Think Tank (July to August 2019)
Amb Ong Keng Yong (first from left, front row), Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, and Prof Mely Caballero-Anthony (second from left, middle row), Head of NTS Centre, at the ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management on 21 August
< Back
RSIS Celebrates World Humanitarian Day, 2019
19 Aug 2019
Christopher Chen
S. Nanthini

This year the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) at RSIS organised an annual series of events to commemorate the World Humanitarian Day. It started with hosting the RSIS Workshop 2019 titled “Realising ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management: Making Strategy a Reality” from 19 to 20 August. The workshop brought together stakeholders in Southeast Asia to discuss practical ways to fulfil the strategy set forth by the ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management through a whole-of-society approach.

More than 50 participants convened to examine cross-sectoral partnerships in disaster management. They included representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), focal points of member states, multilateral organisations, the military and defence sector, NGOs, businesses, and academia. Speakers from the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance in Disaster Management (AHA Centre), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Save the Children, The World Bank, UN Pulse Lab Jakarta, Mercy Malaysia, and Geutanyoe Foundation and Meteorological Service Singapore shared their experiences. They spoke on what worked well and how, and what did not work and why in disaster management partnerships in the past five years. This was followed by breakout group sessions where participants discussed how to develop a working model to enhance successful sectoral partnerships and to build less-developed ones. Output from the workshop will be used to produce concrete recommendations for the development of 2021-2025 ASEAN Work Plan for the realisation of the declaration on “One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region”.

The second event was the “5th RSIS World Humanitarian Day 2019 Public Panel and Exhibition” on the evening of 19 August. The annual event brings together local players in the humanitarian sphere to celebrate the dedication of humanitarian workers around the world, and to remember those in most need of assistance. The event drew an audience of over 50 people including seven exhibitors – Mercy Relief, ReliefSG, Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation (RLAF), Singapore Red Cross, Yonah, World Vision, and the RSIS HADR Programme. The panellists this year included Mr Euan Wilmshurst, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, IBM Asia Pacific; Mr Sim Zhi Min, Co-Founder, Yonah; and LTC Zhou Yan Sheng, Senior Assistant Director Force Transformation, Singapore Civil Defence Force. This year’s panel discussion focused on exploring ways to use “Technology for Good”. The panellists reflected on their engagements with technology and gave insights into how their respective organisations are employing new and innovative solutions in emergencies and disaster situations, particularly in saving lives and alleviating suffering.

The annual series of events concluded on 21 August in Singapore, with the RSIS HADR Programme participating as knowledge partner for the ASEAN Strategic Policy Dialogue on Disaster Management, which was co-organised by the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the AHA Centre. Mrs Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, gave the opening remarks as the guest of honour. The dialogue emphasised the need to continuously build ASEAN’s resiliency to disasters by forging multi-stakeholder partnerships for future challenges, leveraging on sustainable development efforts to mitigate disaster impacts, and adapting to localisation as a new norm in humanitarian response.

Participants of the RSIS Workshop 2019 on 19-20 August
Other Articles