Your Excellency Le Luong Minh
Secretary-General of ASEAN
Your Excellencies Ong Keng Yong and Surin Pitsuwan
Former Secretaries-General of ASEAN
Heads of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of ASEAN Member States,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is my pleasure to be here this morning for the opening of the Post-2015 Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response or the "AADMER" Strategic Policy Dialogue. I extend a very warm welcome to everyone.
2. This is the first time that the AADMER Strategic Policy Dialogue is being held in Singapore. We are happy to host all of you.
3. Let me also thank the ASEAN Secretariat and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies for organising this Strategic Policy Dialogue, in close collaboration with the SCDF. A lot of hard work has been put in. We thank the organisers for their efforts.
4. We know that disasters can strike at any moment; and without warning. The 2014 United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Report noted that the Asia-Pacific region had the highest number of natural disasters. Between 1994 and 2013, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for over 40%> of the world's reported disasters, each with large numbers of fatalities.
5. These include the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami; the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China; the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake; and more recently, the Nepal earthquake earlier this year.
6. This is why we, as ASEAN Member States, must ensure that the AADMER framework remains strong, relevant and, importantly, forward-looking.
7. We have just passed an important milestone in the AADMER framework since its ratification by the ASEAN Member States in 2009.The 2010-2015 AADMER Work Programme that was put in place to operationalise AADMER will conclude soon. The Work Programme has been instrumental in laying a strong foundation to translate AADMER's spirit and intent into concrete actions and initiatives.
8. Over the last 5 years, the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) overseeing the AADMER has been working together to implement the AADMER Work Programme initiatives.
9. SCDF, as Singapore's National Focal Point appointed to oversee the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme, has successfully implemented several initiatives, which include:
10. This year marks the conclusion of the first AADMER Work Programme.
11. We have made decent progress. However, the landscape of humanitarian assistance in disaster management is one that is constantly evolving. It is a topic that is complex, challenging and one which requires a sustained collective effort by all ASEAN Member States.
12. Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, the aims of this Strategic Policy Dialogue are to:
a) Identify and develop the key policies and strategies on the direction that ASEAN will need to take to respond to regional and global trends;
b) Identify the scope of the thematic issues to be covered by the next AADMER work programme (AWP 2.0);
c) Identify the cross-sectoral issues that will lead to the enhancement of cooperation in humanitarian assistance; and
d) Secure adequate resources to implement the initiatives under AWP 2.0 over the next 5 years (2016 – 2020).
13. I am sure that this Strategic Policy Dialogue will yield a vibrant exchange of views and propose new ways forward and recommendations for the development of the AWP. I am encouraged by the ASEAN Secretariat's and SCDF's idea of having discussions on disaster management on a more regular basis. Such interactions have the potential to advance disaster management and development efforts both quantitatively and qualitatively. They will enable us to advance humanitarian assistance and disaster response to a new level and make a significant difference to affected communities.
14. On this note, let me thank everyone once again for your commitment of time and effort to this Post-2015 AADMER Strategic Policy Dialogue. I wish you a fruitful session.
 UN ESCAP Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2014