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AADMER: A Vision and Strategy for Disaster Resilient ASEAN Communities
The ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) is an agreement among ASEAN nations that has the dual aims to reduce disaster losses and to cooperate and assist one another on disaster management and emergency response. AADMER complements and strengthens national plans and actions on disaster risk reduction. AADMER came into force on 24 December 2009 after it was ratified by all ten ASEAN Member States. It is the first legally-binding agreement that complies and expands on the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).
One of the foundations of the AADMER principles is the recognition of the primary responsibility of ASEAN states to respond to disasters occurring within their respective territories. As such, strengthening the capacities of the government to lead disaster risk reduction is both a national priority as well as a regionally binding commitment. The AADMER Work Programme (2010-2015) is a detailed road map to achieve this formidable task, in a region where disaster risks are higher than any other in the world and where poverty and uneven development are forces that collide with climate change impact.
Recognising this tall order, AADMER incorporates partnerships and the involvement of different stakeholders as crucial strategies to achieve its vision. Recognised potential partners include local communities, non-governmental organisations and private enterprises. AADMER acknowledges that a community-based disaster reduction approach is in harmony with its multi-stakeholder outlook. This perspective is also coherent with the vision of a people-centred ASEAN, embodied in the ASEAN Charter.
APG: Working in partnership with others
APG works in partnership with different stakeholders in the ASEAN to raise the voice of vulnerable groups and support AADMER implementation.
The need for multi-level and multi-stakeholder cooperation becomes even more significant in building disaster-resilient communities within ASEAN. Thus, the AADMER Partnership Group (APG) aims to support ASEAN institutions in the people-centred implementation of AADMER, at local, national, and regional levels. APG realises this aim by raising awareness among various stakeholders about the importance of AADMER and how this agreement can be an anchor for strengthening disaster risk reduction at various levels.
A key stakeholder that APG links with are civil society groups in the region, because of their links with the communities directly affected by hazards, and their facilitative role in bridging voices from communities, government and other stakeholders. The diversity of vulnerability and sectoral groups in the region is a rife environment for promoting resilience alongside the respect for rights and sustainable development.
APG works with national authorities and ASEAN institutions, having the mandate to protect its peoples from disaster risks. APG is able to do this by working directly with national disaster management organisations and ASEAN bodies to support AADMER implementation. In countries where it has initiatives to promote AADMER, APG members work with and through existing DRR networks to ensure that it is able to add value to existing initiatives.
APG is composed of Oxfam, Save the Children, Child Fund International, World Vision, Plan International, HelpAge International and Mercy Malaysia. Oxfam currently serves as Lead.
Towards an ASEAN-CSO Partnership Framework
APG envisions that communities and targeted vulnerable groups in Southeast Asia are more resilient to disaster risks as a result of regional and national policies and projects that support the active participation of civil society in disaster risk reduction.
To achieve this vision, APG and the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management agreed to undergo a 3-step process towards the adoption of a partnership framework by 2013 that will institutionalise the roles of civil society organisations (CSO) in disaster risk reduction within the region.
The last couple of years
The drafting of the AADMER Work Programme (AWP, 2010-2015) was a major milestone in the development of a Southeast Asian regional framework on disaster risk reduction and management and the strengthening of ASEAN as a leading regional institution in DRR and DM. The contributions of APG in the development and implementation of the AWP include:
