Singapore and the United Nations Co-Host Forum to Discuss Enhancing Civil-Military Coordination in Humanitarian Efforts

News and Press Release
Originally published

Singapore, Bangkok 13 April 2015) The Ministry of Defence of Singapore and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) are co-hosting the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) Global Forum on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination at the Changi Command and Control Centre in Singapore from 13 to 15 April 2015. The Global Forum will help to shape the discussions and agenda for the World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul in May 2016.

The WHS Global Forum seeks to develop recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of civilmilitary coordination in disaster relief responses at the national, regional and international levels. More than 100 policy makers and operational experts from UN agencies, regional organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as defence establishments and national disaster management authorities from more than 25 countries are attending the three-day forum.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen noted that Singapore was pleased to host this Global Forum given its position as a regional hub for security cooperation on nontraditional security challenges. Dr Ng said that Singapore was home to the regional offices of various international NGOs, and local think tank S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies hosts a Centre for NonTraditional Security Studies. He added that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) had also increased its engagement with local humanitarian organisations such as Singapore Red Cross and Mercy Relief. He said, “Evolving a military doctrine for non-traditional security threats, scoping our operations, and maximising our efforts therefore have been the focus of SAF efforts in recent years.” Dr Ng cited the example of how the Changi RHCC was set up last year to provide a practical platform for enhancing military-to-military coordination in disaster response between militaries across the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

Putting people at the centre drives humanitarian response and depends on the many parts coming together including coordination with the military. “Humanitarian civil-military coordination plays a vital role in the exchange of data, information and knowledge among multiple stakeholders. Military participation is equally critical for successfully establishing a shared situational awareness,” commented Ambassador Toni Frisch, the Chair of the Global Consultative Group on Civil Military Coordination.

The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Kyung-wha Kang urged participants to engage in “a productive debate on how to make civil-military coordination work better in both natural disaster response operations and when providing humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies.” Ms Kang also spoke of the potential to contribute to further shaping a vision for the future of humanitarian action that is fit for our times.

For further information, please contact: Ms Joy Wong, Senior Media Relations Officer, Tel. + 96468769 Email: Orla Fagan, Regional Public Information and Advocacy Officer, OCHA Regional Office Asia Pacific (ROAP), Bangkok,, Cell +66 89 9447623.

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