Published: 13 October 2016
Honourable Chairman, His Excellency Willem Rampangilei, Minister and Head of the National Disaster Management Authority of the Republic of Indonesia,
Excellencies from ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat,
Ladies and Gentlemen, a very good afternoon.
1. First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to the National Disaster Management Authority of Indonesia for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements accorded to the Singapore delegation. May I also congratulate you on the successful hosting of the series of meetings held this week. It was an honour to have the Minister for Public Works and Housing of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Mr Basuki Hadimuljono to grace the opening ceremony of the 4th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management. This bears testimony to the importance put by the Indonesian Government to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the region. Terima Kasih.
2. We are living in challenging times today. Besides the ever increasing security threats regionally and globally, there are also more extreme and erratic catastrophic natural disasters brought about by the effects of urbanisation and climate change and unfortunately the ASEAN region which we live in is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world.
3. It is therefore crucial for ASEAN Member States to continue strengthening its capacity, through partnership with stakeholders, including the private sector, to effectively deal with disasters through building and mutual sharing of knowledge, capability and experience, in all areas of disaster management.
One ASEAN One Response
4. During the 3rd AMMDM held in Phnom Penh last year, ASEAN ministers in charge of disaster management endorsed the Declaration on One ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region. I would like to congratulate the ASEAN Committee for Disaster Management (ACDM) and the AHA Centre on the successful signing of this Declaration by the ASEAN Leaders during the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits on 6 September this year in Vientiane, Laos. The signing of this Declaration paves the way for ASEAN to demonstrate its solidarity in responding to disasters as One ASEAN Community, not only within the ASEAN region, but also outside the region.
ASEAN's Leadership in Disaster Management
5. ASEAN has been actively participating and sharing our knowledge and experiences in global platforms to showcase our leadership in disaster management. For example, we collectively developed a joint statement which was delivered by His Excellency Willem Rampangilei during the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul this May. Some of us, including Singapore, participated actively in some of the side events such as the discussions on implementing the Sendai Framework to reduce the humanitarian burden and ASEAN-UN Partnership.
Singapore's Contributions in Enhancing Disaster Management Efforts in ASEAN
6. Singapore remains committed in developing ASEAN's disaster management capacity and will contribute actively to establish ASEAN as a global leader in disaster management. Singapore will also continue to support the capability development and thought leadership efforts under the Knowledge and Innovation Management Working Group, which we co-chair with the Republic of Indonesia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, through two flagship events; first the Strategic Policy Dialogue in Disaster Management and second, the ASEAN Senior Executive Programme in Disaster Management.
7. Singapore successfully hosted the 2nd run of the ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management on 19 August 2016, in conjunction with the World Humanitarian Day. I had the pleasure of meeting many of you there then. Focusing on innovative partnership with the private sector, the event saw more than 100 participants from various sectors and organisations who came together to discuss and share ideas on ways to enhance Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, or HADR, efforts in the region.
8. This is the first step in engaging the private sector, an important partner that we should cultivate, leverage and work together with in disaster management and disaster risk reduction. I am pleased to announce here that arising from the Dialogue, Shaw Foundation, a Singapore-based organisation, has expressed its intention to sign a Memorandum of Intent, or MOI for short, with the AHA Centre. The MOI would provide resources for the activities of the AHA Centre as well as the conduct of future runs of the Dialogue. This example shows why we should continue to harness the capabilities of the private sector, which is an important source of knowledge, innovation, resource and networking alliances.
9. Singapore also successfully conducted the inaugural run of the ASEAN Senior Executive Programme last November. It saw the active participation of the leadership cadre from the ASEAN region. This year, the programme will again be held in November in Singapore. We will enhance the programme by inviting current and potential future leaders of emergency services in the Asia Pacific region to share their perspectives, knowledge and experience in disaster management.
10. I am also pleased to state that Singapore made a voluntary contribution of $100,000 Singapore Dollars to the ADMER Fund in March this year. This would facilitate the implementation of activities under the AADMER Work Programme and the smooth operations of the AHA Centre. Separately, Singapore's Corporate Citizen Foundation also contributed a total of $100,000 Singapore Dollars in the form of cash and 10 water filtration systems, to the AHA Centre at a pledging ceremony in March this year in Singapore.
11. In addition to monetary contributions, Singapore has also agreed, at no cost to AHA Centre, to serve as ASEAN's alternate Emergency Operations Centre. This alternate centre will provide critical back-up to ensure uninterrupted operations and business continuity of the AHA Centre. The entire backup disaster recovery system of the AHA Centre will be located at one of the Singapore Civil Defence Force's premises, tapping on the resources at the data centre to ensure smooth functioning of the systems.
Congratulate on AHA Centre's 5th Anniversary
12. Next month marks the 5th Anniversary of the establishment of the AHA Centre. Singapore would like to congratulate the AHA Centre on this important milestone. Since its establishment back in November 2011, the AHA Centre has played a significant role in co-ordinating disaster response to several disasters in the region, such as Typhoon Koppu in the Philippines last year.
13. Finally, I would like to congratulate the ACDM on its excellent work and the AHA Centre in driving the regional disaster management efforts under AADMER and in promoting ASEAN centrality in the realm of HADR in the region. There is certainly much work to be done in the coming years ahead as we explore the new feasible areas of potential partnerships and collaborations, including joint disaster response with various stakeholders and across different sectoral bodies. We should continue to work together as One ASEAN Community, and together, we can make the region a better prepared and resilient safer home for all.
14. Thank you.