SINGAPORE, 19 August 2017 – More than 140 participants attended the third ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management (SPDDM) held in Singapore yesterday in commemoration of ASEAN’s golden jubilee celebration and the World Humanitarian Day on 19 August. 

K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law of Singapore and Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh graced the event and delivered their opening remarks. Under the theme “Collaboration between ASEAN and the United Nations in Disaster Management: Lessons as the Basis for Future Policy and Operational Engagement,” the dialogue reaffirmed the importance of partnership between ASEAN and UN Agencies in enhancing disaster management capabilities and resilience in the region. 
A highlight of the event is the High-Level Panel Discussion on “ASEAN-UN Partnership Moving Forward” where the panelists exchanged views and shared lessons in different parts of the world for the projection of the ASEAN-UN partnership in enhancing disaster management capabilities and resilience in the ASEAN region.

Secretary-General Minh commended the exchange of copies of the inter-operability brief that signified the enhanced collaboration between the Secretary-General of ASEAN as the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator (AHAC) and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC). He highlighted that the inter-operability brief is one of our instruments that is translating commitment and cooperation between ASEAN and the UN into concrete actions.  

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ursula Mueller said, “the UN and ASEAN are both working to create a culture of prevention; a key part of that culture is increasing our capacity to mitigate and then respond quickly to crises when they occur, and to get back people back on the path to normality as quickly as possible.”

Elizabeth Rasmusson, Assistant Executive Director for Partnership, Governance and Advocacy, World Food Programme said “The ASEAN region continues to experience increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters. While our humanitarian responses aim to bring immediate relief to survivors, we are not ignoring the long-term consequences of disasters on economic and human development. WFP is committed to supporting national and regional actors to ensure that disasters do not disrupt the impressive journey of progress on which ASEAN has embarked.”

In addition to the high level policy dialogue, participants also shared their views on leveraging data technology for enhanced disaster preparedness and capability development as well as contributing their thoughts for the future policy and operational engagement. The event concluded with agreement to further promoting humanitarian partnership between ASEAN and the United Nations, as well as other partners and the private sector, to ensure ASEAN’s readiness for swift and efficient response by leveraging on data for disaster preparedness and risk management.

Since the inaugural ASEAN SPDDM in 2015, the ASEAN SPDDM has been held annually in Singapore and become the regional flagship platform for policy makers and humanitarian partners to exchange ideas as well as to strengthen   strategic partnerships in disaster management.  

ASEAN SPDDM was jointly organised by the ASEAN Secretariat, Singapore Civil Defence Force and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management.