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Sunday, December 3, 2023
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ASEAN forum tackles climate-related hazards

Azlan Othman

Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Ekkaphab Phanthavong highlighted that climate change is contributing to the rise of risks and vulnerabilities for countries and communities in ASEAN.

He said this during the 4th ASCC Research and Development Forum on ‘Building Disaster Resilience to Climate-related Hazards in Southeast Asia’ held virtually recently.

Ekkaphab urged more attention to innovative adaptive approaches and cross-sector cooperation to mitigate the risks.

He emphasised the need for better mobilisation of local actors and cutting-edge technologies and suggested that innovative financing could be a powerful tool.

The forum was held with support from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). It brought together experts and officials from the ASEAN member states to discuss the trends and issues on climate-related hazards in Southeast Asia and the policy solutions that can emerge to build disaster resilience.

Meanwhile, Dr Saut Sagala from the Resilience Development Initiative discussed the global progress that has been made in the localisation of humanitarian assistance and the targetted localisation approaches that can be deployed in Southeast Asia to address the systemic risks of current and future disasters of climate change including future public health emergencies.

The virtual forum in progress. PHOTO: ASEAN SECRETARIAT

Dr Iffah Farhana Abu Talib from Universiti Teknologi MARA highlighted the changing disaster risk landscape in ASEAN due to climate change.

Several existing frameworks and recent development in climate damage and loss assessment were also discussed including the Making Cities Resilient 2030 and the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund from COP 27.

Several key recommendations were offered including the convergence of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, building synergies with local stakeholders, investing in technologies to expand loss and damage data, and appraising social protection systems.

Dr Mizan Bisri from the Resilience Development Initiative discussed the opportunities in emerging technologies for disaster risk management.

He urged the mobilisation of applied technologies to advance a Smart Early Warning Early Action in ASEAN. He said ASEAN will also need to further define its early actions and the implications for early warning systems and invest in frontier analyses and technologies.

Director of International Cooperation Section of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Thailand, and Chair of ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) Pannapa Na Nan, in her closing remarks, urged multisectoral cooperation in considering and realising the recommendations.

She invited ASEAN Sectoral Bodies to join the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Forum in 2023 and to work together to help ASEAN emerge stronger from the current and future crises.

She expressed appreciation to ASEAN sectoral bodies, the ASEAN Secretariat, experts, and the Government of Japan for the support to the forum and the year-long research study.


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