Think Tank (1/2022)
RSIS Workshop: Humanitarian Futures in Southeast Asia
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Humanitarian Futures in Southeast Asia
27 Jan 2022

A workshop on humanitarian futures in Southeast Asia explored practical ways in which organisations could manage ongoing crises and be more prepared for similar events in the future. The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) jointly organised the workshop with the Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre (Changi RHCC). The workshop was held on 27 January 2022 at NTU@One North in Singapore.

Disasters are growing significantly in magnitude and frequency, with further aggravation by technological, socio-economic and geopolitical factors. We have witnessed the increasing complexity of natural hazards in the recent double disasters of a volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Southeast Asia faces a wide range of potential risks, such as the effects of climate change, natural hazards, infectious diseases, nuclear accidents, and transboundary pollution. It is important for actors with humanitarian roles and responsibilities to be better prepared for large-scale disasters and the cascading impacts. The workshop was the second of its kind, focused on strengthening support systems for policy-planners and decision-makers to improve crises response and disaster preparedness for the various challenges in this decade and beyond.

The workshop brought together 47 diverse participants who shared their respective experiences and insights on the themes covered in the workshop. These included Singapore-based military personnel, civil servants, as well as representatives from think tanks, non-governmental organisations, and United Nations agencies, whose work related to humanitarian action.

During the workshop, speakers from international and regional organisations, foreign government officials, and academia discussed the “riskscape” in Southeast Asia and shared the latest tools available for crisis management. The participants were divided into 10 groups to test, analyse, and plan for different emergency scenarios. The workshop was delivered as part of our commitment to exercises that can contribute to the improvement of institutional preparedness for humanitarian emergencies.

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