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October the 2nd 2019 saw the 11th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre take place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, which was followed by the 7th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM) and the 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) on October 4th. To round of the busy schedule, the Governing Board convened back-to-back with the 35th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and the 12th Meeting of the ASEAN Joint Task Force to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief – all of which took place between 1 – 3 of October.

The Governing Board received an update from the AHA Centre regarding a range of activities and programmes that had taken place throughout the previous period, including updates on such things as preparations for the 2020 ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX-2020) with the Philippines, implementation of Level 2 ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) courses, and the development of the ICT Roadmap on Disaster Management for 2025 and Beyond. The Governing Board also received updates on the development and launching of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System of ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouses – in both the Philippines and Thailand – that took place during the middle of 2019.

Of particular note to the Governing Board was the ongoing ASEAN Village recovery project, implemented by the AHA Centre in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. This project has utilised generous financial support from Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines to support communities affected by the earthquake, tsunami and liquefaction disasters that struck the region in September 2018. The AHA Centre also appreciated support from the Government of Australia to strengthen the project’s management, and highlighted the potential of further support arriving from other parties.

The Governing Board also encompassed and afforded support to the AHA Centre’s plan to – as part of its 8th anniversary – conduct a visioning exercise to re-think how the AHA Centre can further enhance its services to support ASEAN as the primary regional coordinating agency on disaster management and emergency response. The effort would include workshops to determine if AHA Centre could contribute towards the provision of humanitarian assistance during human-induced disasters. The Governing Board maintained that the AHA Centre must focus on its existing mandates through enhancing its core services in disaster management and emergency response, as well as ensuring synergy, adaptability and readiness of its systems, procedures and skills to potentially provide humanitarian assistance to other types of disasters.

The meeting also resulted in the Governing Board adopting the Financial Status of the AHA Centre, as well as the AHA Centre Budget for 2020. Recent successful external audits were also highlighted, with the AHA Centre successfully completing such audits for all externally funded projects through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) as well as the AHA Centre Fund. Options for strengthening financing mechanism will also be explored, to help ensure the region is more self-reliant in the funding of emergency response operations and deployment of ASEAN-ERAT.

Written by : William Shea | Photo Credit : AHA Centre