Vol 80 – THE DELSA SATELLITE WAREHOUSE IN CHAINAT, THAILAND: A SYMBOL OF COLLABORATION IN DISASTER RESPONSE
THE DELSA SATELLITE WAREHOUSE IN CHAINAT, THAILAND:
A SYMBOL OF COLLABORATION IN DISASTER RESPONSE
More than two years have passed since the DELSA Satellite Warehouse in Chainat Province, Thailand, was launched in December 2019.
As part of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA), the warehouse was designed to increase the speed and scale of ASEAN’s collective response in the region, mainly in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, and is equipped with international-standard stockpiles adjusted to ASEAN needs. It also complements the existing regional reserves stored at the DELSA Regional Stockpile located within the compound of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Subang, Malaysia, and the DELSA sister satellite warehouse located in Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippines that was launched in July 2019.
Relief items stored at the Chainat warehouse range from kits to be distributed to disaster-affected communities, to vital equipment needed to support on-the-ground operations of the National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) of affected countries and the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT).
Since its inauguration, the DELSA Satellite Warehouse in Chainat has continued to serve as the central logistics hub for the Mekong subregion. From June 2020 – December 2021, the warehouse deployed 2,900 Personal Hygiene Kits (PHK) to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) of Cambodia, and 2,100 personal hygiene kits and 50 Family Tents to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) of Thailand, to support the ongoing COVID-19 response in both countries.
Key to the successful operationalisation of the DELSA Satellite Warehouse are the partnerships forged between the AHA Centre, as the primary regional coordinating agency in disaster management within the ASEAN region, and the many countries and institutions with concern for the issue of disaster management and response.
The warehouse was built with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and the Ministry of Interior of Thailand to the DELSA project, while its stockpiles are sourced from the contributions of the ASEAN Member States and the AHA Centre’s partners, both public and private sector. In terms of management, the warehouse is co-managed by DDPM Thailand and the AHA Centre. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AHA Centre and DDPM was signed on Thailand for the establishment of the satellite warehouse in Chainat, Thailand, to house the ASEAN stockpile for immediate deployment in the nearby region.
The AHA Centre will continue to foster meaningful regional and global partnerships to achieve an envisioned fully-integrated regional warehouse system that enables faster response, greater resource mobilisation, and stronger coordination in collective response to disasters in line with the Roadmap for Enhancing ASEAN Emergency Logistics.
Written by : Gladys Respati | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
STRENGTHENING GENDER-RESPONSIVE DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Recognizing that gender mainstreaming is important in disaster management, the AHA Centre has partnered in the past years with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, or UN Women. A global champion for gender equality, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on women’s and girl’s rights worldwide. Alongside other United Nations partners, UN Women’s collaborations with the AHA Centre fall under the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management (JSPADM).
With the adoption of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response Work Programme 2021-2025, ASEAN has taken gender and social inclusion as a guiding principle for the implementation of all its disaster management work. Through an ECHO-funded programme called “Strengthening Gender-Responsive Disaster Management in ASEAN,” UN Women works in close collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Technical Working Group on Protection, Gender, and Inclusion, of which the AHA Centre is a key member, to support operationalization of this guiding principle.
The AHA Centre and UN Women have partnered to provide disaster management actors in the region with capacity strengthening on gender and social inclusion, Alongside sister agencies UNFPA and UNICEF, UN Women has delivered courses to officials from ASEAN national disaster management organizations on rapid assessments for women and children. UN Women and UNFPA also contribute to AHA Centre initiatives such as the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics Innovation Expo (HELiX) through organizing dialogues on accountability in humanitarian logistics, and providing key “musts” for hackathon participants to consider in their solutions to not widen the gender digital gap.
Building on ASEAN momentum in strengthening risk governance to become more responsive to the needs of women, girls, and marginalized groups, UN Women emphasizes the critical importance of also recognizing their roles as leaders and agents of change in disaster management. The launch of the ASEAN Regional Framework on Protection, Gender, and Inclusion in Disaster Management 2021-2025 in October 2021 marked a key step forward in this. The AHA Centre continues to have a key role to play in operationalizing target actions including for the leadership of those most impacted by disasters. For example, the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook notes that women only form 25% of regional Emergency Response and Assessment Team trainers and members, even though women make up 50.1% of the ASEAN population – partnerships with organizations like UN Women can support in creating enabling environments for increasing not only the number of women on teams, but also their influence and voice.
