Published: 14 October 2021
Ladies & Gentlemen,
1. Good morning to all of you.
2. It gives me great pleasure to open this 9th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM), and also the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER).
3. I thank the Philippines for the smooth transition of the Chairmanship from the previous year, and Thailand for their strong support as Vice-Chair.
Amidst the Challenges, Efforts to Improve Disaster Management Must Continue
4. The 8th AMMDM was held online in November last year.
5. Since then, COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out in ASEAN and worldwide. Managing this pandemic remains a great challenge, not least due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant.
6. While we deal with the pandemic at the same time, we nevertheless still need to make sure that our disaster management response remains ready.
7. For example, we had to provide assistance to Myanmar.
8. The ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), was mobilised to provide assistance to Myanmar in August this year. ACDM was supported by the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre).
9. More than US$9 million in monetary pledges and in-kind contributions, including medical supplies, were raised. This included contributions from many ASEAN Member States and others.
10. It is not easy to mount a humanitarian assistance mission during a pandemic.
11. Despite this, the first phase of supplies and aid was successfully delivered on 15 September 2021. I commend ACDM and the AHA Centre.
12. I will now speak about the importance of governance, partnership, and innovation, for effective disaster management. This is the theme for this year’s meeting.
Strengthening Governance to Direct Efforts Effectively
13. First, governance.
Launch of AWP 2021 – 2025:
14. The Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response Work Programme (AWP) 2021-2025 was launched in June this year, during the 6th AADMER Partnership Conference.
15. It provides the strategic direction for ASEAN disaster management efforts over the next five years.
16. This third AWP identifies five Priority Programmes:
Risk Awareness and Monitoring;
Prevention and Mitigation;
Preparedness and Response;
Resilient Recovery; and
17. ACDM has secured 21 pledges of funding and technical support, from partners including China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and an estimated US$11 million for the implementation of the Priority Programmes. This is very good news.
Web-based Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) System
18. Second, ACDM has introduced a new web-based monitoring and evaluation system. This is a project management tool to support the implementation of AWP 2021-2025.
19. The monitoring and evaluation system will make it much easier for ACDM to track the progress of disaster management initiatives.
20. At a glance, users will be able to determine whether projects have sufficient resources, and to track the progress of activities, such as personnel training.
Enduring Partnerships are Central to ASEAN Disaster Management Efforts
21. Two, partnerships.
22. Enduring partnerships between Member States is the foundation of the ASEAN community. They are also central to our efforts to enhance disaster management.
Formal Operationalisation of the ASEAN Satellite Warehouse in the Kingdom of Thailand
23. One example of close cooperation amongst ASEAN Member States is the launch of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System (DELSA) satellite warehouse in Thailand, as part of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in June 2019.
24. This was made possible through the support of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.
25. The satellite warehouse supports ASEAN’s collective disaster response efforts in the region.
26. It is managed by the AHA Centre and supported by the Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
27. Since its operationalisation, the satellite warehouse has provided supplies to assist in Cambodia and Thailand’s COVID-19 management efforts.
The ACDM and AMMDM Plus Mechanisms
28. Beyond ASEAN, we have established partnerships with the international community to tap on their expertise.
29. ACDM and AMMDM have engaged partners including China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.
30. The 1st ACDM and AMMDM Plus China and Plus Japan platforms were launched in June of this year.
31. The ACDM Plus Republic of Korea platform was launched on 12 October, just a few days ago, and AMMDM Plus Republic of Korea will be launched next year.
32. These platforms will help policy and knowledge sharing on disaster risk reduction. We also look forward to cooperating in areas such as advanced disaster forecasting and warning systems.
ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management (JSPADM) 2021- 2025
33. ASEAN has also been working to enhance disaster management since 2004.
34. The Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management 2021-2025 continues the ASEAN-UN efforts to enhance joint disaster response in the region.
35. It articulates the framework and priorities to guide joint efforts over the next five years. The plan is also aligned with ASEAN’s commitments towards global targets such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
Application of Innovation and Technology to Improve Disaster Management
36. Finally, let me turn to innovation.
37. Beyond the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was also dominated by climate-related disasters. It was one of the world’s hottest years on record.
38. With the global increase in temperature, the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters will rise.
39. The majority of the 389 recorded disaster events last year were climate-related and affected almost 100 million people worldwide. Economic losses totalled more than US$170 billion.
40. The need for new and better disaster management and risk reduction capabilities has never been greater. We must apply our minds to achieve a leap in capabilities.
Memorandum of Intent between the AHA Centre and Temasek Foundation
41. In this regard, I am pleased to note that in May of this year, the AHA Centre and the Temasek Foundation, which is a Singaporean non-profit organisation, signed a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate on enhancing disaster management.
42. The scope of cooperation is broad. Two areas of cooperation, amongst others, include: developing and promoting innovations and new technologies in disaster management; and developing resilient recovery programmes in the aftermath of a disaster.
43. Next, the ASEAN Vision 2025 on disaster management is a strategy to strengthen regional disaster resilience between 2015 and 2025.
44. Singapore has launched the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook, which is a flagship publication for ACDM. It catalogues the progress made towards our shared vision and charts the next steps.
45. It also documents innovative practices, concepts, and ideas discussed at the ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management (SPDDM) which is held annually in Singapore since 2015.
46. We encourage further cooperation and exchange of expertise to explore how disaster management and risk reduction can be improved through innovation.
47. In conclusion, we must continue to work together to strengthen governance, partnership, and innovation in disaster management.
48. I thank Thailand for their steadfast support as the Vice-Chair for 2021.
49. I am confident that under Thailand’s Chairmanship in 2022, ACDM will continue to advance towards our vision of becoming a global leader in disaster management.
50. Thank you.