/ / AHA Centre Diary 1


Big data and the array of supporting disaster-related information has the potential to enhance the quality of disaster management policies and activities across the ASEAN region. However, much scoping, learning and sharing is still to be undertaken to begin fully realising the potential of such data. Based on this, the AHA Centre invited disaster managers and information crunchers alike to begin exploring potential and opportunities by taking part in the ASEAN Workshop on Disaster Reporting and Big Data for Disaster Management, which was held in Jakarta on the 18th – 19th of March 2019.

The AHA Centre’s Executive Director, Ms. Adelina Kamal, highlighted the importance of this innovative event during her opening address. “Back-to-back disasters in the region have shown the importance of disaster reporting and harnessing data. Interoperability across systems of ASEAN Member States and the AHA Centre is also important to enable ASEAN to become the future global leader in disaster management. Furthermore, data intelligence system will increase speed, scale, and solidarity of One ASEAN One Response” she explained to the participants, made-up of delegates from the 10 ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Dialogue Partners, regional and international organisations, academic institutions, civil societies and the private sector.

The first of the workshop’s three panel discussions focused on the Introduction of Big Data and Internet of Things, introducing all in attendance to the concepts and potentials of big data, predictive analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IOT). The session included talks from Ms. Derval Usher (Head of Office, UN PulseLab Jakarta), Dr. Ismail Fahmi (CEO of Media Kernels Indonesia), and Mr. Syafri Bahar (Vice President of Data Science, GO-JEK). Following-on from this was a panel about Humanitarian Data and Applications to learn from existing use and trends of big data, predictive analytics, AI and IOT, and their applications for disaster management. Insights included from Mr. Yantisa Akhadi (Country Manager, Humanitarian OpenStreet Map), Mr. Faizal Thamrin (UNOCHA Humanitarian Data Exchange), and Dr. Daisuke Sasaki (Assistant Professor International Research Institute of Disaster Science – IRIDeS Japan). The panel sessions wound-up with a discussion on the Future of Humanitarian Data Intelligence, particularly within the ASEAN context, and was provided insights from Dr. Mizan Bisri (Post-doctoral Researcher, United Nations University Institute of Advanced Study of Sustainability Japan) and Mr. Ray Shirkhodai (Executive Director, Pacific Disaster Center based in Hawaii).

The second day of the workshop brought participants together through a group discussion on a wide range of topics related to the previous day’s content – and invited groups to relate the ideas and innovations to the current context within their own country. The resulting outcomes included recommendations for utilising data for more strategic humanitarian assistance, creating stronger connections between the AHA Centre and ASEAN Member States for more modern data collection and provision – particularly related to Big Data’s potential for stronger forecasting, and exploring potential challenges and opportunities for National Disaster Management Organisations to apply the valuable big data mechanisms. Potential was highlighted for the AHA Centre to engage universities in big data, to utilise potential of big data research, training and capacity building. In this regard, it may be a good the idea for the AHA Centre to have a collaboration with ASEAN University Network, among others. Challenges were also identified regarding data sharing and data protection policy, raising the need for the development of regional data governance mechanisms.


As the innovative and forward-thinking event came to its close, Mr. Yasushi Furukawa from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication highlighted the benefit of such efforts, from the perspective of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) as a key supporter of the workshop and the AHA Centre’s overall Information Communications and Technology programming. He stated that the Government of Japan was delighted to support and contribute to the implementation of the AHA Centre ICT Project since Phase I in 2011, continuing until now with ICT Phase IV. He expressed his great appreciation to the AHA Centre in organising such a workshop, and looks forward to the region recognising the potential that big data holds.


Written by : Shintya Kurniawan, Wiliam Shea | Photo : AHA Centre