The ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) today entered into force, after being ratified by all the ten Member States of ASEAN.
AADMER is the region's response to the need to establish a regional disaster management framework. It contains provisions on disaster risk identification, monitoring and early warning, prevention and mitigation, preparedness and response, rehabilitation, technical cooperation and research, mechanisms for coordination, and simplified customs and immigration procedures.
On welcoming the occasion, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, said, "AADMER is one of the fastest-negotiated agreements in ASEAN's history, having gone through a mere four months of negotiations." He added, "The entry into force of AADMER is a remarkable progress for ASEAN in its joint effort in responding to disasters happening in the region and in reducing disaster risks more effectively."
AADMER also provides for the establishment of an ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) to undertake operational coordination of activities under the Agreement. It is also ASEAN's affirmation of its commitment to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA)*.
AADMER was signed by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers in July 2005. Since then, ASEAN has put in place measures to implement many provisions under the Agreement. Under the purview of a specialised ASEAN body called the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), standard operating procedure, training and capacity building, disaster information sharing and communication network, rapid assessment team, have been set up or put into practice.
Dr Surin, who was appointed ASEAN's Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator by the ASEAN Leaders during the 14th ASEAN Summit, further encouraged ASEAN's friends and partners to extend their assistance and cooperation to the implementation of AADMER. He added that "such support will certainly add to our collective efforts in building a disaster-resilient ASEAN Community by 2015."
In anticipation of AADMER's entry into force, ASEAN had initiated the development of a Work Programme covering the period of 2010-2015 to operationalise AADMER and translate its spirit and goal into concrete terms. The Work Programme will be adopted by all ASEAN Member States in early March 2010.
*The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters is noted in the AADMER as the agreed framework for disaster risk reduction.