With strong policies and strengthened capacities and understanding on gender, the next step is to implement the frameworks into concrete actions. Substantive progress has already been made to better understand the impacts of disasters on those most vulnerable. Moving forward, supporting and resourcing women’s organizations and gender machineries in the ASEAN region which have contributed to the gender-responsive disaster risk reduction is key.
As the AHA Centre enters its second decade of operations, it will continue to draw upon and exchange experiences with UN Women on gender-responsive disaster management and response, contributing to a more equal, resilient region for all.
Written by : Judith Garcia Meese | Photo Credit : Doc. UN Women
BUILDING PARTNERSHIP IN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Constructive engagement and networking with partners are among the key strengths of the AHA Centre.
A strong example of this can be found in the recent staging of the AHAckathon app design and programming competition in October, a component of the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics Innovation Expo (HELiX) held in May this year, organised by the AHA Centre and the Viet Nam Disaster Management Agency.The AHAckathon united more than 50 participants in seven teams from 11 countries from ASEAN and beyond in fostering new innovative ideas and solving contemporary challenges in the field of humanitarian logistics and disaster management. Key to the success of this competition was the partnership between the AHA Centre and Impact Week, a non-profit organisation and programme dedicated to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship through the concept of Design Thinking.
Impact Week has been running similar events to the AHAckathon since 2015 with over 2,000 students involved in the past, and Impact Week’s latest partnership with the AHA Centre was brought about through mutual partnership with HELP Logistics, another longtime network of the AHA Centre and sponsor of Impact Week Jordan 2019.
As has been the case with many organisations, the pandemic in 2020 necessitated transition to virtual events, including HELiX itself and the AHAckathon. Impact Week’s expertise was crucial in this successful transition and the execution of the AHAckathon as a fully virtual event. Furthermore, the AHAckathon was special both because of its focus as an app programming competition, and the next-level integration of the Discord messaging software and MURAL collaborative design board as the platform for the competition – an aspect consistently praised by the participants, alongside the learning experience with humanitarian-logistics and disaster-management experts. In this regard, the execution of the AHAckathon as a fully-online event was also further enhanced by the usage of launchlabs’ Berlin virtual studio and green screen, a key technical implementation by Impact Week and launchlabs, which resulted in the online event’s top-class professional quality streaming and recording.
Another key contribution and support from Impact Week in the AHAckathon’s execution was the steadfast and circumspect guidance of the coaches in guiding the participant teams through the Design Thinking approach to systematically reframe and conceptualise the challenges in the competition, enabling them to truly develop and implement their innovative ideas into working app prototypes aimed at solving the relevant issues and needs present in the field of humanitarian logistics.
In conclusion, with its fruitful discussions, ideas and engagement with partners, the AHAckathon has been a constructive experience and example of the strengths of innovation and cooperation; key aspects that will certainly shape the next steps of the AHA Centre especially as it entered its 10th anniversary in November this year.
Written by : Yohanes Paulus, DELSA Programme Assistant | Photo Credits: AHA Centre and Michael Koegel
The AHA Centre recently held the AHAckathon Competition, where several teams from different countries worked on developing a mobile app to find solutions in disaster management. The exciting three-day event would not have been possible without the help of partners like launchlabs.
Innovation consultant Tobias Wosowiecki explained what launchlabs is all about. “What launchlabs is doing is all around innovation and also around cultural change. The world is becoming more and more complex. We are helping clients and organisations act like successful start-ups, which means they are really agile and flexible as they are changing the culture. And how they are changing their solutions, like when they are getting information from end-users. We are doing that with the approach of agile frameworks, like design thinking, scrum, lean start-up.”
For this approach, launchlabs has three pillars. “The first pillar is called learninglabs, where the teams will learn to understand and apply methods for human-centered and agile innovation development, enabling them to develop new products, services or business models that their customers really need in a playful and risk-free manner” said Tobias, or Toby to his friends and colleagues.
The second pillar is called projectlabs, where clients change the way they approach complex strategic and innovation project without a clear solution path. Launchlabs facilitates and enables the entire innovation process as experts for agile work from the first planning session all the way to implementation. “We are helping people to create their own ideas. This is our main work.
And with that we are using different kinds of frameworks, like what we did with the AHAckathon. At the end of a specific time, we come up with prototypes that we can test and implement in the system,” he said.
The third pillar is called culturelabs, which is all about building a sustainable agile corporate culture. “The culture needs to grow and change sometimes. We are helping our clients create and design agile work environments. Especially now that we’re going through a pandemic. We’re creating virtual working environments. All of that means change. In this kind of field, we become more like coaches. And all of this needs communication. That is the underlying theme of these three pillars.”
Launchlabs partnered with the AHA Centre for the HELiX AHAckathon Competition. The challenge of using technology to find solutions for disaster management was posed to students from different countries of the ASEAN region. “Before you can start a hackathon, you need a problem. This is what we created together with the AHA Centre. We created six different challenges that teams could choose from. We needed to find the right problems. Part of the pre-work was to find the right problems and frame challenges. So it’s easier to understand what the problem is, try to solve it as well, and who are the users inside it,” Toby explained.
Students from the different countries of the ASEAN region joined the three-day competition, forming teams and collaborating among themselves in coming up with the best app to solve disaster-management issues. The teams showcased past disasters in their respective countries and the solutions they came up with in the areas of logistics, emergency response, coordination and communication.
“All the teams focused on the users. That was what we tried to achieve. In this context, when we are trying to solve problems, we are not solving it for ourselves, but for other people. We are trying to understand the situation. They designed the platform but never really lost their focus on the end user.”
Being part-Indonesian, Toby understood the cultural aspects of handling, mentoring and coaching teams for the AHAckathon. “We should not lose the connection with people when looking for solutions. With my experience, when it comes to collaboration, the Asian culture is supporting it. Asia has a strong culture of working together,” he said.
“The AHA Centre does really important work. I have learned many things about disasters through this partnership. We have a better understanding of how to solve them. I think that Germany could have handled the recent disaster in a better way, which is mainly due to the fact that we are not so experienced with such disasters” said Toby, recalling the July 2021 floods that inundated parts of Germany. He notes that in Asian countries, people come together, help each other and collaborate during disasters. “I think this collaboration can really help us, especially the European collaboration with the AHA Centre. We have much to learn from Asian countries.”
“Collaboration is all that you need, collaboration is the main thing you do to provide the help. The main goal is to get the help to affected areas fast.” On his views of the role of technology in disaster management, “Technology is definitely helping us organise ourselves. But what I also believe is that we should not lose focus on people affected by these disasters, not lose the personal connection. This is the challenge we have to tackle with integrating technology more. Technology solves problems, but the people who are affected in flooded areas, they still need that human contact,” he added.
Written by : Judith Garcia Meese | Photo Credit : AHA Centre and Launchlabs
ANGIN AND HELiX,
FORGING THE LINK BETWEEN INNOVATORS AND INVESTORS
When the AHA Centre planned the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Innovation Expo (HELiX), which was held virtually from 24 to 25 May, it sought a partner to work collaboratively with in the event and to connect HELiX with the investment network. Having worked previously with Mr Ilham Nugraha, Resource Mobilisation Officer of the AHA Centre, Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN) was happy to join HELiX and offer support for particular activities in the event.
ANGIN is always in search of greater innovation in solving key emergency and development issues. This is not just the aim of the ANGIN team but also its investors who are committed to going beyond merely generating financial returns. They, therefore, saw HELiX as a fine opportunity to source and access the pipeline of ideas and innovations across ASEAN. ANGIN provided support by being part of the iPitch judging panel, where it used its experience to best provide an overview of the performance of the contestants’ ideation toward the next stage. ANGIN also extended support by providing coaching sessions for the iPitch winners to strengthen their knowledge and to connect to the investing network in order to sell their ideas.
ANGIN Investment runs the largest early-stage investment platform in Indonesia, acting as a bridge between the investors and entrepreneurs in fundraising. It has invested in more than 110 entrepreneurs leveraging a network of more than 130 investors. Meanwhile ANGIN Advisory provides consulting services to the private and public sectors on key projects related to entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Goals. It has developed a strong track record in terms of research, program implementation, events and policy advisory.
ANGIN had worked with several partners in Indonesia in terms of emergency response such as COVID-19, migrant integration and even after the 2018 tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, but HELiX was the first time ANGIN had the privilege of collaborating at the regional level.
What ANGIN hopes to achieve is to be able to support more entrepreneurs in their journey to building solutions for disaster management. The team, investors and partners believe they can be instrumental in providing these entrepreneurs with the capital to start and grow their ventures, and the access to key networks and to solid industry insights.
