May 2nd, 2023. Covering a geographic area of approximately 4.5 million km, and boasting a population of over 662 million, the ASEAN region experiences a variety of natural disasters. Hit by several large-scale disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, and forest fires in the past few years (for example, the Sulawesi Earthquake (2018), Lombok Earthquake (2018), Typhoon Damrey (2017), Typhoon Nock Ten (2016), floods caused by Tropical Storm Son Tinh (2018), fires in Myanmar (2018), and forest fires in Indonesia (2015). See UNESCAP (2019). “Summary of the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019” [.pdf]. July 2, 2019), ASEAN countries prioritize efforts to protect hard-won economic and social gains and ensure continued stability and growth for the region. In partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), ASEAN is strengthening its disaster response capacity, particularly on humanitarian logistics at the national level, and kicked off a four-day Training of Trainers (ToT) of ASEAN Humanitarian Logistics Officers on May 2, 2023.
Targeting ASEAN member states’ National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs), the U.S. government continues to support ASEAN-led efforts to improve training capacity on humanitarian logistics and supply chain management. Working closely with the ASEAN Secretariat’s Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Division, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), and the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management Working Group on Preparedness Response and Recovery, the ASEAN-USAID Partnership for Regional Optimization within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT) project developed a comprehensive ASEAN Humanitarian Logistics Training Program curriculum for NDMOs and Civil Society Organizations in the region to support ASEAN’s efforts.
Held as hybrid event in Jakarta, Thammasat University/Kühne Foundation/HELP Logistics, a reputable logistics consortium who developed the curriculum, facilitated the training for 22 logistics trainers and practitioners from NDMOs and civil society from eight ASEAN member states.
Opening remarks by the Executive Director of AHA Centre, Mr. Lee Yam Ming underscored the main purpose of the training is to strengthen capacities in emergency logistics to ensure smooth delivery of support during a disaster, whilst also bolstering ASEAN efforts in establishing a region-wide certification system through the ASEAN Standards and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND) project.
In his remarks, Mr. Michael Satin, Regional Deputy Director East Asia and the Pacific of the USAID Asia Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) highlighted the gender-responsive and inclusive approach being taken to develop this comprehensive curriculum and echoed the importance of the training’s integration with the existing ASCEND standards. He noted that the project’s synergetic approach sets out a model for national training providers on how to adopt the ASCEND standards when designing a training program and preparing trainees to be ready for the ASCEND certification assessment.
Through USAID assistance, ASEAN member states’ disaster management officials and entities are better equipped to implement effective training programs to strengthen capacities in emergency logistics for disaster response.