ASEAN Secretary-general Kao Kim Hourn is heading the bloc’s delegation at the 20th Southeast Asia Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) Leaders Meeting, hosted by the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) from September 20-22. This follows a similar event hosted by the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society last year.

The CRC said that the gathering has brought together representatives from Southeast Asian RCRC entities, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The 40-member gathering includes delegates from the 10 ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste.

Kim Hourn delivered a speech on enhancing the partnership as set out in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ASEAN and the IFRC. The meetings are designed to intensify the bloc’s collaboration with the RCRC Movement, a global humanitarian network, promoting a unified ASEAN strategy on regional disaster management.

During his visit, Kim Hourn will also engage in bilateral talks with senior members of the CRC and other top country officials to bolster ties.

In a related event, the CRC also hosted the 2nd Youth Forum of the National Association of RCRC Societies in Southeast Asia held from September 17-20. It was attended by young delegates from 11 national associations across southeast Asia.

During the forum, Kim Hourn and the youth planted 2,000 trees over 2ha around a stupa at the Buddhist Cultural Centre in Preah Suramarit-Kossamak Kirirom National Park on September 20. This initiative, supported by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the centre’s president, sought to promote nature-based solutions and motivate young people to address the climate crisis.