ASEAN ministers to meet in Laos to discuss disaster management

 
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VIENTIANE Oct 11 (TNS): The fifth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management is scheduled to be held in northern Lao city of Luang Prabang with focus on the need to prepare resources in readiness for disasters so as to lessen their impacts.

The meeting, slated for Oct. 17-19, will emphasize the importance of public awareness, community participation, promoting partnerships and collaboration, and mainstreaming disaster management in the development process, Lao state-run media Vientiane Times reported.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) ministers responsible for disaster management would review the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Center’s services in Jakarta, Indonesia, to ensure it acted as the regional hub for disaster management, information and knowledge, Director General of the ministry’s Social Welfare Department Prasong Vongkhamchanh was quoted as saying.

“Floods occur every year somewhere in ASEAN member countries including in Laos and the nation is vulnerable to natural disasters as a result of poor infrastructure and low resilience, with the majority of people living in rural areas,” Prasong said.

Discussions at the meeting will also focus on materialization of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response, as well as the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response – ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region, which were approved by regional leaders in Vientiane in September 2016, he added.

Prasong said the sub-committees in charge of meeting preparations were ready and had completed all the planned content, economic, protocol and security arrangements according to ministry guidelines.

The meeting would play an important role in implementing international and ASEAN strategies on preventing disasters, reducing their impacts, and providing humanitarian aid to victims of natural and man-made disasters, he added.

The fifth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting will adopt the ASEAN 2025 Vision on Disaster Management as a strategic policy document that will guide the region over the next 10 years in disaster management and emergency response.

The first to fourth ASEAN ministerial meetings on disaster management were held in Cambodia in 2004, Brunei in 2014, and Cambodia in 2015, and last year in Indonesia.