Development of the AADMER Work Programme components on (1) Partnership, Resource Mobilisation; (2) Training and Knowledge Management System; (3) Outreach and Mainstreaming and support to the development of AADMER Preparedness and Response workshop
Raising awareness about AADMER in eight countries and in regional and international fora, particularly on the opportunities for multi-stakeholder partnerships and CSO participation in building ASEAN capacity in DRR, including translation of key AADMER documents into Bahasa, Khmer and Vietnamese
Policy analysis of the links between AADMER with national legislation on disaster management in Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Viet Nam and the spaces for CSO participation in these laws, as well as support in the survey design for AADMER institutionalisation guideline together with IFRC
4-country stakeholder analysis and case studies of platforms for multi-stakeholder partnerships, and country workshops on inception of multi-stakeholder partnerships for AADMER implementation
Help in building the capacity of government authorities through the conduct of regional training needs assessment, support to methodology design and the training of the ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT), facilitation of the ASEAN Defense Senior Officials Table Top Exercises, and cooperation with ECHO on AADMER monitoring and evaluation
Use of various forms (street theatre, song) to communicate the vision of AADMER
The secondment of APG advisors to the ASEAN Secretariat has also been a critical factor in facilitating constructive relations with key offices in ASEAN and the National Disaster Management Offices responsible for implementing AADMER.
What is APG currently involved in?
APG is currently implementing the project, Facilitating Partnerships of National and ASEAN DRR Authorities and Civil Society to Support AADMER Implementation (APG Consortium Programme, Phase 2), supported by the European Commission Office of Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO). The aim is to facilitate the working together of national DRR/DM government authorities, ASEAN DRR/DM bodies and civil society towards reducing risks for vulnerable groups and using AADMER, its Work Programme, flagship projects and national DRR/disaster preparedness laws as the basis and framework for cooperation and collaboration. The project is currently implemented Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand (as regional hub) and Viet Nam.
The project’s key results are
Improved government and CSO awareness on AADMER and national DRR/DM policies, plans and  programmes, recognising the vulnerability and capacity of women, older people and children among other vulnerable groups
Increased capacity of civil society to utilise AADMER to inform and/or influence DRR policies and programmes at national and regional levels and to advocate for the increased resilience of vulnerable groups
Partnerships facilitated between AMS/AADMER mechanisms and CSOs for DRR/AADMER implementation to help raise the resilience of vulnerable groups
Support the ASEAN Secretariat, ACDM and the AHA Centre for AADMER implementation; in particular,facilitate institutional linkages especially with civil society
The project’s major activities are:
AADMER Orientation workshops and popularisation of the agreement including working with media
Further research on links between national DM/DRR laws and AADMER, national and regional stakeholder mapping, with attention on opportunities for integration of gender and vulnerabilities
National and regional trainings for CSOs on community-based DRR, advocacy and influencing, integration of DRR and AADMER in local and national planning
Regional trainings for government and CSOs on community-based disaster risk management and climate change adaptation
CSO Leadership Course on AADMER
Case studies and showcase of good practices of DRR/CBDRR targeting national and ASEAN bodies and highlighting vulnerable group capacities and roles including the Joint Commemoration of International Day for Disaster Reduction and ASEAN Day for Disaster Management
Government-CSO joint activities on DM/DRR and AADMER Flagship Projects
Development of the ASEAN-CSO Framework for Participation and Partnership in AADMER Implementation
Support to ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT) and 2013 ASEAN Regional Disaster Exercises (ARDEX) in Vietnam
In seven countries, APG works in partnership with different stakeholders to support the implementation of disaster risk reduction programmes that is inclusive of vulnerable groups. In this way, we contribute to AADMER implementation.

