Jakarta, 22 September 2020 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, the Mission of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN, and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) launched the ASEAN Standards and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND) project to strengthen the region’s capability in managing natural disasters and to become a global leader in this field by 2025.

The three-year project will enhance the capacity of disaster management professionals from the ASEAN Member States by setting higher standards and quality of training in disaster management, as well as certifications for professionals based on agreed ASEAN standards. In addition to other capacity-building programs, the project will generate a pool of professionals to mobilize assistance and resources during disasters. The Republic of Korea has contributed more than USD 3.3 million to the project through the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund (AKCF).

“This project is one of the deliverables and priorities of the AADMER Work Programme (AWP) and the implementation of this project will contribute towards the realisation of ASEAN’s goal to become a global leader in disaster management by 2025,” said ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi. He expressed appreciation to the Republic of Korea for their support and contributions to ASEAN in the areas of disaster management and health, elaborating that, “in further strengthening our strategic partnership, we need to continue working closely together in developing cooperation across the three pillars of People, Prosperity and Peace.”

“We hope that Korea’s IT-driven disaster management system will be able to make meaningful contributions to the realisation of ASEAN’s goal to become a global leader in disaster management by 2025,” said Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN Lim Sungnam. “The road to ascend to effective disaster management might be a long journey. However, with the ASCEND programme, I strongly hope and believe that Korea and ASEAN will be able to plant a meaningful seed of cooperation to build the people-centered community of peace and prosperity as envisaged by our New Southern Policy.”

“Through this project, we want to validate skillful and competent professionals in disaster management to realise ASEAN’s vision in becoming a global leader in disaster management by the year 2025,” said AHA Centre Executive Director Adelina Kamal. “By ensuring high-quality standards of ASEAN human resources, we believe that the vision for ASEAN to become a global leader in disaster management will be one step closer to reality.”

The event was attended by representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat, members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, ASEAN dialogue partners, representative of the ASEAN-ROK Programme Management Team (AKPMT), members of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), international and civil society organisations.