The Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) successfully conducted its 8th Regional Steering Committee (RSC) Meeting, gathering 42 participants from various countries and sectors across Asia. The event took place on 03 October 2023 at the Hilton Manila Hotel, Philippines, and was co-hosted by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center and the Philippines Preparedness Partnership (PhilPrep).
APPRSC members representing governments, local humanitarian networks, and the private sector from Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka attended the APP events. Additionally, representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (The Foundation) and the APP Secretariat as well as representatives from Lao PDR and development partners enriched the discussions with their insights and expertise.
The 8th APP Regional Steering Committee Meeting
The 8th APPRSC Meeting was initiated by Mr. Hans Guttman, Secretary APP and Executive Director of the ADPC, and handed over to the Co-Chairs of the PhilPrep as the co-hosts. The Co-Chairs from PhilPrep, Ms. Loreine B. Dela Cruz Executive Director, Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP); Mr. Rene Miley, President, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF); and Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay, Executive Director, University of the Philippines Research Institute (UPRI) welcomed the representatives from the APP member countries, observers and other participants. After the welcome remarks, Dr. Valerie Bemo, Deputy Director, Emergency Response, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also greeted the participants and reiterated that it is important to put the people at the center of localization processes, not just as vulnerable groups but as active agents of change.
The ceremonial remarks were followed up by an introduction of the participants and a group photo.
Reflecting on Impacts and Lessons Learned
The 8th APPRSC served as a pivotal platform for the member countries to reflect on the impacts and lessons learned from the national preparedness partnerships in their journey so far. The representatives from the countries shared some key examples of changes in their country that were catalyzed by the National Partnership in disaster preparedness or emergency response. They also shared key incidents and examples of how the improved knowledge and capacities are being used in preparedness and response work. They also shared their vision for the future, especially the ways and means of continuation focusing on consolidation and sustainability.
This was followed by the presentation on the impact, lessons learned, and the key components of sustainability of the Regional Partnership which was shared by the APP Secretariat.
APP Governance Matters
Post lunch, session 2 on ‘Inclusion of new countries and APP Governance’ delved into the process and criteria for inclusion of new countries in the APP network as well as updating the TOR for the governance structure of the APPRSC. While the members approved the process for inclusion of the new countries in the APP, further consultation and revisions were proposed to update the governing structure of the APP. Another important discussion on the modality of APP engagement in a fragile context ensued. It was decided by the member countries that in case prevailing circumstances are not favorable or amenable for the multi-stakeholder partnership to be functional, the engagement can be paused till the time when the multi-stakeholder partnerships are functional and can be engaged again.
Conclusion of RTWGs (2020 -2023) and Proposed RTWGs (2023 -2025)
A brief report on the Regional Technical Working Groups (RTWGs) formulated from 2020 -2023 on Private Sector Engagement, Inclusive Approaches to Localization, and Building Nexus between Risk Analytics, Early Warning Systems, and Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) was presented along with their achievements and outputs. These RTWGs were then concluded following the completion of their agenda. This was followed by the participants conceptualizing the framework for the new RTWGs for the 2023-2025 period. Aiming to bolster regional cooperation within the APP network and align with the outcomes of the 17th Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) held in Manila, Philippines in December 2022, the participants agreed to form the RTWG on Promoting the Localization of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the RTWG on Knowledge Management.
Inclusion of Lao PDR in APP
After the sharing of the progress on the mobilization of the stakeholders in Lao PDR and the signed tri-partite Terms of Reference (ToR) between the multi-stakeholders, the APPRSC also approved and welcomed Lao PDR as the seventh member country of the APP.
Handover of Co-Chairship to SLPP
With the successful end of the term of Co-Chairship by PhilPrep (2022-2023), the Co-Chairship for the APP was handed over to the Sri Lankan Preparedness Partnership (SLPP) for 2023-2024 during the closing of the 8thAPPRSC. On behalf of the incoming Co-Chairs from SLPP, Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Director General, Disaster Management Centre (DMC) thanked the representatives from the member countries for bestowing this honor and ensuring enhanced strengthening of the APP.
During her closing remarks, Ms. Pilar Pacheco from the Gates Foundation reiterated that the APP journey has cemented the cooperation between the varied stakeholders and that it should become an exemplar to follow at the national, regional, and global levels.