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Outline of the Project

Project Name

The Phase 2 Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH2)




Thailand and ASEAN

Date R/D Signed

October 19, 2021 (Thailand)

Term of Cooperation

January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2026

Implementing Organization

Thailand: National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM), Ministry of Public Health
ASEAN: ASEAN Secretariat, Ministries of Health of ASEAN Member States


In recent years, the frequency of natural disasters has been increasing in many parts of the world, causing tremendous damage. Southeast Asia is one of the most disaster-prone regions, and the scale of the damage is significant.

The unprecedented catastrophe in the coastal areas of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as countries in South Asia and Eastern Africa, caused by the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2004, prompted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to launch a regional initiative to strengthen its capacity for disaster response and preparedness in the region.

The importance of strengthening regional capacity has been emphasized among ASEAN Leaders, as expressed in the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) of 2005 and ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the region and outside the region, of 2016. These have been operationalized through the establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance in disaster management (AHA Centre).

The health component of disaster management in ASEAN has been articulated through the identification of Disaster Health Management (DHM) as one of the priorities of the ASEAN Post-2015 Health Development Agenda.

Thailand, as Lead Country for DHM, has been strengthening its domestic emergency and disaster medical management system, and aiming to enhance regional collaboration to strengthen the disaster response capacity of the ASEAN region.

However, there were large gaps in understanding, implementation capacity, and management systems in disaster medicine among ASEAN Member States (AMS), and there was a need to promote the development of a regional collaboration framework and mechanism in ASEAN.

Like the ASEAN region, Japan is prone to natural disasters, and has a rich knowledge and experience in disaster response. It has established a system of Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) for domestic disaster response, and the Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Medical Team has extensive experience in international deployment.

With this background, the government of the Kingdom of Thailand requested the government of Japan to implement a technical cooperation project that would contribute to strengthening cooperation in disaster medicine in the ASEAN region, and the Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project) was launched in July 2016.

The ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Disaster Health Management (ALD on DHM), adopted at the 31st ASEAN Summit in November 2017, pursues the same goal that the ARCH Project is seeking for, and the Plan of Action to implement the ALD on DHM, that the ARCH Project supported in drafting, was endorsed by the ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting in 2019.

All AMS have developed some form of emergency medical teams, many of which have already been deployed internationally.

However, many AMS indicated that it will be difficult to meet the EMT minimum requirements that were set by the WHO EMT initiative for the standardized approach to emergency medical teams, and although several countries have expressed interest, or applied for the accreditation, Thailand EMT is the only AMS to be classified by the WHO.

Following the implementation of the ARCH Project between July 2016 and July 2019, it was extended for another 30 months until December 2021, and continued supporting the following activities: integrating the Standard Operating Procedure for Coordination of Emergency Medical Teams in ASEAN (EMT SOP) and regional tools into the Standard Operating Procedure for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (ASEAN SASOP); reviewing the EMT SOP through organizing the Regional Collaboration Drill (RCD); conducting a study on capacity development needs in DHM; establishing the ASEAN Academic Network on DHM (AANDHM); developing standard training curricula; and formulating the ASEAN Collective Measures, which aim to promote rapid and effective emergency medical activities by supporting AMS efforts achieving the WHO minimum requirements and leveraging the existing advantages of the ASEAN region.

The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted AMS significantly. The field of DHM includes not only disaster response but also response to public health emergencies including disease outbreaks. One of the additional activities conducted during the extension phase was to share AMS's good practice on emergency medical response to COVID-19.

Before the completion of the ARCH Project in December 2021, experts from AMS and Japan, the ASEAN Secretariat, and JICA discussed how to contribute further to the realization of the ALD on DHM through support in the implementation of its Plan of Action 2019-2025.

In order for the regional coordination and collaboration framework on DHM developed through the implementation of the ARCH Project to be firmly established and effectively mobilized in the event of actual disasters, it was confirmed that continued support is required for the organization of the Regional Coordination Committee on Disaster Health Management (RCCDHM) and the RCD, reviewing the EMT SOP and its regional tools, strengthening the newly established AANDHM, as well as capacity development of human resources on DHM in each AMS.

In response to the official request of the government of the Kingdom of Thailand to the government of Japan toward the formulation of a succeeding project, JICA developed a detailed plan of the Phase 2 Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH2).

After completion of the respective internal procedures, the Record of Discussion (R/D) was concluded in October 2021, and it was confirmed that the ARCH2 Project will be launched in January 2022.

In addition, the Project was officially regarded as a regional technical cooperation project through the Japan-ASEAN Technical Cooperation Agreement.

The ARCH 2 Project will facilitate human resource exchange, knowledge co-creation between Japan and ASEAN, support for the organization of RCCDHM, RCD, AANDHM, and ASEAN Academic Conference on DHM, launch of an ASEAN Academic Journal, promotion of peer support and mutual learning by AMS, and development of the ASEAN Collective Measures to realize rapid and effective emergency medical activities.

The Overall Goal

Disaster resilient health system is established in the ASEAN community.

Project Purpose

Regional capacity on disaster health management is strengthened in ASEAN.


  1. Regional collaborative frameworks on disaster health management are strengthened.
  2. Disaster health management frameworks/concepts are integrated into national and sub-national legal and regulatory framework in each AMS.
  3. Knowledge management on disaster health management is enhanced.

Project Activities

1-1 Meetings of the Regional Coordination Committee on Disaster Health Management are held periodically.
1-2 The Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the Coordination of International Emergency Medical Teams (I-EMT) in ASEAN is regularly reviewed, tested through regional exercises or lessons learned from actual disaster responses, and updated if necessary.
1-3 A database of Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) in ASEAN is developed and updated annually.
1-4 ASEAN collective measures for AMS I-EMT are developed.
1-5 Regional Collaboration Drill (RCD) is conducted annually.
2-1 Comprehensive team information for I-EMT in each AMS is developed and regularly reviewed, tested through RCD and updated.
2-2 National policies, strategies and procedures for disaster health management in each AMS are studied and reviewed with advices/recommendations.
2-3 National educational/training system on disaster health management in each AMS is reviewed with advices/recommendations.
3-1 Standard training curricula of I-EMT, EMTCC and other topics related to disaster health management are developed.
3-2 E-learning materials are developed according to the standard training curricula of O3-1.
3-3 Model in-country training programs are conducted in some AMS according to the standard training curricula of O3-1.
3-4 Model regional training programs are conducted in collaboration with educational institutes in ASEAN according to the standard training curricula of O3-1.
3-5 A network of AMS national academic institutions is established.
3-6 Regional Conference on disaster health management is organized every two years.
3-7 At least one joint research is proposed and conducted every year.
3-8 ASEAN Journal/E-Bulletin on Disaster Health Management is established and published twice a year.

[Japanese side]

Japanese Long Term Experts (Three experts)
Project assistants (Three)
Japanese Short Term Experts (consultants) for some additional surveys
Cost for project office operation and equipment
Cost of travel cost for international participants for the project activities
Cost for meetings/drills/training venues

[Thailand side]

NIEM assigns a senior managerial staff as Project Manager and MOPH assigns a senior managerial officer as Co-Project Manager.
Thai Taskforce shall be organized, consisting of medical experts on disaster medicine.
Administrative staff who supports the activities of the Project shall be assigned by NIEM and MOPH.
Necessary cost of meetings or business trips for Thai taskforce members and administrative staff shall be borne by NIEM and MOPH.
Project office space and necessary office furniture shall be provided by NIEM and MOPH.


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