Going forward and in light of the fact that ANGIN has worked with young innovators in many sectors, particularly in innovation, it feels that there is much that can be improved upon in the disaster-management sector, particularly with regard to innovation and youth participation.
First and foremost, what is required is more speed. In disaster management, speed is critical, and ANGIN would like to see greater speed in terms of development, first pilot and full deployment. The development time frame is frequently too long. In the solutions that ANGIN has seen launched in response to COVID-19, the time has been drastically foreshortened and innovations, for instance vaccines and testing, have been launched in months when previously it would have taken years.
ANGIN is also seeking to upscale the reach and depth of impact. Too many innovations remain too “local” and lack the power to be seen being deployed in other regions, issues or among other populations. Scale is really a mindset that entrepreneurs should embrace and ANGIN in collaboration with the AHA Centre hopes to achieve that in the future.
Written by : Ilham Nugraha & Michael Hillary Hegarty
PAVING THE WAY FOR INNOVATION THROUGH iPITCH
The concept of the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Innovation Expo (HELiX) did not come naturally to the AHA Centre. HELiX started as a part of the DELSA Phase II project – a continuation and expanded version of DELSA, a programme that has been implemented by the AHA Centre since 2012. Initially, the concept of HELiX was simply to provide a discussion forum for logistics experts in ASEAN. However, the AHA Centre saw an opportunity to expand HELiX into a marketplace for ideas to support the improvement of humanitarian logistics in the region, bringing in experts from both the commercial and non-commercial sectors. What began as a simple idea about a forum turned into the most ambitious virtual series of events conducted by the AHA Centre to date.
One of the newly included ideas was iPITCH, an innovation-pitching competition aimed at promoting available innovations to solve the humanitarian logistics challenges of the ASEAN Member States and humanitarian communities in the ASEAN region. The idea for iPITCH originated from pitching competitions conducted by investors or technology companies for new and emerging start-ups. Similarly, the AHA Centre sought to use HELiX as an opportunity to select the best innovations in humanitarian logistics and introduce them to a broader audience of potential users and investors. iPITCH adopted three start-up stages of innovation – Ideation, Prototype and Scale-up – as categories in the competition. What made IPITCH unique was that the ideas submitted should answer challenges in the ASEAN region in terms of humanitarian logistics and supply-chain management.
The process of iPITCH started with a call for ideas from innovators in the ASEAN region and beyond. The AHA Centre then invited eight selected ideas to be presented in the Final Pitch on 25 May 2021. The innovators of the eight selected ideas came from academic and research institutions, humanitarian organisations and the private sector. On the panel of judges were representatives from the ASEAN Member States, the Government of Japan as a donor for the DELSA Phase II project, Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN) and the Temasek Foundation as supporting partners of HELiX, as well as the AHA Centre.
From the eight pitches, the competition was narrowed down to three ideas selected as winners in the Final Pitch. Fleet for Emergency from FleetHelp from Indonesia, a software engineering company based in Indonesia, won the Opal Award as the winner in the Ideation category. The team described Fleet for Emergency as an integrated platform that aims to effectively manage and maximise the speed of emergency fleet operations. The platform uses descriptive and predictive analysis to assist humanitarian organisations in managing and facilitating relief aid distribution.
Next, winning the Sapphire Award in the Prototype category, was the team from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) from the Philippines, with their idea titled the Padayon Donation Matching App. Deriving from the team’s first-hand experience during the eruption of the Mount Taal volcano in the Philippines in January 2020, the application aims to help the management of donations by connecting donors with the deserving recipients during emergencies, in order to avoid discrepancies in donation distribution. This idea also won for the AIM the audience’s vote and the team took home the Diamond, or Community Choice, Award.
Last but not least was the Logistics Institute Asia-Pacific (TLIAP GO) team from the National University Singapore (NUS) with their idea THINKLog – Humanitarian Logistics Mode, which won the Ruby Award as the winner in the Scale-up category. Quoting from their description, ThinkLog is a board game designed as an expandable interactive learning framework for logistics and supply-chain management. As a learning framework, the game has been developed to cover different scenarios, concepts and challenges in logistics. The game aims to complement teaching and learning activities in classrooms and workshops by introducing supply-chain management concepts through role-playing and simulation.
