JAKARTA, 16 January 2014 – The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) commences an executive training programme for selected disaster management officers from ASEAN countries. Under AHA Centre Executive Programme (ACE Programme), the officers will be involved in an intensive six-month training programme that covers wide aspects of disaster management, including emergency management, incident command system, emergency logistics system, international humanitarian system, and emergency communications.

“ASEAN attaches great importance on disaster management. The region has seen massive destructions and losses brought about by some of the biggest calamities ever recorded in humankind history. Some of them happened quite recently. For this reason, enhancing preparedness and emergency response is a must – this is an urgent imperative that ASEAN cannot fail to delay and realise,” said Dr. AKP Mochtan, the Deputy Secretary–General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs during the opening ceremony.

“ACE Programme aims to prepare future disaster management leaders to have a great set of skills in both disaster management and strong leadership to tackle future disaster management challenges”, Said Faisal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre explained. “This programme completes the circle of the AHA Centre’s activities. We have been developing disaster monitoring systems and hardware, so now through the ACE Programme we expect to develop disaster management leaders in the region,” he added.

ACE Programme was firstly initiated by the AHA Centre under the scheme of Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). “Natural disaster waits for no man. In order to save the people’s life and prosperity, it is of utmost importance for each ASEAN Member State to be well prepared for possible natural disasters,” said H.E. Kimihiro Ishikane, the Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN. “… for that purpose, I sincerely hope that this Programme will enable all participants to play a central role in disaster management when they go back to their home country,” he added. With support from Japan, AHA Centre will run the ACE Programme in three batches, with the first batch starting this year.

In addition to the support from the Government of Japan, other ASEAN Dialogue Partners and partner agencies such as New Zealand, United States of America and United Nations agencies have confirmed their support to this Programme by providing among others, trainers for some of the training sessions. “We thank all the partners for supporting us in developing this Programme. We would also like to thank the National Disaster Management Offices from the ASEAN countries for sending their best officers to join this Programme. We will do our best to ensure that ACE Programme will be successful,” Faisal further explained.

Most of the ACE Programme’s training sessions will be held in Indonesia, and some others will be conducted in Malaysia, Japan, as well as other countries. At the end of the Programme, participants will be expected to develop strategy papers for the improvement of disaster management in ASEAN region.