ASEAN, ICRC stress on building adaptability in face of disasters

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have emphasized the need for collective adaptability in view of the evolving disaster risk landscape within and beyond the region.

 To discuss natural and human-induced disasters as well as the coronavirus pandemic response, representatives from ASEAN and ICRC joined the 3rd ASEAN-ICRC Joint Platform virtually on June 23-24, 2021, according to a statement issued by the ASEAN Secretariat and received here on Thursday.

The event was attended by representatives of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), the ASEAN Secretariat, the ICRC, ASEAN sectoral bodies, affiliated institutions and dialogue partners, as well as members of local and international humanitarian organizations.

 "ASEAN recognizes the need to strengthen regional capacities and to prepare for a range of hazards and disaster risks faced by the region," said Eric Yap, commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force and chair of the ACDM.

 To achieve this aim, Yap argued, it is crucial to harness both traditional and non-traditional resources in disaster management to minimize hardship and suffering when disaster strikes.

 "Our region is experiencing rapid economic growth, growing population, and increased urbanization. In addition to the reverberating impacts of climate change, the ever-changing landscape of disaster risks has become even more complex," secretary general of ASEAN, Lim Jock Hoi, said at the meeting.

 "With the vision of becoming the global leader in disaster management, it is imperative for us to inculcate a forward-thinking mindset in anticipation of future challenges and emerging trends," he stated.

 Meanwhile, ICRC president Peter Maurer said that the dynamics of multi-layered crises — protracted conflicts, natural, and human-induced disasters — are complex, and the recent economic pressures of the pandemic are creating insurmountable humanitarian challenges.

"It is clear that traditional approaches to aid will not yield sufficient solutions. We need to reinforce a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral, and collective approach to humanitarian action. We need to join forces in harnessing innovation and ensuring that public and private investment capital creates measurable impact for affected people," Maurer remarked.

 The ASEAN-ICRC Joint Platform seeks to help policy-makers and experts discuss sustainable disaster management and humanitarian actions.

The third edition of the event discussed issues related to innovative and sustainable humanitarian funding and humanitarian actions in complex emergencies.

The participants also exchanged views and perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic, natural and human-induced disasters, as well as effective coordinated response.

The first session explored the possibility offered by the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southeast Asia to spearhead innovation in the areas of humanitarian funding and development responses.

The second session focused on the reality of administering humanitarian aid amidst multi-faceted and complex crises, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (INE)

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