One ASEAN One Response key to averting disasters

Rokiah Mahmud

Partnerships have paved the way for swift actions and efficient response in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, said Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong yesterday at the virtual 9th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM) and 10th Conference of the Parties to AADMER (COP to AADMER) and Related Meetings, chaired by the Republic of Singapore.

While the scale and challenge of the outbreak in ASEAN is daunting, the minister said, “it is delightful to witness the continued growth and partnerships which will help prosper this region while at the same time building resilience of the ASEAN communities.

“Thus, it reflects this year’s theme, ‘Strengthening Partnerships and Innovation for Disaster Management in ASEAN’”.

He said the AMMDM welcomed the inaugural meetings of the AMMDM Plus China and AMMDM Plus Japan, signifying ASEAN’s belief in embracing the forging of new partnerships.

“This is an encouraging step towards building new bridges in the development of work plans for both mechanisms to ensure areas of collaboration that enhance regional disaster management capabilities to promote peace and prosperity within ASEAN.

“In nurturing the spirit and solidarity of ‘One ASEAN One Response’, our collective and concerted efforts were further demonstrated towards responding to the current humanitarian crises in Myanmar.”

The minister also expressed appreciation to the AHA Centre for leading the humanitarian assistance as stipulated under point four of the five-point consensus as agreed by the ASEAN leaders during the high level summit held earlier this year.

He said as a proponent to the ASEAN Chair this year, look forward to the ASEAN member states maintaining the spirit of ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’ which mainly underscores ASEAN’s pursuit towards enhancing the well-being and livelihood of the ASEAN communities, and enabling them to thrive, prosper and secure sustainable development when confronted with regional and global challenges.

He continued, “Under Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chairmanship this year, I am elated that Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Strategic and Holistic Initiative, to link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD) is set to be adopted at the upcoming 38th ASEAN Summit.

“This will realise this year’s theme for ASEAN to prepare for and respond swiftly to future emergencies or crises through enhance coordination among sectoral bodies.

“On the recent accomplishment of the Phase II of the Construction of the ASEAN Village in Palu City Project, we appreciate AHA Centre’s success in coordinating the contributions and realising the expectations from the people of Brunei Darussalam towards the recovery effort for Palu people in the Central Sulawesi of Indonesia.

“In adopting a more innovative sustainable approach, we hope to further foster this commitment by establishing a platform to enable ASEAN people to contribute during natural disasters.

“The revision of the Ad-Mer Fund will hope to operationalise this mechanism and allow us to capture the spirit of the One ASEAN One Response, in times

of crisis. I commend the ACDM on their substantive progress and urge it to continue the momentum, to ensure it remains on track to be established by 2022.

“We also witnessed the official launch of the AADMER Work Programme 2021-2025. This framework will lay down the necessary stepping stones to shape ASEAN as a global leader in disaster management by 2025. The Sultanate remains committed to support the implementation and operation of this work programme towards realising our ASEAN Vision.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the livelihood of ASEAN people have been greatly impacted. In the Sultanate, we persevere through a whole-of-nation approach while the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) maintains its important role in supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH) with non-clinical assistance, in a joint effort, in addressing public health concerns, and in paving a road map towards socio-economic recovery.

“To complement the AWP2021-2025, the Sultanate is keen on establishing a National Disaster Management Policy, which will capture the essence of ASEAN Vision, and aims to safeguard the well-being, welfare and livelihood of the nation.

“In seeking out resilience against risks associated with climate change impacts, in particular sea level and temperature rise, the Sultanate continues to strengthen integration of climate adaptation nationwide, and to increase the capacity of the built environment to cope with extreme weather-related events through the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy (BNCCP).”