Published: 14 October 2021
Excellencies from ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good afternoon.
1. It gives us great pleasure to chair the 9th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM) and the 10th Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER).
2. We would first like to extend our deepest appreciation to Thailand for their support as Vice Chair of ACDM and AMMDM in 2021. Their close cooperation and guidance contributed greatly to the success of the various programmes and projects undertaken by ACDM and AMMDM this year.
Maintaining Disaster Readiness and Preparedness
3. 2021 has been a challenging year as the world continued to be plagued by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Additionally, within ASEAN, we also had to contend with the ongoing occurrence of natural disasters.
4. From Tropical Storm Dujuan to the Taal Volcano eruption, and to the recent monsoon flooding across the region, we have seen that natural disasters have not and will not stop just because of the pandemic. In spite of the ongoing pandemic, I am heartened to note that our existing disaster management mechanisms have continued to provide timely and successful humanitarian assistance to countries in need. To this end, I would like to express my special appreciation to the AHA Centre for leading and coordinating the ongoing Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar and also to all partners for their contributions and support.
5. It is important that ASEAN continues to leverage and build on our collective knowledge and experience in disaster management that we have accumulated over the years. These initiatives and projects launched this week are testament of the commitment of ACDM and AMMDM as we journey towards our goal of becoming a global leader in disaster management.
Leveraging Innovation for Operational Readiness
6. Even as we transform, we should look far ahead and prepare for the future. Technology and innovation are key enablers to enhance our operational readiness and future-proof our disaster management response and capabilities.
7. In Singapore, the Singapore Civil Defence Force constantly leverages technology to deliver emergency services more effectively and efficiently. For example, learning from our experience with SARS and now COVID-19, the latest version of our ambulances in Singapore has an in-built automatic decontamination system, which does away with the manual mode of decontamination. This helps to alleviate safety concerns during a crisis, and improves the turnaround time and availability of the ambulances.
Strengthening Partnership and Innovation in ASEAN
8. Despite the ongoing travel restrictions, I am pleased to note that ACDM has continued to keep up its collaboration and partnerships, both within and beyond the region. From knowledge exchange opportunities like the 3rd ASEAN-International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) platform, to collaboration platforms like the 6th AADMER Partnership Conference, partners and stakeholders continue to gather virtually to deliberate the future direction of disaster management in ASEAN.
9. As ACDM Chair in 2021, Singapore took the lead in strengthening Governance, Partnership and Innovation for Disaster Management and Disaster Risk Reduction in ASEAN. With the support of ASEAN Member States, ACDM has now established permanent dialogue partner consultations with the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. We also completed an ASEAN-wide mapping exercise to identify opportunities to collaborate in disaster management as One ASEAN, One Response. ACDM also produced the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook that discusses future solutions for ASEAN beyond 2025.
Singapore’s Commitment and Contributions After Chairmanship
10. Singapore is honored to be able to work alongside ASEAN Member States to steer ACDM through these challenging times and emerge stronger together. Beyond this year, there is still work ahead for ACDM, especially with the newly launched AADMER Work Programme (AWP) 2021-2025.
11. Capability Development and Thought Leadership are two key outcomes of this AWP. Singapore will continue to organise the two flagship events in this region in support of these outcomes namely, the ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue in Disaster Management (SPDDM), and the Senior Executive Programme in Disaster Management.
12. Singapore will also continue to co-chair the two active Working Groups in ACDM, namely the Working Group on Preparedness, Response and Recovery, and the Working Group on Global Leadership.
13. As we approach the end of 2021, looking back at the achievements of ACDM and AMMDM despite the pandemic, I am confident that the region will emerge with a stronger resolve to work together and overcome disasters as One ASEAN, One Response.
14. Singapore’s ACDM and AMMDM Chairmanship reflects the success and support of all ASEAN Member States.
15. I would like to conclude by extending our deepest gratitude to Thailand, the ACDM and AMMDM Vice-Chair, all ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the AHA Centre for their continued support and hard work.
16. Thank you.
 The ASEAN-ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) platform brings together policy-makers and experts to discuss sustainable disaster management and humanitarian actions. At the 3rd ASEAN-ICRC, participants discussed the pandemic, natural and human-induced disasters, effective coordinated responses, and sustainable humanitarian financing.
The 6th AADMER Partnership Conference on 8 June 2021 was attended by over 100 participants from ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Secretariat, the AHA Centre, ASEAN Dialogue Partners, ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partners, ASEAN Development Partners, AADMER Partnership Group, multilateral development banks, think tanks, and international organisations.