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Held two times each year, this instalment of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre was originally slated to be held during April 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 12th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre was re-scheduled into August 2020, and engaged the 10 National Disaster Management Organisations from ASEAN Member States to meet in an online environment.

With the situation meaning that the Philippines hosting a physical face-to-face meeting was no longer possible, the Governing Board agreed to implement it in an online fashion, making this the first time this key event has been undertaken online. The meeting was held back-to-back along with the 36th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), and the 13th Meeting of the Joint Task Force (JTF) to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). These events all took place from the 11 – 12 August 2020, with the 12th Meeting of the Governing Board taking place in the afternoon of August 12.

Similar to regular meetings of the Governing Board, the AHA Centre usually uses the forum to update the Governing Board of its activities spanning the period from the last such meeting, which in this case took place in October 2019. This year’s meeting was quite unique, not only because of the pandemic context, but also as 2020 forms the end of the AHA Centre’s 5-year work plan. The AHA Centre used this momentum to continue discussions on rethinking the vision and mission of the AHA Centre for the coming five years and beyond. The timing of the meeting was also in-sync with the Governing Board members (in their role as the ACDM) developing a new cycle of the AADMER Work Programme for 2021-2025.

In addition to discussions on rethinking the AHA Centre’s vision and mission, the meeting was also utilised to launch three key AHA Centre publications. The first was the AHA Centre Annual Report 2019, that focused on the theme of ‘Unfolding Future’, with the report highlighting the focus of the AHA Centre in 2019 towards continuing its expansion and development for the future. The second publication was the After-Action Review of the AHA Centre emergency response operations in 2018 – a year in which the AHA Centre responded to 7 back-to-back disaster events. Finally, the AHA Centre launched the second edition of the ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR), that focuses on the theme of Climate Emergencies. Named “Time is Running Out: Why ASEAN Must Act Now against Climate Emergencies”, the journal uses both historical data and the most up-to-date information, trends, and risk profiles of the ASEAN countries with regards to climate change and disasters.

The 12th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre was officially closed by Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, the Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense of the Philippines, who was serving as the Chairperson of the Governing Board. The 13th Meeting of the Governing is scheduled to be held at the end of November 2020, and will be most likely be once again held in an online environment.


Written by : Dipo Summa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre