/ / The Other Side



LACER’s Johanna Rixer sat down for a chat with Dipo Summa, Resource Mobilisation Manager at the AHA Centre and focal point for the LACER project, to discuss challenges, development and current priorities.

To what extent do differing capabilities among ASEAN Member States create challenges in effective regional response?
“The different capacities of the Member States is certainly a challenge in realising One ASEAN, One Response, Mr Summa says. The ambition to respond collectively as one is one of the biggest challenges, given that all Member States have different capacities. Even if the intention is shared by all. Having said that, there is a silver lining, a bright spot in the fact that the Member States already are capable to respond on an individual country level. It’s a matter of bringing the capacity under the regional umbrella. This is definitely a possibility for improvement within the next years of the AHA Centre’s development.”

What would you consider the best possible development of the AJDRP modules* in the future? In what ways could these be better aligned with current conditions and needs?
“The objective of the response plan is to be able to mobilise ASEAN resources, for immediate activation and deployment. If we can achieve that, we can find real satisfaction. We are truly working towards that goal and we need to have the resources and commitment of the Member States to achieve this. Right now we are in a quite good place with 5 Member States who have registered their assets, but it is not yet tested. This is our next step, to test and to see how it actually looks in practice.”

How can ASEAN deal with the growing differences in risk profiles among ASEAN Member States?
“Many of the aspects are beyond the control of the AHA Centre… what we can do is to focus on risk awareness, raising awareness and providing advice, rather than dealing with the issue of risk profiles as there are so many components that affect this. One mandate of the AHA Centre is to facilitate support when a disaster happens, and this can really help mitigate the disaster.”

How can AHA and ASEAN best assist Member States that face a recurring pattern of weather-related hazards including typhoons and flooding, along with associated displacement of populations? For instance, the Philippines during the period 2010−2021, reported more than 49 million people displaced, mostly triggered by storms. Is this a particular gap that ASEAN can help address?
“With regards to a recurring pattern of weather related hazards and climate change, here we are still focused on preparedness and response, capacity building programmes for member states and anticipatory actions. In this field there is room to do more… to develop a predictability system, supporting the Member States. This is also one of the priorities for the future.”

What do you see as other priorities for the AHA Centre in the coming 5 years?
“For me the AHA Centre will have several important priorities in the coming years. First, as outlined by the ASEAN Vision 2025, the AHA Centre should facilitate ASEAN responding collectively as one beyond the region. By 2024, the AHA Centre will conduct a feasibility study to create better understanding what this means. Secondly, the AHA Centre should continue to support innovation and implementation of new technologies in disaster management, in particular taking advantage of the continuous development in the field of big data analysis and artificial intelligence. Thirdly, the ASEAN Vision 2025 also mentioned the ambition to become a global leader in disaster management by leveraging through the long experience of the region in managing disasters in the region. To support this vision, the AHA Centre aims to become a regional knowledge hub on disaster management, where stakeholders can come to look for data, information and knowledge.”

* (deployable assets registered under the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan)





Written by: Johanna Rixer | Photo Credit: AHA Centre