Programs and Components

For 2012-2013, the objective of the APG is to help national government authorities, ASEAN bodies and civil society to work together to reduce risks for vulnerable groups by using AADMER as the basis and framework for cooperation and collaboration.

With support from the European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the APG programme will be implemented in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines and Viet Nam. Regional activities will be held in Thailand in coordination with the Department for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM).

Coordination and Tasking

At the regional level, the APG through the advisors coordinates directly and primarily with the ASEAN Secretariat, and secondarily with the members of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM). APG also continues to have meetings with ASEAN dialogue partners, including the UNOCHA, Red Cross and Red Crescent movements, and bilateral organisations. The APG worked closely with the UNISDR advisors to the ASEAN during the drafting and early implementation of the AADMER Work Programme, and intends to continue this in the DRR-related activities. Cooperation with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) will also continue at the regional level and in countries where they are present.

At the country level, field coordination tasks will primarily fall on the respective APG leads.

In Cambodia, Plan International as the country lead, coordinates with the National Committee on Disaster Management (NCDM) and is an active member of the DRR Forum which is the primary vehicle for coordination among government agencies, INGOs, UN agencies, international organisations, Red Cross, and local NGOs. The project is also coordinated through the Joint Action Group (JAG).

ChildFund, the lead for Indonesia, works with the Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB, or the National Agency for Disaster Management), as well as the Humanitarian Forum Indonesia (HFI). HFI’s members include prominent Indonesian civil society organizations such as Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Centre (MDMC), Dompet Dhuafa, Yayasan Tanggul Bencana Indonesia (YTBI), Wahana Visi Indonesia (WVI), Karina, Yakkum Emergency Unit (YEU) and PPKM. HFI is strategically involved in many disaster-related consortia and has been an advisor to government boards and agencies in the humanitarian sector. It works with Charity Indonesia, ChildFund, UN OCHA and Islamic Relief. Efforts will also be directed to the rejuvenation of Planas (Platform Nasional) as the national platform for coordination among stakeholders.

Country project implementation in the Philippines is led jointly by Oxfam and the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) in coordination with the with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Coordinating Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). Coordination among civil society groups is done through the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN) as well as the Philippines International NGO Network (PINGON), which is led by Oxfam. Oxfam is also a member of the UN Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and a leading member of the Philippines WASH Cluster.

For AADMER work in Lao PDR, Oxfam Belgium coordinates with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and through the INGO Disaster Management Working Group (INGO-DMWG).

In Myanmar, it is coordinated by World Vision International with the Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) through the DRR Working Group (DRRWG).

World Vision in Viet Nam coordinates with the Department of Dyke, Flood, and Storm  Control (DDFSC) and also plays an active role in the DMWG which  serves as the platform of humanitarian coordination between international organisations, government and civil society. Viet Nam is the incoming chair of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) for 2013.

Lastly, coordination for regional activities in Thailand is done through HelpAge International as the lead organisation and the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), the country’s NDMO which is the incumbent chair of the ACDM.

ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative

About ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative

Asia is one of the disaster prone areas in the world. According to the World Disasters Report, eight out of every 10 people killed in natural disasters are from Asia.

We know that children are always among those most affected by disasters. A school can either protect children in a disaster or put them at risk. That is why the AADMER Partnership Group is supporting the ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative bringing the 10 ASEAN nations to make children safer by making schools safe.

The design phase: Phase 1 (January to June 2013)

The ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative Phase 1 consists of consultations and workshops involving more than 350 people, including local, national, and international stakeholders. Phase 1 provided a country level audit on what exists and the gaps are at country level in terms of safe schools programming. The Phase 1 was supported by Australian Aid.

Identified challenges included the lack of a common agreement on categories and standards for Safe Schools, not only between countries but also within countries.

The implementation phase: Phase 2 (January 2014 – December 2016)

In May 2013, the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management has endorsed the ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative to be one of the flagship projects of ASEAN in the areas of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

How are we going to do this?

We will support schools and governments to make schools safer by applying and maintaining common standards to school buildings and facilities, teacher and student training, school management and planning for disasters.

Who is involved?

Supported by the AADMER Partnership Group (APG), the ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative (ASSI) implementation will bring together several organisations and ASEAN Member State Governments under the leadership of the ASEAN Secretariat.  A dedicated team of senior managers and experts will be set up under a Project Management Team (PMT) to operationalise the implementation of ASSI at both regional and country level.

In-country activities will be supported by the APG, including Mercy Malaysia, Plan International, Save the Children, and World Vision, all of whom have significant experience of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the education sector at national, sub-national, and local/ school levels.  These organisations will work with and through Governments in ASEAN member countries and other Civil Society Organizations, both to assist them in implementation as well as developing their capacity in DRR

For more information, please contact:

Avianto Amri
Adviser for ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative
E: avianto.amri@plan-international.org

There are up to 400,000 schools in the ASEAN region – making these schools safer will protect millions of children who are otherwise vulnerable when an emergency happens.

Your support can help us to protect them.