Following more than a decade of collaboration to enhance disaster management capacities in the Southeast Asia region, the Pacific Disaster Center—Managed by the University of Hawaiʻi—and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), signed an official Memorandum of Intent on June 5, 2017. The memorandum aims to strengthen the two centers’ ongoing partnership in advancing disaster risk reduction and regional cooperation, including steps to advance the vision of One ASEAN, One Response.
“Today, we are proud of our 13 year-old collaboration and partnership to enhance early warning, disaster management, and humanitarian assistance capabilities in the region. At this signing, we are thankful and filled with hope and inspiration to continue working with our most valued partners to advance a worthy cause for all people in the region,” said Ray Shirkhodai, Executive Director of Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), during the signing ceremony at AHA Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia.
PDC’s collaboration with ASEAN started at the launching of the ASEAN Regional Program on Disaster Management in Bali, Indonesia, April 2004. Just months prior to the catastrophic Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami that killed over two hundred thousand people and displaced millions, the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and PDC had agreed to collaborate on technology for early warning and disaster monitoring, making a commitment to enhance disaster risk reduction throughout the region. Speaking at the ceremony, Acting Executive Director of AHA Centre Adelina Kamal said that the AHA Centre has benefited from the strong support of all of its partners, adding that, “The U.S. Government and PDC were among the first few early partners to support the AHA Centre even before it was established five years ago to facilitate cooperation and coordination of disaster management and emergency response among ASEAN member states.”
Since that time, funding and support from USAID has helped PDC and the AHA Centre realize their commitment to work side-by-side for the common good and to achieve many successful outcomes including, but not limited to: The ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Program for Risk Assessment, Early Warning, and Monitoring Activity (2010-2015); the AHA Centre Information Communication Technology (ICT) Gap Analysis; and the complete implementation of a Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS) powered by PDC’s DisasterAWARE platform.
Commenting on the new agreement and long-standing partnership, University of Hawaiʻi President Dr. David Lassner said, “This is an unprecedented and exemplary effort that demonstrates how global collaboration and public-private partnerships can save lives, reduce risk, and advance prosperity for generations to come.”
PDC and AHA Centre are already collaborating on new endeavors to support such causes, including a project to conduct a regional risk assessment for the 10 ASEAN Member States to inform sound policies for risk reduction across the region. Learn more about the AHA Centre and partnership with PDC.