KUALA LUMPUR, 29 June 2018 – Leaders from ASEAN National Disaster Management Organizations discussed, among others, about setting priorities for women in disaster management during the 32nd Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) held on 26-28 June in Kuala Lumpur.

The meeting was convened in conjunction with the 8th Governing Board Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), 9th Joint Task Force Meeting to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (JTF on HADR), and 5th ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Partnership Conference.

Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah binti Wan Ismail opened the ACDM meeting. In her opening remarks, she underscored the importance for ASEAN to ensure that disasters be managed holistically, pragmatically and in a coordinated manner. The Deputy Prime Minister further necessitated setting priorities for women in disaster management, including ensuring the safety and privacy of women during disasters.

Considering that women were disproportionately affected both during and after disasters, and with a view to creating a more resilient ASEAN and ensuring the whole communities approach in disaster risk reduction, the ACDM acknowledged the important component of women inclusiveness in disaster response planning and management. The meeting also agreed to pursue new initiatives on women, peace and security and strengthening efforts in promoting gender mainstreaming on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

These initiatives will further elevate the role of women as key humanitarian actors throughout disaster management process. ACDM also deliberated on ways and means to recalibrate ASEAN’s collective response to human-induced disasters.

At the 9th JTF on HADR meeting, representatives from the Senior Officials Meeting , Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development, Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare, and Development and ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting attended and exchanged views, ideas and ways to continue promoting the closer working partnership between the various ASEAN sectoral bodies.

ASEAN’s unified response among sectoral bodies will be salient to further enhance and strengthen ASEAN’s collective response towards disasters. The JTF affirmed the importance that the work of ACDM should be integrated with other sectoral bodies initiatives under disaster management and emergency response. For the first time, it was recommended that ACDM and Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development be tasked to undertake a joint study on ASEAN’s response to pandemics.

Similarly, to further enhance the cooperation in disaster management and realise a disaster resilient ASEAN community, the 5th AADMER Partnership Conference brought together various stakeholders and partners, including Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, Norway, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Médecins Sans Frontières, MapAction, Mercy Malaysia, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs , and USAID/Pacific Disaster Centre. These stakeholders and partners affirmed their commitments and contributions towards the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme and attaining the vision of One ASEAN One Response.