2014 08 FSI InsightsVOL. III, NO. 3 | October 2016

by Virgemarie A. Salazar
Southeast Asia is a region vulnerable to both natural and manmade disasters. The Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, which affected Indonesia and Thailand, Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar in May 2008, and Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013, left thousands dead and destroyed homes and livelihoods. A disaster is typically seen as a function of the risk process for it results from the combination of hazards, vulnerabilities and insufficient capacity to decrease the negative consequences of risk.1
Disasters disrupt the functioning of a community or a society by causing widespread human, economic and environmental losses. Annually, the ASEAN region suffers from more than USD 4.4 billion in losses related to natural disasters.2 Thus, disasters are a non-traditional security issue for they arise out of non-military causes and are transnational in scope. These kinds of security threats require multilateral cooperation because national efforts are often inadequate and the effects are not confined to one state.3
ASEAN Member States recognize the importance of cooperation in addressing natural and manmade disasters. The ASEAN Political-Security Blueprint has identified disaster management and emergency response as one of the region’s main non-traditional security challenges along with transnational crime and terrorism. Disaster management aims to reduce the attendant risks and mitigate the impact of events that cannot be avoided. Disasters are inevitable, but their worst effects can be prevented by preparation, early warning and swift decisive responses.
The aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami brought the subject of disaster management to the fore and prompted ASEAN Member States to sign the Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) in 2005.4 The AADMER seeks to provide effective mechanisms to achieve substantial decrease in disaster losses, and to jointly respond to disaster emergencies through concerted national efforts and intensified regional and international cooperation. The agreement defines disaster management as a range of activities, prior to, during and after disasters, designed to provide a framework for helping communities to avoid, minimize and recover from the impact of disasters. In implementing AADMER, ASEAN collaborates with its Dialogue Partners5 and members of the AADMER Partnership Group,6 a consortium of seven civil society organizations, for it acknowledges the significance of establishing a wide network of stakeholders in addressing the issue.
Under the Obama administration, US foreign policy agenda toward the region include advancing cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster response for it was during this administration when devastating natural disasters hit the region. As a Dialogue Partner, the US supports ASEAN initiatives on disaster management.
This paper examines the efforts of the US and ASEAN in promoting cooperation in disaster management under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2014 to track ASEAN’s progress in implementing the objectives of AADMER. It also discusses the gaps and challenges and explores ways to further strengthen the efforts of the two parties in achieving a disaster-resilient region. While close partnerships have been formed between the US and ASEAN in the field of disaster management, cooperation has to be sustained, if not improved, in the long run to achieve a safer ASEAN Community.
Disaster Management in ASEAN: Concepts and Framework
Disasters pose enormous challenges, especially for developing nations. Southeast Asian states, predominantly Indonesia and the Philippines, were hardest hit by natural disasters between 2004 and 2013 with the total report of 527 incidences and 354,293 deaths.7 To respond to the challenges, ASEAN is working to increase the capacity of Member States in coping with disasters in the short run and investing in measures on disaster prevention and mitigation in the long run. However, efforts have to be intensified in effectively translating policies into strategies and activities to achieve intended outcomes.
The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) defines disaster risk management as “the systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations, and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improved coping capacities in order to lessen the adverse impacts of hazards and the possibility of disaster.”8 This process aims to avoid or reduce the negative effects of hazards through prevention, mitigation and preparedness. In 2005, members of the UN adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which set an overarching goal to achieve substantive reduction of disaster losses by 2015 by building communities resilient to disasters. It underscored the importance of promoting disaster risk reduction efforts on the local, national and international levels. In March 2015, states adopted the Sendai Framework to replace the HFA during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.
Under the HFA, regional organizations are responsible for the following: (1) promoting regional programs for disaster risk reduction; (2) undertaking and publishing regional and sub-regional baseline assessments; (3) coordinating reviews on progress toward implementing the Hyogo Framework in the region; (4) establishing regional collaborative centers; and (5) supporting the development of regional early warning mechanisms.9
Part of ASEAN’s 2015 vision is to have disaster-resilient nations and safer communities; thus, it came up with mechanisms to facilitate regional cooperation on disaster management. The AADMER is a legally-binding proactive regional framework for cooperation, coordination, technical assistance, and resource mobilization in all aspects of disaster management. It affirms ASEAN’s commitment to the HFA for ASEAN Member States are cognizant of the need to develop coordinated regional approaches to prepare for disasters and ensure swift response in situations that require international assistance.