The introduction of these innovative ideas will hopefully widen the options for the ASEAN Member States and humanitarian communities in the ASEAN region in solving their humanitarian logistics challenges, increase logistics preparedness and ease actual logistics operations during emergencies. In the end, the AHA Centre expects iPITCH to be a trigger for more discussions and collaboration to promote innovations in humanitarian logistics.
HELiX itself is not over yet. A virtual software-hacking competition titled AHAckathon will be held in October 2021 as the next item on the agenda to bring out more ideas and innovations to support humanitarian logistics in the region.
Written by : Caroline Widagdo
AHA CENTRE SIGNING TWO AGREEMENTS TO MAKE THE REGION MORE DISASTER RESILIENT
In a signing ceremony that was held virtually during the AADMER Partnership Conference (APC) on 8 June, 2021, the AHA Centre signed two agreements that will strengthen disaster management in the region.
As the primary regional coordinating agency in disaster management in the region, the AHA Centre in cooperation with the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of the Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Thailand (DDPM Thailand) will work together to ensure the speedy efficiency and scale of the ASEAN response in the Mekong sub-region. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AHA Centre and DDPM Thailand involves the establishment of the DELSA satellite warehouse in Chainat, Thailand to house the ASEAN stockpile for immediate deployment in the neighbouring countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam. The warehouse was officially launched in 2019. Right after the launch, the AHA Centre and DDPM Thailand have worked closely in operationalising the warehouse, including deploying relief items to support COVID-19 response in the Mekong region.
Director-General of DDPM Thailand Mr. Boontham Lertsukekasem said that the establishment and operationalisation of the satellite warehouse in Chainat was in line with the Roadmap for Enhancing ASEAN Emergency Logistics, which aims to advance ASEAN’s long-term vision of achieving a faster response, more resources and stronger coordination for a collective response. “We expect that the establishment of the satellite warehouse will play an important and critical role in ensuring a timely and effective ASEAN response,” said Mr. Boontham.
The AHA Centre also signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) with Singapore’s Temasek Foundation on cooperation and the exchange of expertise in the field of disaster management and emergency response in the ASEAN region. The cooperation aims to assess risk, to improve the readiness to respond and to build platforms for information exchange and the coordination of logistics.
Chief Executive of Temasek Foundation International Mr. Benedict Cheong explained that there was scope for much greater collaboration and coordination in disaster response among the many stakeholders in the ASEAN communities. The MoI will take the partnership of the AHA Centre and the Temasek Foundation to the next level with a better exchange of information and more meaningful collaboration.
“We look forward to working hand in glove with the AHA Centre to build more crisis-resilient communities in the ASEAN region. Ultimately this will lead to a better shared future for all in the ASEAN region, and indeed in Asia and beyond,” Mr Cheong added.
Executive Director of the AHA Centre Ms. Adelina Kamal expressed her gratitude on behalf of the AHA Centre and ASEAN Member States for the MoU with DDPM Thailand and the MoI with the Temasek Foundation, as well as the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), for its generous support and contribution to the establishment of the satellite warehouse. The DELSA satellite warehouse in Chainat, along with its sister in the Philippines and the regional stockpile in Subang, Malaysia, is an integral part of ASEAN’s collective response. “Moving forward, I hope that the DELSA satellite warehouse in Chainat can also serve as a platform for other partners and the wider ASEAN community, including the ASEAN people, to contribute to One ASEAN One Response”, Ms. Adelina said.
Collaboration with the Temasek Foundation started during the response to the triple disasters in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, in 2018 and continued recently with the Temasek Foundation donating 1.5 million reusable masks through the AHA Centre. Furthermore, the Temasek Foundation was one of the partners in the Humanitarian Emergency and Logistic Innovation Expo (HELiX) held in May. “I am confident that our partnership will grow even stronger, because in the past three years, we’ve built trust and familiarity, as well as shared mutual passion, to make our region more disaster resilient. And these for us at the AHA Centre are the key ingredients to successful partnership,” Ms. Adelina concluded.
Written by : Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
EU-ASEAN BLUE BOOK 2021
In conjunction with the celebration of the 44 years of partnership between the two regions, the European Union (EU) Mission to ASEAN officially launched the EU-ASEAN Blue Book 2021 on Friday, 7 May 2021. The sixth edition of the Blue Book highlights the cooperation between the two regions, including the partnership with the AHA Centre through the Integrated Programme in Enhancing the Capacity of the AHA Centre and ASEAN Emergency Response Mechanisms (EU-SAHA) project.
