NEW DELHI, 4 November 2016 – The ASEAN Secretariat, in partnership with India’s Ministry of Home Affairs and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) launched the ASEAN Declaration “One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region” in New Delhi today.

The declaration is a commitment from ten ASEAN Member States to provide faster and collective response to disasters in and outside the region.

“ASEAN, as one community, will share experience and expertise gained from its disaster responses in the region to friends and partners in the global community.  It is also committed to working closely with regional and international disaster management and humanitarian players to provide the much needed assistance to affected communities to quickly alleviate their sufferings after any disaster,” said ASEAN’s Deputy Secretary-General for Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee.

Between 2004 and 2014, the ASEAN region recorded more than 50% of the total global disaster fatalities or 354,000 of the 700,000 deaths in disasters worldwide.  The total economic loss was estimated at US$91 billion. In the last decade, the region suffered from two high-impact, large-scale disasters that captured the attention of the world namely the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Prone to disasters, ASEAN considers disaster management and humanitarian assistance one of its top priorities. As a community that stands ready to provide relief and recovery efforts to the population affected by disasters, ASEAN has appointed its Secretary-General as the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator to be activated in times of severe calamity. It also formed a voluntary pool of ASEAN-Emergency Response and Assessment Team  and established the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) as the primary ASEAN regional coordinating agency on disaster management and emergency response.

In peacetime, ASEAN continues its collective efforts to build a robust disaster planning and preparedness through the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.

Adopted by the Heads of State/Government during the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane in September 2016, the ASEAN Declaration “One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region” aims to achieve faster response, mobilise greater resources and establish stronger coordination to ensure ASEAN’s collective response to disasters. It also emphasises the role of ASEAN in rendering support and sharing accumulated expertise in disaster management to other parts of the world.