South East Asia – a region that is no stranger to natural hazards – provides examples of some of the most comprehensive laws, policies and practices to both reduce risk from and respond to hazards. Not only are there positive examples at the national level but the region also boasts one of the only binding regional disaster risk management agreements, in the form of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). This agreement provides a regional framework for cooperation, coordination, technical assistance, and resource mobilisation in all aspects of disaster management in South East Asia.
Effective frameworks for national disaster risk management are part of the commitments which the ten ASEAN Member States have made under the AADMER. Strong national preparedness and response is both an AADMER objective, as well as being an important foundation for regional cooperation.
In 2017, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) partnered with ASEAN under the Regional Resilience Initiative (RRI) to explore the level of implementation of disaster preparedness and response commitments in AADMER against domestic disaster risk management laws and policies. The resulting research, launched this week and available as narrative reports and an online platform, provides an overview of trends in domestic implementation of AADMER. It also maps country level provisions against the corresponding AADMER commitment and establishes a platform for ongoing learning between disaster management practitioners and policy makers within ASEAN.
Some of the key findings include:
- Whilst regional commitments under AADMER are, by in large, not specifically mentioned in disaster management laws and policies across the 10 ASEAN Member States, domestic frameworks are generally sufficient to meet the AADMER provisions on disaster preparedness and response;
- Despite the lack of specific incorporation of regional mechanisms in law and regulation, the general administrative mechanisms which provide the building blocks for regional cooperation on disaster preparedness and response under the AADMER are in place. These take the form of the ASEAN/ AHA disaster management focal points and agencies and the ASEAN Committee for Disaster Management. .
- Some gaps remain in the institutional powers and resources for the ASEAN Member States general management of international assistance in their own territories, in arrangements for regional preparedness or regional response, and in mechanisms for sending assistance, transit of assistance, and coordination through the AHA Centre.
- Finally, the research provides a platform for continued exchange and shared learning within ASEAN on the many positive county level legislative and policy examples ranging from domestic preparedness and response, early warning, stakeholder engagement and some examples in provisions facilitating regional cooperation.
It is anticipated that the narrative reports and online platform will provide a user-friendly repository of information of country-level profiles, key laws and policy documents for ASEAN countries at the national and regional level. Furthermore, it provides examples of good practice within the region which can be used as a basis for shared learning and a mechanism for peer support on disaster management legislative and policy issues among policy makers and practitioners.
Red Cross and Red Crescent remains committed to continued work with national authorities, ASEAN and key partners to conduct more detailed country level analysis and further elaboration of the initial research, as well as to support cross regional peer exchange and support implementation of the research recommendations.
IFRC acknowledges Canadian Red Cross and Global Affairs Canada for their generosity in supporting this initiative.