Cyclone Nargis Ten Years On: A Decade of New Humanitarian Partnerships in Southeast Asia
By Angelo Trias
The HADR Programme of RSIS’ Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies hosted a conference titled “Cyclone Nargis Ten Years On: A Decade of New Humanitarian Partnerships in Southeast Asia” from 8 to 9 November 2018. The objective was to share experiences of the disaster response, discuss innovations in HADR mechanisms since then, and consider changing humanitarian and disaster environments and needs.
The keynote address, delivered by Dr Win Myat Aye, Union Minister for Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in Myanmar, highlighted the country’s progress in disaster preparedness in legal frameworks, institutional arrangements, mitigation measures, capacity building, hazard monitoring, and early warning systems.
A subsequent public roundtable on practitioner reflections by Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Mr Robert H. K. Chua, and Mr Ye Htut emphasised the importance of (i) adopting people-centred approaches, (ii) building trust before attempting to offer assistance, and (iii) forging multi-stakeholder efforts including civil-military relations.
The first panel addressed the challenges of HADR mechanisms and noted ways forward. First, that is the speed of assistance and not magnitude of assistance is critical. Second, mechanisms should leverage on contributions of professional associations and not just the private sector. Third, it needs to feature a “one-stop shop” to manage international aid.
The second panel reflected on lessons learned from contemporary humanitarian complexities and experiences. Key themes that emerged are the need to involve local actors to build on existing capacities, and to embrace context-relevant approaches in HADR efforts.
The conference ended with working group discussions on future prospects, and a consensus that we need to take steps in adapting HADR mechanisms to better address both natural and man-made disasters.
Last updated on 23/01/2019