Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ASEAN disaster management conference opens

ASEAN disaster management conference opens

Hun Sen addresses a conference on ASEAN disaster management in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Hun Sen addresses a conference on ASEAN disaster management in Phnom Penh yesterday. Facebook

ASEAN disaster management conference opens

Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong called for further regional cooperation in disaster response and adaptation to climate change at the third ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management, held at the Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Delivering the opening remarks, the prime minister called for the finalisation of a common ASEAN strategy for disaster response, currently drafted as “One ASEAN, One Response”.

“In order to achieve our goal of turning ASEAN into a region that is resilient to disaster . . . we must step up regional solidarity and cooperation,” reads a transcript of the premier’s remarks.

Noting the vulnerability to natural disasters of the ASEAN region and Typhoon Melor’s recent impact on the Philippines, Hun Sen framed the importance of regional disaster management “in the context of [the] rising threat from climate change”.

Philip Sen, advocacy and communications coordinator with ActionAid, who attended the meeting yesterday, noted that “the links are being made between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the wake of COP21”, the UN climate talks which concluded in Paris on Saturday with the signing of a “historic” international agreement.

In his closing remarks at yesterday’s conference, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong repeatedly referenced COP21, and even asserted that the Kingdom’s traditional food staple, the salted fish paste prahok, was imperilled by “the grave effect of climate change and its adversities on the Tonle Sap lake”.

Namhong also hoped for progress in advancing “AADMER Vision 2025”, which would extend the agenda for the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response beyond this year. AADMER is a regional framework that since 2009 has allowed for regional coordination in the deployment of disaster response and prevention.

According to Southeast Asia expert Carlyle Thayer, of the University of New South Wales, “ASEAN alone is incapable” of coping with natural disasters, but further regional integration and steps to remove bureaucratic obstacles were welcome developments.

Entering into disaster response agreements ahead of time, he continued, allows ASEAN countries – many of which are touchy about issues of sovereignty – to accept help from foreign militaries while saving face at home.

“It’s pooled sovereignty – the best way to protect your people in natural disasters is to get help from other countries . . . [but] you’re upholding national sovereignty nevertheless,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman