STRENGTHENING ASEAN’S COLLECTIVE RESPONSE CAPACITY
Hundreds of disaster management and humanitarian actors from 10 ASEAN Member States and other countries gathered in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to witness the biggest disaster emergency response simulation exercise in the region, namely ARDEX.
ARDEX is the only regional exercise platform that tests and validates disaster management tools to improve preparedness and readiness for One ASEAN One Response. The results of the 3-day exercise acted as the catalyst for improvements and changes to many of these processes, including updating and refining the Standard Operating Procedure for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (SASOP). ARDEX-23 also presented the opportunity to engage bodies from both outside the direct disaster management scope, as well as outside the region, to further understand and increase implementation capacity of ASEAN disaster management process and practice, a particularly important element for efficient responses to large-scale disasters.
Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community H.E. Ekkaphab Phanthavong highlighted three important points aspects of ARDEX. First, ARDEX is crucial as it showcases that ASEAN is ablilitye to operate collectively as one in the event of a large-scale disaster in the region. Second, ARDEX is also vital for to testing all the components and elements in the ASEAN SOPs, including the role of the ASEAN Secretary-General of ASEAN as the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator or SG-AHAC. “Lastly, ARDEX is indeed useful in demonstrating the ASEAN solidarity to our global partners. It offers our partners the opportunity to witness the ASEAN collective response as well as to understand the ASEAN disaster management mechanism,” he said during the opening ceremony of ARDEX-23.
The Special Region of Yogyakarta was chosen as the location of ARDEX-23 as this region previously experienced a 6.5M earthquake in 2006 caused by the Opak Fault. By having ARDEX-23 in Yogyakarta, it is expected to also enhance the local and national capacity in the preparedness and response in case of a large-scale disaster hit in the area. “Yogyakarta also has its local wisdoms and experiences in managing disasters. This [ARDEX] will be a good opportunity to share these experiences with the ASEAN Member States,” added Head of the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) Lieutenant General TNI Suharyanto in his opening speech.
Through ARDEX, he added, Indonesia and the ASEAN Member States is able to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and good practices on disaster management. It is also expected to build a foster coordination between civil and military entities in responding to disasters and to build solidarity under the spirit of One ASEAN One Response.
ARDEX-23 was conducted on 1-3 August 2023 with a combination of both strategic and tactical components, with the simulation exercise including indoor tabletop exercise (TTX) discussions between decision makers, in parallel with outdoor command post exercises (CPX) and joint field training exercises (FTX) for humanitarian responders. The scenario of ARDEX-23 is a 6.6 magnitude earthquake with the epicentre in Bantul, Yogyakarta. Over 180 players, planners, referees, and observers from 10 ASEAN Member States and partners of the AHA Centre participated, and with more than 500 participants from local and national levels involved in the exercise.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. Prof. Dr. Muhadjir Effendi, Head of BNPB Indonesia Lieutenant General TNI Suharyanto, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community H.E. Ekkaphab Phantavhong, representatives from the 10 ASEAN Member States, partners, and participants from local and national levels.
• Held in Yogyakarta, 1-3 August 2023
• Scenario of M6.6 Bantul earthquake
• 180 participants from ASEAN Member States and partners of the AHA Centre
• 500+ participants from local and nantional levels
• Second ARDEX hosted by Indonesia after ARDEX-18 in Cilegon, Banten 2018
Written by: Moch Syifa, Gladys Respati | Photo by: AHA Centre