| Ishan Ibrahim |
THE opening of the Second Workshop of the Establishment of Logistics Support Framework was held at The Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong yesterday.
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad, Acting Permanent Secretary (Administration and Finance), Ministry of Defence, in his welcoming speech, said the role of the military and defence forces is vital in disaster management in the Asia Pacific region.
The aftermath of disasters such as the 2004 Aceh tsunami, 2008 tropical cyclone Nargis, 2013 super typhoon Haiyan and the missing Malaysian airliner flight MH370 requires these forces to be the first to respond, he added.
The deployment of military assets as part of the “first response” is also increasingly seen as part of the international assistance to disaster relief in the Asean region, given the predictions for climate change, unprecedented emergencies and the growing acceptance by countries to accept military assistance in times of disaster will see this trend increase, Haji Azhar said.
He also spoke on the urgency for the Asean member states to develop more coordinated guidelines for military assistance to disaster response, as this will enhance Asean’s capacity to develop capabilities, strengthen interoperability and contribute to operational effectiveness and efficiency in Asean militaries in addressing non-traditional security challenges.
Asean defence ministers have adopted the Concept Paper on the Establishment of Logistics Support Framework in Brunei Darussalam last year that serves as a guideline on the support of coordination mechanisms in the mobilisation of military assets and capacities.
“The defence ministers are thus committed to strengthening regional cooperation, contributing to regional peace, security and stability, and developing common regional procedures that would contribute towards the realisation of an Asean Political-Security Community next year,” he added.
This three-day workshop, he said, provides an ideal platform to share ideas among disaster management practitioners.
“Knowledge and experience play important roles to challenge and test the assumptions in the draft document to ensure the final product meets the needs of the region,” Haji Azhar added.
This workshop is a follow-up to the one held in April in Bandar Seri Begawan, which laid the foundation for the drafting of the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Logistics Support Framework.
The workshop brings in participation from Asean member states and the Asean Secretariat.
The three-day programme will include presentations by four panel speakers from United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot of the World Food Programme, Combined Maritime Forces, United States Pacific Command, and Peace Operations Training Institute.
The workshop will then continue with discussions and considerations on the drafting of the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Logistics Support Framework.
The concept of a Logistics Support Framework was adopted by the 7th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Brunei Darussalam in May 2013.