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South Asia: Joint statement by the ASEAN Committee on disaster management for the third Asian ministerial conference on disaster risk reduction

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Kuala Lumpur, 2-4 December 2008

The ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) is cognisant of its significant initiative in 2004 to endorse its ASEAN Regional Programme on Disaster Management (ARPDM) which it launched as a six-year programme until 2010. ASEAN is proud of its pioneering ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), which is a regional legal framework for multilateral cooperation and collaboration in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and emergency response in ASEAN. ASEAN is committed to its vision to build disaster resilient nations and safer communities by the year 2015.

The ACDM reaffirms its commitment to DRR implementation within the context of the AADMER, the Priorities for Action under the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and the existing DRR component of ARPDM. Building up on the gains of ARPDM and AADMER, ASEAN intends to further strengthen the DRR implementation for the next 6 years, that is holistic, collective and in keeping with the overall people-centred approach of ASEAN as reflected in the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.

The ACDM will seek to address any emerging gaps in its programmes, strategies and activities as well as those of the Member States to promote a holistic approach for DRR in ASEAN. This is to ensure linkages of regional and national programmes and efforts for the accomplishment of the HFA Priorities for Action.

The ASEAN DRR implementation shall include support for the establishment/strengthening of National Platforms and implementation of National Action Plans for DRR. Key activities that ACDM could advocate could include among others capacity building, technical assistance, knowledge management and programme development.

There is the need for implementation of HFA in ASEAN through participation of NGOs and CSOs through existing platforms to leverage on their unique capacities, as well as advancement of the ASEAN volunteers' programme and people-to-people partnerships, building on the successful experiences from the ASEAN's response to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.

The ACDM is committed to partnerships and cooperation with other members of the ISDR Asia partnership, and various stakeholders including UN agencies, international and other regional bodies. In this regard, ACDM invites partners to work together in the implementation of DRR components of AADMER in line with the HFA. The ACDM also seeks to promote cooperation between ASEAN Member States and south-south cooperation with other states in Asia and the Pacific.

Recognising the important role assigned in AADMER to the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) to serve as a focal point to facilitate cooperation and provide technical leadership in the implementation of DRR initiatives and emergency response, the ACDM is committed to the accelerated operationalisation of the AHA Centre and welcomes support of donors and partners to enhance the capacity of the Centre.

The establishment of the ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force for the Victims of Cyclone Nargis, and the Tripartite Core Group comprising ASEAN, the Government of the Union of Myanmar and the United Nations, has created new roles for ASEAN and is increasingly being seen as a potential model for humanitarian good neighbourly response. Lessons learned from ASEAN's experience in the response and recovery shall be used to address future challenges and to guide future regional response and DRR initiatives within ASEAN.