Strengthening JICA’s Partnership with ASEAN for Disaster Management: Signing a Memorandum of Intent with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management
On October 12, as a part of efforts to promote further cooperation with ASEAN, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) to promote cooperation on disaster management in the ASEAN region, including on the operation of the disaster information management system.
The signing was witnessed by Japanese government officials, including State Minister of the Cabinet Office Horii Manabu, at a side event of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management, which was held from October 11 to 13 in Ha Long, Viet Nam. The Ha Long Ministerial Statement on the Strengthening of ASEAN Anticipatory Action in Disaster Management, which was adopted at the meeting, noted that “risk information, forecasting, and early warning systems” are the areas requiring urgent strengthening, and to which JICA’s cooperation with the AHA Centre is intended to contribute.
The ASEAN region, like Japan, suffers frequent disasters including earthquakes, tsunami, and typhoons, and has experienced extensive and devastating damage. In particular, the massive tsunami caused by the megaquake off the coast of Sumatra Island, Indonesia in 2004 resulted in serious damage in countries along the Indian Ocean. Since then, major disasters have occurred repeatedly, from the cyclone that hit Myanmar in 2008 to Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) that struck the Philippines in 2013.
To date, JICA has used Japanese disaster risk reduction experience and techniques, the country’s area of strength, to provide a wide range of cooperation in ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Viet Nam, and the Philippines, formulating disaster prevention plans to reduce disaster risks, developing infrastructure, and cultivating human resources to strengthen the disaster prevention capabilities of member nations.
Cooperation so far has primarily been bilateral. Now, however, with the signing of the MoI with the AHA Centre, which serves as the disaster management base for the ASEAN region, JICA will support the creation of a disaster management network that positions ASEAN as one region and provide further cooperation for deeper ASEAN integration. In addition, JICA will increase human resource exchanges and the sharing of knowledge and experience between Japan and the ASEAN region in the area of disaster management, with the goal of strengthening human and knowledge connectivity in the ASEAN region.
A scene from the MoI signing ceremony at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management.
This year commemorates the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation. JICA will further deepen its partnership with ASEAN through industry-academia-government collaboration and, looking toward the next 50 years, continue to work with ASEAN to create a disaster-resilient region for future generations.
The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre): An organization established in Jakarta in 2011 to implement the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). While communicating and working with the disaster response headquarters of each of the ASEAN member countries, it carries out disaster risk assessment and monitors the situation in the ASEAN region during normal times and shares disaster information and coordinates emergency assistance with ASEAN member countries in times of disaster.