The AADMER requires members to cooperate in the following areas: (1) developing and implementing measures to reduce disaster losses; (2) immediately responding to disasters occurring within their territory; (3) promptly responding to a request for assistance from an affected country; and (4) taking legislative, administrative and other measures to implement provisions under the agreement.
The AADMER has two different levels of commitment: (1) to build regional capacity focused on supporting Member States in preparedness and response capacities, coupled with a regional system of rules to expedite collaboration during disasters; and (2) to assist governments in improving their disaster risk management systems through all stages of the disaster management cycle.10 Moreover, the agreement intends to accomplish concrete actions in the strategic components of (1) risk assessment, early warning and monitoring; (2) prevention and mitigation; (3) preparedness and response; and (4) recovery.11 Member States came up with the AADMER Work Programme for 2010-2015 to serve as a roadmap in effectively translating the goals of AADMER into flagship projects based on the four components of disaster management. Several bodies are involved in implementing, monitoring and evaluating the AADMER Work Programme such as the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), and the ASEAN Secretariat.
Using the priorities of the HFA and the strategic components outlined in the AADMER, this study looks at how the US-ASEAN cooperation under the Obama administration contributes to the goal of developing the region’s resilience to disasters. The objectives, strategic components and building blocks of the AADMER, including the HFA priorities, serve as the framework in analyzing the efforts of the US and ASEAN on disaster management.
US-ASEAN Cooperation on Disaster Management
The US became a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN in 1977. Over the years, their Dialogue Relations have grown encompassing a wide range of areas, including political and security, economic and trade, social and cultural, and development cooperation. Regular meetings are held between ASEAN and US officials to discuss matters of mutual interest within and outside the region. The US participates in a several consultative meetings with ASEAN, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)12, the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus)13, the East Asia Summit (EAS)14 and the Post Ministerial Conferences (PMCs)15.
At the first ASEAN-US Leaders’ Meeting in 2009 held in Singapore, the ASEAN Leaders welcomed US support for the AADMER as well as its offer of assistance to develop a multiple hazard monitoring system for the region. Since the AHA Centre’s establishment, the US Government has been working closely with the ACDM, AHA Centre and ASEAN Secretariat to realize the offer through the development of a monitoring and response system. The Joint Vision Statement on the ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership stressed the need to cooperate at the regional and global levels on disaster management, including the development of regional and global standby arrangements for disaster management and emergency response.
In one of her foreign policy speeches, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained that America’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific region has shifted toward more civilian-led than military-supported initiatives. Nonetheless, she affirmed that military cooperation in Asia continues to be a key part of a comprehensive engagement. She highlighted the three D’s of US foreign policy — defense, diplomacy and development — as mutually reinforcing strategies. Under this framework, Secretary Clinton appointed the US Agency for International Development to lead in disaster response by building its ability to get relief supplies and deploy aid workers into the field within 24 hours after a disaster strikes. She believed that integrating the three D’s puts the US in the best position to secure its own interest while promoting common interests with partners and allies.16 This policy has been evident in the way the US participates in the various ASEAN-led initiatives.
The ARF is an important venue for security dialogue in Asia, complementing various dialogues and mechanisms. It provides a setting in which members can discuss current regional security issues and develop cooperative measures to enhance peace and security in the region. The ARF has organized several disaster relief and emergency response exercises. It also keeps a detailed record of contacts and organizers to help maintain the disaster relief and emergency response network. The ARF Disaster Relief Exercise (ARF DiREx)‎ is a collaboration of efforts among civilian authorities and the military in organizing a large scale disaster relief exercise, and promotes exchange of expertise and practices in disaster management among ARF members. Collaboration is achieved through operational and strategic cooperation involving national governments and international organizations with a focus on the Table Top Exercise and a tactical level-oriented Field Training Exercise. It takes place every two years and is co-hosted by one ASEAN member state and one non-ASEAN ARF member. Organizations such as the ASEAN Secretariat, AHA Centre, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also participate in the ARF DiREx.
