/ / AHA Centre Diary 2


During October 2019, participants in the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme batch sixth undertook a range of activities in their journey towards becoming ASEAN’s disaster management leaders. The following diary entries were developed by the team to reflect on their engagements during the month.

After ACE Programme participants returned from New Zealand, the beginning of October saw them conduct a mid-term review. The activity reviewed the course and evaluated it against the four components that aim to be achieved by participants in the course.

Following this activity, participants then engaged in Camp Coordination and Management sessions with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The course covered several topics, including identifying actors, protection and vulnerable people, camp standards, and information management. During these sessions participants also learnt more about the complexity of human displacement including the differences between, for example, internal displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, as well as more about causes of their displacement (such as conflict or natural disaster).

From 14-16 October, ACE Programme participants then undertook in-depth learning on ASEAN-UN Civil-Military Coordination with UNOCHA-ROAP. The participants gained understanding of the essential elements to protect and promote humanitarian principles, avoid competency, minimise inconsistency, and pursue common goal with military actors in disaster response. Facilitators explained the basic principles, guidelines, and practical actions of ASEAN-UN Civil-Military Coordination, as it is essential for disaster managers to understand the framework of civil-military coordination in order to perform effective international relief operations.

Following this course, participants then undertook a two-day course on Crisis Leadership and System Thinking, which was facilitated by the Daniel K. Innouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI-APCSS), Hawaii. As the world becomes increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA), it is important for emerging leaders to improve skills in systems thinking, developing and implementing strategic approaches for future complex problems. The course included modules on complexity and systems thinking, futures thinking and crisis gaming. In this course, ACE Programme participants exercised their adaptability to rapid change by engaging in crisis games.

October then saw all ACE Programme participants travel to Japan to attend a course on Japan’s Recovery and Resilience, delivered by the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). This formed a unique visit as during the previous week some parts of Japan were impacted by Typhoon Hagibis, allowing participants a direct insight into the response and the recovery efforts after the typhoon. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was also one of the main themes of the study visit, which saw participants looking at disaster management from a slightly different angle – one that focuses on risk reduction, instead of response. Japan is well-known for its strong safety culture, with participants learning what was required to build such culture from the visit to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT), who oversees disaster prevention and response education in schools.

Participants also travelled from Tokyo to Tsukuba prefecture to visit the JAXA Tsukuba Space Centre, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience and the National Institute for Environmental Studies – all of who contribute to Japan’s Disaster Risk Reduction efforts in their areas of expertise. Another unique aspect introduced in during the visit related to the area of government-private partnerships, with participants taking part in a seminar organised by Japan International Public-Private Association for Disaster Risk Reduction (JIPAD). The week ended with participants travelling to Osaka and Kobe. As a large part of Osaka sits below sea-level, the participants learnt first-hand about the various infrastructure innovations that the government has put in place to protect the city.

Written by : Rina Nur Hafizah, Sridewanto Edi Pinuji, Amelia Justina Lim, Ram Chum Mang, Putri Mumpuni | Photo : AHA Centre