US Leaders’ Meeting in November, 2009, in Singapore. The DRMS is supported by the United States Government through the USAID and US Department of State-funded ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility. The United States has been an ASEAN Dialogue Partner since 1977.
The DMRS enables the AHA Centre to integrate all monitoring of hazard data within one system. The system compiles and transforms various hazard and other natural disaster information from national and international disaster monitoring agencies into a regional, event-tracking and decision-support tool, further enhanced by its utilisation of maps and modelling applications. Through this integration, the AHA Centre operations team can immediately obtain a global overview of any situation, which improves response times and leads to more efficient use of relief resources.
“I would characterise PDC as a very committed and sustainable partner of the AHA Centre. Through their support, we now have comprehensive disaster monitoring tools that allow us to monitor hazards in an almost real-time manner. The early warning alerts allow us to plan ahead of time,” explains Arnel Capili, the Operations Director of the AHA Centre.
Following more than a decade of collaboration, The PDC and the AHA Centre signed a new Memorandum of Intent (MOI) on the 5th of June, 2017, at the AHA Centre’s headquarters in Jakarta.
The MOI aims to strengthen the two Centres’ ongoing partnership in advancing disaster risk reduction and regional cooperation, including steps to progress the vision of One ASEAN One Response. The PDC and AHA Centre will continue working together to pursue new endeavours to support the vision, including a project to conduct a regional risk assessment for the ASEAN Member States that will support the development of sound policies for risk reduction across the region.
Written by : Carla Budiarto | Photo : AHA Centre
Mapping is perhaps one of the first things that springs to mind when we think of disaster preparedness and response. It forms an integral element of determining affected areas, infrastructure and terrain, as well as access for supplies both in preparedness planning and when disaster strikes. MapAction has been supporting the emergency management sector with professional mapping services, sending teams to respond to around 80 disasters across the world, and impacting the lives of tens of millions since its establishment in 2002. Based on such experience, and the importance of mapping within the disaster management context, the AHA Centre and MapAction recently formalised their working partnership through the signing of a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) during the 8th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 27 June 2018.
Although the ink is still drying on the formal partnership between the AHA Centre and MapAction, the two institutions have already forged a strong working relationship throughout recent years, primarily engaging through the AHA Centre-led ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) training programme. MapAction has provided valuable support to participants in the ASEAN-ERAT workshops, with hands-on training using state-of-the-art mapping applications that support the work of ASEAN-ERAT during disaster response. Training on the use of these applications has allowed ASEAN-ERAT members to engage in data visualisation and communication of the impacts of disasters during deployments on the frontline, and such working efforts paved the way for the development of the AHA Centre and MapAction’s formal partnership.
This recently signed MoI will ensure that a range of activities will be undertaken with a focus to mutually-beneficial outcomes for both the AHA Centre and MapAction. Under the MoI, MapAction will engage their skills and experience to support the development and implementation of emergency management in the region by providing GIS-based mapping support for ASEAN-ERAT deployments to regional and international emergency response operations, as well as providing GIS-based remote mapping material support for the AHA Centre upon request. Accordingly, the AHA Centre will support MapAction’s work by facilitating access to disaster-affected areas, including obtaining visas and customs clearance for MapAction’s equipment, and also identifying and facilitating potential collaboration opportunities between ASEAN Member States and MapAction to enhance information management and the use of GIS in emergency preparedness and response efforts.
The two parties will also embark on a range of shared projects, with the aim to strengthen the long-term sustainability and development of disaster management capacity in the ASEAN region. Such efforts will include a jointly-developed training curriculum for an ASEAN-ERAT specialised course on GIS mapping and technology, alongside practising joint deployment within the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) and ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise (ARF DiREx) implementations. Such mutually-beneficial partnerships form a key element of the AHA Centre’s partnership strategy, as summed up by the AHA Centre’s Executive Director Ms. Adelina Kamal,
“The knowledge and practical skills shared by MapAction through joint training and exercises will allow the AHA Centre and our ASEAN-ERAT members to better assist the disaster-affected country and enhance coordination with other humanitarian actors in line with the spirit of One ASEAN One Response.”