Another ASEAN mechanism that the US has been actively engaged with is the ADMM-Plus. It serves as a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defense cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region. This security arrangement acts as a building block in establishing a new security infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region that formally includes the US.17 Under the ADMM-Plus, the US is expected to work with other members to build capacity so as to enhance regional security in a substantive way. In October 2010, then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates participated in the inaugural ADMM-Plus to develop greater regional military cooperation. The Defense Ministers were keen to see concrete actions in the different areas of cooperation with the help of civilian actors. They believe they have a significant role to play in contributing to peace and security in the region. The ministers do not want ADMM to be a military pact; hence, they intend to align their efforts with other ASEAN dialogue and cooperative mechanisms such as the ARF, ACDM and EAS.
In 2012, the US provided a team of international experts to work closely with the AHA Centre in developing the ASEAN Disaster Monitoring and Response System. The development of the system was initiated following an offer made by President Barack Obama at the First ASEAN-US Leaders’ Meeting. This system allowed the AHA Centre to visually monitor, geographically detect and synthesize multiple streams of data on hazardous events or natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, cyclones and floods. With the available data, the AHA Centre is able to speed up decision-making, which is crucial in times of disasters.
The US Forest Service also helped the AHA Centre develop an Incident Command System and the Concept of Operations for its Emergency Operation Centre. The University of Hawaii, with the support from the Harvard University, conducted an assessment for the capacity development of AHA Centre operations. In addition, the US Marine Corps held a planning process workshop in Jakarta from 4-7 November 2013, which focused on planning, mission analysis and decision support.
The year 2012 also marked the 35thanniversary of US-ASEAN relations. At the US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Secretary Hillary Clinton remarked that the US has a stake in ASEAN’s success. She mentioned that “natural disasters are one of the most significant challenges to the stability, development and prosperity of the ASEAN nations.”18 Thus, she encouraged all ASEAN Member States to endorse the Rapid Disaster Response Agreement, which aims to implement a more effective delivery of supplies, service, and personnel during disastrous events. As part of US engagement on disaster management, the US Trade and Development Agency sponsored a Workshop on ASEAN Disaster Management, Mitigation, and Response Technologies in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2012. The workshop assisted disaster management authorities from ASEAN Member States in identifying appropriate technical and operational solutions and enhanced their capabilities to adequately prepare for and effectively respond to disaster-related emergencies.
Another initiative worth highlighting is the ASEAN-US Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development, and Security or the PROGRESS program, which supports ASEAN’s capacity to advance good governance, regional security and an equitable and sustainable human development. In line with the ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership Plan of Action 2011-2015, PROGRESS identified response planning to natural disasters as a key area of cooperation.19
In 2013, ASEAN issued the Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management to reaffirm ASEAN’s commitment in pursuing effective cooperation in disaster risk reduction and building the capacities of ASEAN peoples to be more resilient and self-reliant in mitigating the impact of disasters. The declaration encourages ASEAN Dialogue Partners and relevant regional and international organizations to help in developing a supportive environment that optimizes the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme.20
Before 2013 ended, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines causing widespread destruction in its wake. The AHA Centre had been proactive by monitoring the movement of the typhoon before it made landfall, disseminating information through flash updates in social media and the Disaster Management Response System, and activating the Disaster Emergency Logistic System for ASEAN in Malaysia. In addition, the AHA Centre deployed a four-member Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT) to Manila, consisting of an AHA Centre Field Team Leader, two ERAT members from Brunei and a representative from an international NGO within the AADMER Partnership Group to monitor the storm and coordinate and discuss possible relief support with the Philippine government.21
ASEAN members deployed defense assets and relief aid, bilaterally, to support the relief operation. Singapore’s air force delivered relief supplies to affected areas, and at the request of the Philippine military, extended the deployment of its C-130 transports. Brunei dispatched its patrol vessel and fixed-wing aircraft, while Thailand offered a C-130 transport and medical assistance. Indonesia contributed USD 2 million in aid and sent three C-130 aircrafts to distribute supplies.22 The US was actively involved in disaster response and relief operations during that time. Assistance from the US included USD 87 million in disaster aid, USD 59 million in private sector contributions, massive US military humanitarian effort, as well as diplomatic and legislative activities. Some 66 military aircraft and 12 naval vessels were engaged in relief efforts and nearly 1,000 military personnel were deployed. The USS George Washington, along with elements of the 31stMarine Expeditionary Unit from Okinawa, was part of the Joint Task Force in cooperation with the Philippine government and armed forces.23
