AHA Centre and Switzerland Signed Memorandum of Intent
On 1 August 2019, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) signed a Memorandum of Intent with the Government of Switzerland, at the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok.
The signing of MoI is a reaffirmation of the continuing collaboration between ASEAN and the Government of Switzerland and strengthening it further. Since Switzerland was conferred the status of Sectoral Dialogue Partners in 2016 by ASEAN, it has put disaster management and humanitarian assistance as one of the cornerstones of the collaboration.
During the trilateral meeting with ASEAN Chair Thailand and the ASEAN Secretariat, Swiss State Secretary Pascale Baeriswyl stressed that ASEAN is an important political and economic partner. Switzerland values the Sectoral Dialogue Partnership as a platform to discuss global issues and to tackle common challenges related to human security, climate change and vocational education and training in particular. Pascale Baeriswyl said the theme of Thailand’s chairmanship, “Advancing partnership for sustainability”, resonated well with Switzerland and that her country is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in partnership with ASEAN.
Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, welcomes a stronger collaboration with Switzerland through the signing of the MoI. She said, “The MOI with Switzerland reflects the desire of the ASEAN Community, especially in the area of disaster management, to work with diverse partners, especially with those that can help further strengthen the One ASEAN One Response vision, and enable ASEAN to reach our vision as a global thought-leader in disaster management and emergency response. We believe that the collaboration will be beneficial for both ASEAN and Switzerland.”
The signing of the MoI was conducted by Adelina Kamal and the Assistant State Secretary for Asia and Pacific of the Swiss Confederation, Ambassador Raphael Nägeli. It was witnessed by Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Political Security Community, H.E. Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan; the Swiss State Secretary, H.E. Pascale Baeriswyl; and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, H.E. Mrs. Busaya Mathelin.
About the AHA Centre
The AHA Centre is the primary ASEAN regional coordinating agency on disaster management and emergency response, under the 2009 ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) and the 2016 ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on One ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region. AADMER mandates the AHA Centre to facilitate co-operation and co-ordination among ASEAN Member States, and with relevant United Nations and international organisations, in promoting regional collaboration for disaster management. The ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management, which envisions ASEAN as the global leader on disaster management, tasks the AHA Centre as the network coordinator of regional centres for excellence in disaster leadership and management to facilitate knowledge creation, policy analysis and training for the next generation of practitioners.
The AHA Centre is the operational engine of AADMER, reporting directly to the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), the main ASEAN sectoral body for disaster management under AADMER. The ACDM, which consists of heads of the National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) of ASEAN Member States, also serves as the Governing Board of the AHA Centre. Since it was established in November 2011, the AHA Centre has responded to 31 major disasters in 7 ASEAN countries, providing assistance ranging from deployment of ASEAN relief items, information management, coordination of support, and rapid assessment through the deployment of the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT). Through the Disaster Emergency Logistics System of ASEAN (DELSA), the Centre prepositions ASEAN relief items in three strategic locations: in Subang, Malaysia; in Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippines, and; in Chainat, Thailand. The AHA Centre is based in Jakarta, Indonesia, and hosted within the premises of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority.