Coordinated guides needed for disaster management: ASEAN

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ASEAN face a growing responsibility to develop more coordinated guidelines for military assistance to disaster response, said a Ministry of Defence (MinDef) official yesterday.

Speaking at the Second Workshop of the Establishment of Logistics Support Framework, Hj Azhar Hj Ahmad underscored the importance of recognising the role of defence and military in disaster management following the occurrence of disasters in the region over the past decade.

“For many countries in the Asia-Pacific, the military continues to be the first, or at least a prominent, player in disasters response,” he said during the opening of the workshop yesterday.

The acting permanent secretary of administration and finance pointed out that international assistance to disaster relief in the ASEAN region has seen increasing deployment of military assets as part of its “first response”.

He said the “trend is likely to increase given the predictions for climate change, unprecedented emergencies, and the growing acceptance by states to accept military assistance in times of disaster”.

Describing the need for coordinated guidelines for military assistance to disaster response as “real and pressing”, Hj Azhar said such guidelines will help to enhance ASEAN’s capacity, develop more capabilities and strengthen interoperability.

“And thus, contribute to operational effectiveness and efficiency in ASEAN militaries in addressing non-traditional security challenges,” he added.

He said the Concept Paper on the Establishment of a Logistics Support Framework, adopted by ASEAN Defence Ministers in Brunei last year, underlined the militaries’ commitment to further strengthen regional cooperation.

By enhancing coordination and interoperability, the initiative is also expected to contribute to regional peace, security and stability. “And, more importantly, their determination to develop common regional procedures that would contribute towards the realisation of an ASEAN Political-Security Community by next year,” said the acting permanent secretary.

The second workshop is a follow-up to the first one held in April in Brunei, which laid the foundation for the drafting of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Logistics Support Framework.

Hj Azhar said the framework will provide doctrine and guidance for the planning and execution of logistics in support of ASEAN militaries during disaster towards a more cohesive and effective response to non-traditional security challenges.

Held at the Centrepoint Hotel, Gadong, the three-day workshop brings together representatives from ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat.

The workshop will include presentations from four panel speakers from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot of the World Food Programme; Combined Maritime Forces; US Pacific Command; and the Peace Operations Training Institute.

The Brunei Times