This report covers the period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012
Overview Southeast Asia is a key part of the current global power shift towards Asia. Its economic and financial strength contributes to the region‟s political leverage internationally as its influence grows throughout the globe. In termsof vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) documented that in 2012, fewer people died as a result of natural disasters in Asia than in previous years. However, natural disasters still claimed more lives in the region than anywhere else in the world.
In 2012, the national societies of Southeast Asia – as well as the region itself – continued to change rapidly. Among the trends observed were: a growing ambition and capacity among the vast majority of host national societies; a willingness to see models of partner engagement evolving according to the changes, a community of humanitarian/development actors that is more diverse than ever before (with an increasing prominence of emerging economies as donors) but also continued vulnerability to disaster; significant flows of migration (both legal and illegal); rapid urbanization; significant community adaptation to climate change; and vulnerability to established and emerging health threats (dengue in terms of the former, and the rise of non-communicable disease and H1N1 in terms of the latter).
The regional office must adapt to this changing context in order to remain relevant and, as such, is considering new ways of working together to achieve our Red Cross Red Crescent common goals, supporting national societies in the region to be increasingly at the centre of their development and humanitarian response by:
- being closer and more in touch with communities and their vulnerabilities so that their safety and resilience is enhanced; reducing the current gap between needs and response.
- adapting to evolving patterns of volunteering and better utilizing their unique auxiliary role; and,
- delivering on their own strategic plans under the umbrella of the IFRC-wide Strategy 2020, with the support of their various partners.
It is encouraging to report that national society regional mechanisms took significant steps forward. The organizational development forum nominated a standing chair (secretary general of Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent) that aimed to better manage preparation for, running of, and follow-up to the forum. The regional disaster management committee (RDMC) also nominated a standing chairperson (director of Thai Red Cross relief and community health bureau) and agreed to aim for country-level integration of programming by 2014. Based on analysis of performance in 2011 and 2012, the work of organizational development and youth steering committees was reactivated with new plans, designs and a decision to hold the first joint organizational development and youth forum in 2013. Overall, regional networking mechanisms mentioned above have contributed to an increasing ownership and accountability of the membership, with national societies in the chair‟s role of the networks, and, importantly, becoming more committed to supporting one another and linking up with other networks in developing and implementing cross-border activities.