The Regional Steering Committee of the Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) met in Bangkok on 25 April. Government officials, local humanitarian organisations and members of the private sector from six partner countries − Sri Lanka Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines − participated in the meeting to discuss progress and challenges currently being faced in the field of disaster preparedness and response at national and local levels. Mr. Hans Guttman, ADPC’s Executive Director moderated the meeting.
APP was established under the project ’Strengthening Emergency Response Capacity of Local Humanitarian Actors in Asia’ being implemented by Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In her opening remarks, Dr Valerie Bemo, Deputy Director, Emergency Response from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, set the tone of discussions: “this is a journey to see our progress, to see where we are and though we still have a long way ahead, we will work together”, she stated. “I hope we are able to discuss not only the progress but the challenges we are each facing”, she said.
The meeting proceeded with updates from each country and their activities with reference to the National Preparedness Partnerships formed to strengthen the capacity of local humanitarian organizations, government agencies and private sectors in preparedness for emergency response. Members were encouraged to discuss roadmaps towards south-south knowledge exchange and regional engagement from both country-wide commitments alongside the collaborative efforts to be enforced on behalf of the APP.
Members deliberated and finalized the Governance Structure of APP and important issues of membership, roles and responsibilities. The discussions encouraged an exchange of ideas among countries to enhance the South‐South learning through knowledge, information exchange and regional cooperation. With the development of country specific roadmaps to guide the national partnerships, members also shared the progress of their roadmap and action plans for implementation of programs and priority activities under APP.
Updates on the APP portal – a gateway to knowledge from across the region on emergency preparedness and response − were also discussed in order to identify key attributes of the portal to be enhanced for better utilization of the platform.
In moving forward, the member-countries shared plans for the coming year and ways to implement success factors on both a national and regional basis, to better mitigate against the impact of disasters.