The EU Ambassador to ASEAN H.E. Mr. Igor Driesmans explained that the book illustrated how the diverse cooperation had a tangible impact on individuals and communities. “The EU and ASEAN became strategic partners based on our shared values of effective multilateralism and rules-based international order. We have come so far as partner regions, having stepped up our relations to strategic economic, political, development and security cooperation,” he said during the virtual launch.
One of the important elements of cooperation highlighted in the book is how to reduce disasters caused by natural hazards. The chapter features the EU-SAHA project, which was officially launched in January 2020. The EU provided support worth EUR 8 million aimed at strengthening the capacity of the AHA Centre, to achieve operational excellence in disaster monitoring and emergency response. This project is implemented through a combination of a direct grant to the AHA Centre, as well as capacity building by EU Member States’ civil protection agencies through the LACER project.
Executive Director of the AHA Centre, Ms Adelina Kamal, quoted in the book chapter, stressed that the project would also benefit the ASEAN Member States through its support for a number of capacity-building activities, workshops and other events. “The support from the European Union through this project is crucial for the AHA Centre to ensure its continuing development. It allows the Centre to develop its internal mechanism and expand at the same time,” she said.
The book also highlighted a success story from the LACER project as part of the EU-SAHA programme. Implemented by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and the Estonia Rescue Board (ERB), LACER provides capacity-building support to the AHA Centre through a series of knowledge-sharing activities. The first phase of the project is designed to lay the foundations of the project’s work with the AHA Centre.
“It’s important to build our relationship with the AHA Centre on trust, and despite the pandemic we have managed to do just that.”
Mr. Carl Johan Breitholtz, LACER project manager, concluded.
Written by : Moch Syifa
Vol 72 – AHA CENTRE AND ERCC, SHARING THE SAME VALUES AND DNA – POOLING REGIONAL RESOURCES ESSENTIAL IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT
AHA CENTRE AND ERCC, SHARING THE SAME VALUES AND DNA
POOLING REGIONAL RESOURCES ESSENTIAL IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Disasters are no respecter of developed or developing nation status, they can strike anywhere in the world, either as a result of natural phenomena or man-made causes. The key to mitigating such disasters is of course planning and preparation, and in the European Union (EU) the organisation mandated with the responsibility of delivering assistance to disaster-stricken areas, whether in EU member states or overseas, is the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC). The Column looks at the role of the ERCC and examines how it can assist ASEAN in terms of disaster management.
The ERCC describes itself as the heart of the EU civil protection mechanism. It coordinates the delivery of assistance in the event of disasters, providing relief items, expertise, civil protection teams, specialised equipment and much else. The centre ensures the rapid deployment of emergency support and acts as a coordination hub for all EU member states, as well as the United Kingdom and six additional participating states, and the affected country and civil protection and humanitarian experts. The ERCC operates around the clock and can help any country affected by a major disaster upon request from the national authorities or a United Nations body.
Since its inception in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has responded to over 420 requests for assistance inside and outside the EU. In developing countries, civil protection assistance typically goes hand in hand with EU humanitarian aid. Experts in both fields work closely together to ensure the most coherent analysis and response, particularly in response to complex emergencies.
A reserve of pre-committed assistance is maintained on standby that can be immediately deployed. These resources provide a fast and coherent European response when the need arises. The quality of the response is ensured through the establishment of specific criteria and a certification process. The ERCC can identify any gaps in European assistance and propose how these gaps can be covered, through financial support from the EU. Pooling member nations’ assistance at a European level boosts the efficiency of the response to any given disaster and can avoid duplication of relief efforts and ensure that assistance is tailored to the needs of those affected.
In early 2020 the EU announced it would launch a EUR 10 million programme to support the AHA Centre, in the form of the “Integrated Programme in Enhancing the Capacity of AHA Centre and ASEAN Emergency Response Mechanisms” or EU-SAHA. This new initiative is designed to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of the centre to achieve operational excellence in disaster monitoring and emergency response; and to enhance mechanisms for the ASEAN leadership to respond as one, through excellence and innovation in disaster management, along the lines of the ERCC model.