However, it had been observed that despite ASEAN’s focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster response, it was slow to react during Typhoon Haiyan. In a press conference, Thai and Indonesian foreign ministers voiced concern over how ASEAN’s response lagged behind those of the other partners outside the region such as the US, United Kingdom and Japan. One reason could be that the scale of Typhoon Haiyan was too great to allow for a coordinated response from ASEAN given its institutional limitations and resource constraints.24
Thus, during the East Summit Asia held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar in November 2014 ASEAN Leaders acknowledged the need for an enhanced cooperation between ACDM and disaster management authorities in non-ASEAN countries to strengthen disaster management capabilities in the region. They also welcomed the progress on the Rapid Disaster Response Toolkit and the ongoing implementation of the World Health Organization registration and classification system for foreign medical teams in the region. The US extended support to the East Asia Summit Declaration on Rapid Disaster Response. Assistant Secretary Daniel Russel of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs mentioned the importance of disseminating the lessons learned in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan and in improving the capabilities of the AHA Centre. Likewise, he announced efforts of the US to team up with regional partners to develop a strategic plan for exercises that will prepare the US and ASEAN in coordinating relief delivery in case of disasters in the future.25 Moreover, the US has been working with Australia and Malaysia to develop a multi-year strategic exercise plan on disaster relief for ASEAN bodies and mechanisms such as the ACDM, ARF, ADMM-Plus and EAS.
The elevation of US-ASEAN Dialogue Relations to a Strategic Partnership in November 2015 also opened more opportunities for engagement in the field of disaster management. The Plan of Action to Implement ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership (2016-2020) highlights the need to support the AADMER Work Programme 2 (2013-2015) and the work of AHA Centre beyond 2015. Furthermore, the plan includes strengthening ASEAN’s mechanism on coordinating and mobilizing humanitarian assistance through exchange of expertise and knowledge, as well as increasing efforts in developing ASEAN-wide disaster risk assessment system through hazard and vulnerability mapping, and institutionalizing the ASEAN Disaster Management Training Institutes Network (ADTRAIN) and priority training courses under the AADMER.
Gaps and Challenges
The policies and programs on disaster management enabled ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners to align their efforts on a number of strategies and priorities. ASEAN, however, has to do more to turn its policy goals into actual programs to achieve the desired outcomes. Despite the progress in the US-ASEAN cooperative arrangements, some gaps and challenges persist mainly on the part of ASEAN. In engaging the US, ASEAN has to set its priorities straight by focusing on activities that would deliver high-impact and sustainable outcomes.
Improve disaster preparedness
The cooperative efforts between the US and ASEAN on disaster risk management under the Obama administration placed more emphasis on disaster relief and emergency response as shown in the previous section. Disaster risk management, however, is a comprehensive strategy that covers more than post-disaster activities such as relief and response. The term disaster risk management is used to refer to all activities intended to reduce risk or prepare for disasters as well as those associated with emergency relief and reconstruction.26 Studies show that prioritizing disaster preparedness and mitigation enables governments to minimize the destructive effects of disasters.
One of the objectives of the AADMER Work Programme 2010-2015 is to enhance the preparedness of Member States and improve ASEAN’s responsiveness to major disasters. ASEAN needs to strengthen institutional frameworks for disaster preparedness and mitigation at the regional, national and community levels; thus, good governance is a key element in achieving this objective.27 When a country is better prepared for disasters, huge loss of lives and property are prevented, and the government spends less of its budget on disaster response and rehabilitation. Thus, ASEAN Member States have to invest in long-term risk management solutions focusing more on preparedness and mitigation to reduce their vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters. The AADMER highlights the significance of prevention and mitigation and was built upon the priorities of the Hyogo Framework of Action. Hence, it can be said that ASEAN Member States recognize that a proactive approach is of high importance. Improving cooperation on disaster preparedness and mitigation can be achieved by mainstreaming AADMER objectives into national policies, programs and practices. To do so, Member States have to strengthen the institutional capacity of their own national disaster management organizations.
