The ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), with the support of ASEAN Secretariat, convened the four-day ASEAN Capacity-Building Forum on Risk Assessment with the theme “of Bridging Science and Practice in Disaster Risk Management towards Building Community Resilience” last week in Bangkok.

The four-day regional event was officially opened on Tuesday, 19 March and was participated by disaster risk management professionals from ASEAN Member States, civil society groups, the academics, and the science and research community from the region as well as partners from Europe, Australia, and the United States. Three ASEAN sectoral bodies were represented in the forum, i.e. ACDM, ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) and ASEAN University Network (AUN).

Mr. Suporn Ratananakin, the Advisor to the Director General of Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) of Thailand representing the ACDM Chair, described the event as a unique opportunity for ASEAN as “…[the] disaster risk management community in the region, led by the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management will closely interface [in] the next [four] days with many esteemed colleagues, experts, professors, researches and tool developers from the science community with the objective of enhancing the synergy between these two communities and foster greater interaction and systematic collaboration in support of disaster risk reduction.”

Dr. Jane Rovins of the Integrated Research for Disaster Risks, in her message to the group, emphasised the relevance of bridging the gap between science and practice on disaster risk management as well as underlined the importance of understanding how people interpret risks and choosing actions based on these interpretations.

The first day of the forum also featured thematic session discussions on “developing a framework for dialogue between disaster risk management and science community in ASEAN,” “science-based risk communication,” and “accountability in disaster risk management.”

The forum was followed by a three-day introductory training workshop on selected risk assessment tools such as CAPRA (Comprehensive Approach for Probabilistic Risk Assessment), InaSAFE (Indonesia Scenario Assessment for Earthquakes) and OpenQuake (Open Source Software for Seismic Hazards and Risk Assessment). The workshop was participated by representatives from national disaster management and early warning agencies of the ASEAN Member States.

The four-day forum was culminated with an informal session of the ACDM Working Group on Risk Assessment, Early Warning and Monitoring. Next steps on identifying “bridge builders”, enhancing existing links to promote greater accountability, and establishing linkages among the three ASEAN sectoral bodies (i.e. ACDM, AUN and COST) were also identified in the meeting.

The ASEAN Capacity Building Forum on Risk Assessment was conducted in partnership with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), AusAID and the Global Earthquake Modelling (GEM). Another major partner in the event is the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP), King’s College London which supports humanitarian responsibilities to develop organisational structures and leadership. A video of their work on building a dialogue between the science and the humanitarian community can be accessed here. The event was supported by the ASEAN-UNISDR Technical Cooperation, UK Natural Environment and Research Council (NERC) and ASEAN-Australia Cooperation Arrangement.