Joint Press Release

ASEAN is forging stronger partnership with its Dialogue Partners, the United Nations, multilateral organisations, civil society and other stakeholders in building disaster-resilient communities and nations. In a Partnership Conference held in Makati today, the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) launched a Work Programme mapping out the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) for the next five years (2010-2015).

AADMER signifies ASEAN’s collective commitment and joint efforts in responding to disasters in the region and in reducing disaster risks more effectively. AADMER came into force on 24 December 2009 after all the ten Member States of ASEAN ratified the Agreement. The five-year Work Programme translates the provisions under AADMER into actions and supports the agenda of ASEAN to attain the vision of disaster-resilient nations and safer communities within the region.

In his opening message, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, said that, “Through the implementation of AADMER, we would like to show ASEAN’s resiliency, ASEAN’s compassion, ASEAN’s solidarity and ASEAN’s readiness, which is essentially a new ASEAN under the Charter”. According to Dr Surin, the people of ASEAN would only stand to benefit if the region works together with its partners and utilise each other’s strengths and capabilities.

Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council of the Philippines, expressed his appreciation to all the partners for participating in the Conference. He said that, “Support to the implementation of AADMER Work Programme by all stakeholders – be it financially, technically or operationally – demonstrates our shared agenda to reduce disaster risks in the region.”

The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) will serve as the focal point in monitoring and consolidating data on risk levels, analysing possible regional-level implications, and facilitating a rapid and well-targeted response to major disasters within the region.

In the first phase of the Work Programme, a regional risk assessment will be conducted, and with it, the setting up of a regional system for early warning and monitoring. Further, regional mechanisms will be further enhanced for a more effective disaster preparedness and well-targeted and timely emergency response. The Work Programme also seeks to develop a regional strategy for integrating disaster risk reduction into national development plans as well as urban and community action plans, and to develop a tool kit for effective disaster recovery planning for ASEAN Member States.

The Partnership Conference was well attended by senior officials and disaster management and risk reduction experts from all ASEAN Member States, representatives from the United Nations, multilateral organisations, ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, as well as representatives from the civil society and private sector.

For further information please contact Ms Lan Mercado (+63 9209704104) and Ms Wuri Parmaitri, ASEAN Secretariat (telephone number +62 21 7262991 and e-mail wuri@asean.org).