Additional support from the European Union was provided through a separate project called “Leveraging ASEAN Capacities for Emergency Response” (LACER), which is implemented by a consortium consisting of the Swedish Civil Contingency Agency (MSB) and the Estonian Rescue Board (ERB). The project is looking to strengthen potential collaboration between the AHA Centre and the European counterparts, in particular through sharing of experiences, knowledge sharing, and capacity building. The AHA Centre was able to engage the ERCC through the support of this project. On 26 January 2021, the LACER project conducted its first webinar to introduce to the AHA Centre the systems and mechanism of the ERCC. Mr. Ionut Homeag, the Team Leader at ERCC, was invited as a speaker to share his knowledge and experiences.
Speaking after the signing of the agreement at the ASEAN Secretariat on January 27, 2020, EU Ambassador to ASEAN H.E. Igor Driesmans stressed the regional approach to dealing with disaster through jointly pooled ASEAN Member States’ expertise and assets managed by the AHA Centre. This presents not only a workable model but also a mechanism to deal with the transboundary nature of disasters, especially climate-induced events, which require strong collaboration and partnership, as has achieved by the EU under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EU-CPM) and shepherded by the ERCC, an entity that shares the same values and DNA as the AHA Centre.
There will be several exchanges between the AHA Centre and the ERCC within the framework of the LACER project, aimed at establishing a platform for mutual ASEAN – EU exchange on the institutional as well as the peer-to-peer level.
Written by : Hillary Michael Hegarty | EU/ECHO/Ezequiel Scagnetti
AHA CENTRE TO COLLABORATE WITH THE ANTICIPATION HUB
Being prepared for disaster requires anticipating all aspects that may arise, and sees anticipatory action gathering a greater focus at the global and regional level. Recognising this, the AHA Centre is coming together with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to engage with the Anticipation Hub. The Column spoke to a number of key leaders within the Anticipation Hub system to get their insights into the AHA Centre’s engagement and the values of the AHA Centre joining the Anticipation Hub.
The Anticipation Hub is an online knowledge and exchange platform that supports practitioners, scientists and policymakers to utilise anticipatory action in the humanitarian sector – with the overall aim to reduce disaster risk and adapt to climate change. Hosted by the German Red Cross in cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Hub is also supported by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, with funding support from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office.
The Anticipation Hub’s Head, Alexandra Rueth told us that “collaboration between the Anticipation Hub and the AHA Centre will put into action our commitment to implementing more anticipatory action, and subsequently reducing the impacts of climate change”. “Our collective approach to sharing knowledge, exchanging experiences and joint advocacy will strengthen our capacity to reduce disaster risk and protect lives of the most vulnerable both in the ASEAN region and globally”, she explained.
The importance of the partnership was also highlighted by Jan Gelfand, the Head of Delegation, Country Cluster Delegation for Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Representative to ASEAN, when he said “The partnership will allow us to move forward together on commitments made to reduce the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable communities, enabling regional disaster management bodies such as the AHA Centre to provide effective and timely support ahead of crises”. Mr Gelfand also spoke of the role of anticipatory action across the region, by stating that “There is an increased focus of anticipatory action at regional level as well as in the AADMER Work Programme. The Anticipation Hub can offer support via trainings, concrete advocacy messages and facilitating connections with relevant stakeholders, such as research institutes and universities”. “Together we can enable the integration of anticipatory action into national disaster risk management systems” he concluded.
Providing further insight into the working value of the partnership, the Regional Forecast-based Financing Coordinator for IFRC Asia Pacific, Mr. Raymond Zingg explained the role of the parties within the hub, and how they bring value to the overall anticipatory action efforts. “The Anticipation Hub will enable further learning and exchange of practices and methodologies for enabling anticipatory action in new and emerging settings, including conflict and disease outbreaks”, Mr Zingg said, while also stating that “it will facilitate innovation between global and regional partners on topics such as impact-based forecasting for multiple hazards”.
Mr Zingg finished by saying “We want to provide faster, more effective and more dignified humanitarian assistance – the new normal is anticipatory action – and continued collaboration/ coordination and technical knowledge exchange is crucial to make this happen”. These thoughts were echoed by the AHA Centre’s Executive Director Ms Adelina Kamal when she emphasised the need for the ASEAN region to shift from reacting to anticipating disasters, especially to manage the increasing frequency, intensity and impact of disasters.
“The Anticipation Hub has a vital role to play in creating and sharing this evidence to influence behaviour change and facilitate this resulting systemic change in mind-set.”
-Ms. Adelina Kamal
Written by : Moch Syifa, William Shea