|People in northern Hoa Binh Province - home of Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant - practise responding to a dam break and evacuating in an emergency. ASEAN member countries have committed to enhancing co-operation in disaster management and emergency response. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhan Sinh
HA NOI (VNS)— The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will prioritise disaster management efforts in the co-operation within the member states as well as between the block and its dialogue partners.
As a region faced with increased frequency and intensity of disasters caused by natural hazards, the leaders of the region have shown heightened political support towards building resilience to disasters.
"The pinnacle of such strong commitment was the imminent adoption of the very first high-ranking declaration on enhancing co-operation in disaster management that is slated in the ASEAN Summit in October," ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh told Viet Nam News.
Minh was speaking at the second meeting of the conference of the parties to the ASEAN agreement on disaster management and emergency response (AADMER). The meeting which was held in Ha Noi yesterday was attended by ministers in charge of disaster management from all ASEAN member states.
Speaking at the opening ceremony,Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the AADMER had created an important regional policy framework and co-ordinating platform for disaster management in ASEAN.
The AADMER went into effect in December 2009. One of the objectives of this meeting was to outline the progress of implementation of the agreement during the first phase (2010-12).
Dung said ASEAN members had made encouraging progress in risk identification, assessment and monitoring, prevention and mitigation, preparedness and rehabilitation.
The Prime Minister of the host country said that during the next phase from 2013-15, ASEAN member states should attach more importance to the task of procuring resources to implement specific projects.
According to the newly-elected chair of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management Vu Van Tu, there were 17 flagship projects identified as priority for implementation. Among those are some of the major events that will take place this year.
He said one of them was a regional stimulation exercise that would be held in October 24-29th in Ha Noi aiming to test ASEAN's response mechanisms and the readiness level of ASEAN Co-ordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management.
There will be also a partnership conference to mobilise resources and support for the implementation of the AADMER slated to occur in Ha Noi in November, particularly with dialogue partners. The European Union, Japan and the United States have shown keen interest in working with ASEAN in this particular field, said ASEAN Secretary-General Minh.
Minh also announced that participants at the meeting had agreed to set up the Revolving Fund which was worth US$10,000 for emergency relief purposes. This was to provide resources for emergency relief that may occur during holidays where normal resources might not be available.
During the meeting, the parties also supported the proposal to form a joint task force in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The first meeting of the parties was held in Jakarta in March, 2012. — VNS