ASEAN, with the support of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UN ESCAP), will convene a Post-Nargis Lessons Learning Conference on Monday, 30 August 2010, in Bangkok.

The conference, with the theme of “Institutionalising Good Practices, Strengthening Partnership“, aims to incorporate the good practices of ASEAN’s post-Nargis experience in Myanmar into regional disaster management mechanisms and strengthen regional partnerships in disaster management based on the experience learnt.

Apart from the sharing of lessons and good practices in managing the post-Nargis relief and recovery effort, the conference is also expected to examine ways to institutionalise those good practices into the regional disaster management mechanisms. The ASEAN-UN partnership in disaster management based on their cooperation in the post-Nargis effort will also be discussed.

“Cyclone Nargis provided an opportunity for ASEAN to challenge its collective response to a major disaster in a Member State. It was the first time that the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) was tested in a real post-disaster situation. It is now time to capitalise on the experience and disseminate the lessons that ASEAN has learned in the wake of Nargis to strengthen our disaster preparedness,” said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

During the conference, ASEAN will also launch a series of six publications assessing its experience in carrying out the first-ever large-scale humanitarian operation in the region.

Cyclone Nargis struck Ayeyarwady Delta of Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008, killing 140,000 people and severely affecting the lives of more than 2.4 million people in the delta. ASEAN was asked to step in to facilitate the flow of international assistance in the aftermath of the cyclone, under the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) mechanism, which also comprises the Government of Myanmar and the United Nations. The mandate of the ASEAN-led coordination ended at the end of July 2010, and the coordination mechanism for continued coordination has been handed over to the Government of Myanmar.

“With the Government of Myanmar taking over medium and long term recovery efforts, the role of the TCG has officially ended,” said Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). “However, the spirit of cooperation among the UN, ASEAN and the Government of Myanmar should endure in further support to the country in its rebuilding and in its national development efforts.”

The conference, to be at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok from 0900 hours to 1400 hours, will be attended by high-level representatives from the ASEAN Member States, the United Nations, Dialogue Partners, countries that have provided assistance to the post-Nargis efforts, non-government organisations and other stakeholders.