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ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management 2021
24 Aug 2021

The annual ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management (SPDDM), a signature event of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), was held online from 24 to 26 August 2021. The theme of the event was “Advancing Disaster Management: Into a Future of Possibilities”, highlighting the need for the disaster management sector to prepare and cope with disasters, including complexities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Organised by the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, with RSIS as the knowledge partner, the aim of SPDDM 2021 was to spark discourse on future humanitarian trends, identify the challenges and opportunities of the current regional situation, and facilitate discussions on outcomes from the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2021–2025.

The SPDDM opened with welcome remarks by Mr K. Shanmugam, Singapore’s Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law and ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM) Chair 2021. Also delivering their remarks were Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, as well as Mr Kurt Kunz, Ambassador of Switzerland to ASEAN. This was followed by the first panel discussion on “Redefining Disaster Management in a Post-COVID-19 Landscape: Leveraging on Localisation and Regionalisation”. The panel discussion on “Effective Financing and Resource Mobilisation for Disaster Management in the Future” was held the next day.

The third day started with remarks from Mr Eric Yap, Commissioner of SCDF and ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) Chair 2021. This was followed by the panel discussion on “Introducing Game-Changers in Disaster Management: Leveraging on Technology and Innovation”, with Mr Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, delivering the closing remarks. The SPDDM concluded with a final session on “Innovation and Technology in Disaster Management: Putting Ideas into Action”, before Mr Teong How Hwa, Deputy Commissioner, SCDF, delivered the closing remarks.

Topics including the role of localisation, key developments in the disaster management space, public-private partnerships, and approaches to technology, were raised during the panel discussions and Q&A sessions. These interactions enabled the panellists and participants from across the region to actively engage with each other and exchange ideas on strengthening international multilateral cooperation.

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