Promote AADMER as the common platform
Engagement between the US and ASEAN has grown over the years anchored by mechanisms such as the ACDM, ARF, ADMM, ADMM-Plus and other ASEAN-led initiatives; however, these mechanisms have only been in existence for a few years. The AADMER was put into effect in 2009, and the AHA Centre in Jakarta was launched in 2011. The same goes for the ARF DiREx and ADMM-Plus.  On humanitarian assistance and disaster response alone, there are currently five separate mechanisms under ASEAN apart from ACDM. These mechanisms have to regularly coordinate with each other to achieve synergy in their activities and avoid overlaps in their functions. Given the complex structure of ASEAN-led mechanisms on disaster management, it is necessary to work on cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder coordination within ASEAN and its external partners, which include the US.28 In the ASEAN Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management, Leaders agreed to promote “AADMER as the main common platform for disaster management in ASEAN and with the ACDM as the driver in the process to maintain ASEAN’s Centrality in these efforts.”29 This strategy is particularly helpful when engaging different players with similar goals.
The case of Typhoon Haiyan and the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 demonstrated the weak capacity of individual ASEAN countries or ASEAN as a bloc to immediately respond to a crisis.30 This presents an opportunity for the US and ASEAN to continue ongoing efforts in the field of disaster management. ASEAN will also benefit from working on its capacity and institution building. The AHA Centre is still in its initial stages of developing programs, thus its scope is limited to logistics and rapid assessment in preparedness and response, technical support for early warning, and risk assessment and monitoring.31 To successfully implement AADMER, the capacity of the AHA Centre to operate and serve as an implementing agency has to be enhanced; as well as that of the ASEAN Secretariat by scaling its staff on the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs Division to deal with policy coordination and monitoring of AADMER implementation.32 Member States and, in particular, their national agencies need to be aware of, and trained in, regional systems and procedures for these will not only improve regional support networks in case of a disaster, but will also strengthen early warning and emergency communication within the region.33
Ensure availability of resources
ASEAN lacks resources to fully implement the AADMER Work Programme. Even the annual contribution of Member States is not sufficient to fund the operations of the AHA Centre; thus, it has relied on the support of ASEAN Dialogue Partners. Australia has been instrumental in filling in the gaps in the operationalization of the AHA Centre, while Japan has provided generous support for the establishment of the regional stockpile, capacity building, and ICT capabilities. The US supplied the system for disaster monitoring and response, as well as experts and ICT equipment. In the beginning of AHA Centre’s operation, New Zealand sent advisors and is planning to provide more in near future. The European Union, likewise, is planning to provide significant support for institutional strengthening of the AHA Centre.
Funding for the AADMER Work Programme should be enough to cover all its components for the entire phase of implementation. Unavailability of resources limits the capacity of ASEAN to deliver on its targets. Hence, ASEAN Member States, with the help of its Dialogue Partners, have to mobilize resources to ensure the long-term sustainability of activities identified in the Work Programme.
Link disaster management efforts with climate change initiatives
ASEAN has begun recognizing the urgent need to simultaneously address the issues of disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable development. The Declaration on Institutionalizing the Resilience of ASEAN and its Communities and Peoples to Disasters and Climate Change encourages Member States to mainstream and institutionalize disaster risk management and climate change adaptation in their national development strategies and plans.34 The Declaration encouraged all stakeholders to participate in planning and implementing programs on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation while promoting public and private sector investments in these fields. ASEAN Leaders also assigned the ACDM as the focal point for cross-sectoral cooperation at the regional level. With this declaration, ASEAN lays the policy groundwork that can serve as basis for activities and programs in the future.
The initiative of the US to co-chair a climate change adaptation workshop with Brunei is a step in the right direction. Experts have stressed on the link between climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. Each ASEAN Member State has to formulate policies that integrate the two aspects to enable them to coordinate their actions. Adaptation to climate change is closely related to disaster risk management, and should not be seen as an alternative or a conflicting approach for both share the common goal of increasing the ability of communities to cope with climate-induced hazards.35
Toward a Comprehensive Partnership
Disaster management has been a priority area of cooperation in various ASEAN led-mechanisms. This is because ASEAN and its partners  are  recognizing  that  multilateral  cooperation is  important in addressing non-traditional security challenges, particularly since the region is highly vulnerable to disasters. Cooperation on disaster management will remain to be a key policy issue in the years to come. Efforts accomplished under the Obama administration should serve as building blocks for future engagement. Therefore, initiatives have to be sustained in the long term, and strategies have to shift toward disaster preparedness and mitigation to achieve a disaster-resilient region.