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre, MapAction
TÉLÉCOMS SANS FRONTIÈRES
Connecting People During Emergencies
Télécoms Sans Fontières (TSF) was founded in 1998 and is currently the world’s leading non-profit emergency telecommunications organisation. TSF provides emergency communications facilities for affected populations and humanitarian aid workers during disasters. TSF has an established office in the United States, as well as three operational bases in France, Nicaragua, and Thailand. Over the last 20 years, TSF has developed a roster of worldwide IT and telecoms specialists, ready for deployment within a few hours’ notice of the onset of a disaster. TFS has built its reputation as one of the first responders on the ground when disaster strikes. TFS is also part of the first responder for the UN Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, and also a member of the UN Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET). TSF is also engaged as a partner of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
October 2010 was the first time ASEAN facilitated TSF’s deployment within ASEAN Member States, during the response to the Mentawai earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. This deployment was initiated at the request of the Office of the President of Indonesia, and in coordination with the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB). Since 2017, ASEAN, through the AHA Centre, has engaged TSF to train ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) regarding emergency ICT processes. The relationship between the AHA Centre and TSF has since been formalised through a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) signed on the 5th of January 2018. The MOI clarifies the facilitation of cooperation, and exchange of information, assets and ideas of mutual interest and benefit for both entities. Through the MOI, TSF also re-affirms its commitment to support ASEAN in enhancing the capacity of ASEAN ERAT for emergency ICT preparedness and response–a key element in the overall One ASEAN, One Response vision.
The partnership between AHA Centre and TSF involves cooperation on preparedness, as well as during emergency responses. Preparedness activities include training and joint deployment to exercises. Insofar, TSF has supported the implementation of three ASEAN-ERAT induction courses since April 2017. For emergency response, this partnership is crucial to support the deployment of ASEAN-ERAT, particularly during early stages when telecommunication systems are usually down.
“Emergency telecommunication will also serve as the backbone to support the role of ASEAN-ERAT in facilitating the coordination of ASEAN response on the ground. During an emergency, TSF will deploy its experts alongside ASEAN-ERAT responders to support their communication. Deployment of TSF experts and their equipment will also leverage ASEAN-ERAT’s capacity to extend our emergency communication support for the affected government and other institutions,” stated Janggam Adhityawarma, Assistant Director for Preparedness & Response with the AHA Centre.
The AHA Centre and TSF will continue to support each other during emergency deployments and through capacity building exercises. We are now looking forward to conduct a joint deployment for the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) 2018 in Indonesia, to further develop our collaboration in supporting affected ASEAN Member States in times of disaster.
Written by : Carla Budiarto | Photo : AHA Centre/Dandi Rahman
PARTNERSHIP GROUP (APG)
The AADMER Partnership Group (APG) is a consortium of seven international civil society organisations, formed to support the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). The APG works with the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (SCDM) and its Working Groups, the AHA Centre, and the ASEAN Secretariat, aiming towards a “people-centred implementation of AADMER”. It undertakes this function by raising awareness of AADMER, and by facilitating the engagement of civil society organisations throughout AADMER discussions and implementation. Currently, the APG operates in seven ASEAN Member States, namely, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. The APG’s members comprise of representatives from ChildFund International, HelpAge International, Mercy Malaysia, Oxfam, Plan Pnternational, Save the Children International, and World Vision International.
The APG forms the bridge between ASEAN’s work in disaster management and the key stakeholders within civil society organisations – whose proximity and reach with local communities forms a key element of all disaster management processes. Through a working partnership with the APG, the AHA Centre (and other ASEAN bodies) can ensure increased participation and understanding within the communities they serve. Since 2009, the AADMER Partnership Group has been working closely alongside the ACDM and its Working Groups, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the AHA Centre, on the implementation of AADMER for the ASEAN region. During these early years, ASEAN governments and the APG identified proposed areas of partnership between ASEAN and civil society organisations – including in disaster risk assessment and early warning – as well as practical actions towards preparedness, prevention and mitigation of disaster.
The APG works with the AHA Centre throughout a range of its programmes and process developments, ensuring the all-important community engagement aspect is present throughout the AHA Centre’s efforts. APG members have also been very active in supporting the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) programme, as well as sending representatives to take part in the ASEAN ERAT trainings either as participants, trainers or observers. The APG often collaborates with the AHA Centre during disaster response, providing great support within a number of response efforts such as Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and the Myanmar floods in 2015.
The group also played a key role in the AHA Centre’s development of a lessons learned document after Typhoon Haiyan. The involvement of the APG ensured valuable and relevant local insight and feedback within this outcome. Currently, the APG – in consultation with the AHA Centre – are developing a concept note on a Regional Alliance for Collective Emergency Response (RACER), under the CSO Partnership Framework (ACPF), and as part of the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme 2016-2020.
Dr. Heng Aik Cheng of MERCY Malaysia, and the Chair of the APG, emphasised the importance of the partnership during the recent One ASEAN One Response workshop in Jakarta, stating that the strength of civil society organisations lies in their proximity with populations affected by disaster. Staff from such organisations speak the local language, and are best placed to deliver important information and engage local stakeholders in the early stages of emergencies. Such a context is also highly valuable for preparedness engagements, therefore underlying the importance of partnerships such as seen between the APG and AHA Centre.
Written by : Carla Budiarto | Photo : AHA Centre