Moving forward, US and ASEAN will have to integrate the priorities and targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 into their joint efforts on disaster management. In March 2015, states adopted the Sendai Framework during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. The new framework builds on the progress achieved under the Hyogo Framework by focusing on four priorities for action: (1) understanding disaster risk; (2) strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; (3) investing in disaster reduction for resilience; and (4) enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “build back better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. More importantly, the framework calls for strengthening of international cooperation and global partnership, and risk-informed donor policies and programs. While it recognizes that states have the primary responsibility to reduce disaster risk, the Sendai Framework asserts that international cooperation “remains pivotal in supporting the efforts of states, their national and local authorities, as well as communities and businesses, to reduce disaster risk.”36
Under the Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Japanese Government agreed to contribute USD 4 billion and train 40,000 government officials and local leaders from 2015 to 2018as part of mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction efforts. To successfully implement the initiative, other partners have to provide additional funding to ensure that projects will continue in the medium and long term. Since most ASEAN Member States are developing or middle-income countries, they need support through bilateral and multilateral channels to fully realize the objectives of the Sendai Framework and AADMER. Thus, ASEAN Dialogue Partners like the US will remain important partners in capacity-building efforts and as sources of financial and technical assistance and technology transfer.
The US can also help ASEAN in developing a regional disaster risk financing strategy. As an AADMER flagship initiative, building financial resilience is aimed at promoting regional cooperation in the areas of disaster management, insurance and finance. ASEAN Member States are aware that having a regional disaster risk financing and insurance strategy is necessary to effectively deal with disasters. Most ASEAN governments have insufficient funding arrangements in place for major disasters. Although they have contingency budget allocations to finance disaster response efforts, countries like Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar have to secure adequate funding for recovery efforts. Major disasters can also dampen national development goals and exacerbate levels of poverty in disaster-affected areas. Furthermore, the frequency and intensity of weather-induced hazards are expected to increase in the future due to climate change. With rapid urbanization, ASEAN will see a higher concentration of population and assets in vulnerable areas. These factors will raise the fiscal burden of ASEAN governments if current financial arrangements are not improved.37
As a result, the post-2015 agenda for ASEAN on disaster management have to include programs that are in line with the priorities for action under the Sendai Framework and initiatives targeted on investing in building disaster resilience. By doing so, the US and ASEAN can move toward achieving a more comprehensive partnership on disaster management.
1    UNISDR, “Terminology,” last modified August 30, 2007, http://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/terminology.
2   World Bank, “Advancing Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance in ASEAN Member States : Framework and Options for Implementation,” Main Report 1, (2012):1,https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/12627.
3  Mely Caballero-Anthony, “Non-traditional security challenges, regional governance and the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC)”, Asia Security Initiative Policy Series, Working Paper no. 7 (2010):1.
4   The AADMER entered into force on 24 December 2009, the fifth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
5   Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and United States
6   Led by Oxfam Great Britain as the current chair, it includes the following members: ChildFund International, HelpAge International, Mercy Malaysia, Plan International, Save the Children, and World Vision.
7   UNESCAP, “Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2014,”United Nations Publication, (2014): 23
8   UNISDR website,  “Terminology”
UNISDR, “Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster,” last modified January 2005, http://www.unisdr.org/2005/wcdr/intergover/official-doc/L-docs/Hyogo-framework-for-action-english.pdf.
10  Daniel Petz, “Strengthening Regional and National Capacity for Disaster Risk Management: The Case of ASEAN,” Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement,  (2014): 14
11  AHA Centre, “AADMER Work Programme 2010-2015,” last modified in 2014, http://www.ahacentre.org/aadmer-workplan
12  The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was established in 1994. It comprises 27 members: the 10 ASEAN Member States (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), the 10 ASEAN dialogue partners (Australia, Canada, China, the EU, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States), as well as Papua New Guinea, North Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Timor-Leste, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
13  The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, and eight Plus countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russian Federation, and the United States.
14  Membership of the EAS comprises the ten ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United States and Russia.
15  The PMCs mechanism offers an opportunity for the US Secretary of State and the ASEAN Foreign Ministers to review existing political, security, economic and development cooperation issues.
16  US Department of State, “Remarks of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on America’s Engagement in the Asia Pacific”, last modified October 2, 2010, http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2010/10/150141.htm.
17 Ernest Bower, “Inaugural ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting + 8 in Hanoi,” last modified October 10, 2010, http://csis.org/publication/inaugural-asean-defense-ministers%E2%80%99-meeting-8-hanoi.
18  US Department of State, “Remarks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting,” last modified July 11, 2012, http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/07/194843.htm.
19  US Department of State, “US-ASEAN Engagement,” last modified October 9, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/10/215228.htm.
20  ASEAN, Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management, October 9, 2013, 23rd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, last modified October 10, 2013, http://www.asean.org/images/archive/23rdASEANSummit/
21  Lilianne Fan and Hanna Krebs, “Regional organisations and humanitarian action: the case of ASEAN”, Humanitarian Policy Group Working Paper, (2014), http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/9207.pdf
22  Euan Graham, “Super Typhoon Haiyan: ASEAN’s Katrina Moment?,” S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Commentaries, last modified November 25, 2013, https://www.rsis.edu.sg/rsis-publication/idss/2101-super-typhoon-haiyan-aseans/#.VTrPVSFViko.
23 Thomas Lum and Rhoda Margesson, “Typhoon Haiyan: US and International Response to Philippines’’ Disaster”, Congressional Research Service, last modified February 10, 2014, https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43309.pdf
24  Lilianne Fan and Hanna Krebs, “Regional organisations and humanitarian action: the case of ASEAN”
25  US Department of State, “Remarks of Assistant Secretary Daniel R. Russel on ASEAN-America: Partners for the Future,” last modified July 28, 2014, http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2014/07/229872.htm.
26  Elizabeth Ferris and Daniel Petz, “In the Neighborhood: The Growing Role of Regional Organizations in Disaster Management”
27  Benjamin Loh, “Disaster Risk Management in Southeast Asia: A Developmental Approach”, ASEAN Economic Bulletin 22, no. 2 (2005): 237.
28 ASEAN, Strategy and Priorities for AADMER Work Programme Phase 2 (2013-2015),http://www.asean.org/images/2013/socio_cultural/Strategy%20and%20Priorities%20for%20AADMER%20Work%20Programme%20Phase%202%20(Final).pdf
29 ASEAN Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation on Disaster Management, 23rd ASEAN Summit, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, October 9, 2013, https://www.hse.ru/data/2015/07/30/1084460067/final%20draft%20asean%20declaration%20on%20disaster%20management%20-%2023rd%20asean%20summit.pdf
30  Mary Fides Quintos and JoyceeTeodoro, “Moving ASEAN-US Security Relations to a New Level?,” Asia Pacific Bulletin, no. 256, last modified April 15, 2014, http://www.eastwestcenter.org/publications/moving-asean-us-security-relations-new-level.
31 Yasuyuki Sawada and Fauziah Zen, ‘Disaster Management in ASEAN”, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia Discussion Paper Series, (2014), http://www.eria.org/ERIA-DP-2014-03.pdf
32  Daniel Petz, “Strengthening Regional and National Capacity for Disaster Risk Management: The Case of ASEAN”
33  Ibid.
34  ASEAN Declaration Insitutionalizing the Resilience of ASEAN and its Communities and Peoples to Disasters and Climate Change, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 27, 2015, last modified April 28, 2015, http://www.asean.org/news/asean-statement-communiques/item/declaration-on-institutionalising-the-resilience-of-asean-and-its-communities-and-peoples-to-disasters-and-climate-change
35 Asian Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank Institute, “Disaster risk management in Asia and the Pacific”, Asian Development Bank Institute Issues Paper, (2013), http://www.adbi.org/files/2013.05.02.rp75..disaster.risk.management.asia.pacific.paper.pdf
36  UNISDR, Sendai Framework, http://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/43291
37  World Bank and Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, Advancing Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance in ASEAN Member States: Framework and Options for Implementation, April 2012,https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/12627
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FSI Insights is a publication of the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). It features in-depth analyses of global and regional strategic issues that impact the Philippines and provides inputs for Philippine foreign policy.
The views expressed in this publication are of the authors alone and do not reflect the official position of the Foreign Service Institute, the Department of Foreign Affairs, or the Government of the Philippines.
Ms. Virgemarie A. Salazar is a Senior Foreign Affairs Research Specialist with the Center of International Relations and Strategic Studies of the Foreign Service Institute. Ms. Salazar can be reached at vasalazar@gmail.com