Official Launch of Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP)
Image credit: ADPC

Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID OFDA, and implemented by ADPC, the APP was launched under the project on ‘Strengthening Emergency Response Capacity of Local Humanitarian Actors in Asia’. The launch took place in the gracious presence of Ambassadors and Representatives of Embassies from Sri Lanka Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines, as well the representatives from the Government, Local Humanitarian Network and Private Sector Networks from the above mentioned program countries.

Mr. Hans Guttman, Executive Director, ADPC welcomed all the attendees to the launch event and gave a brief introduction to objectives of the background and APP. He said that this partnership is also about responding to the commitments of the World Humanitarian Summit in channeling more resources to the local level where most of the work occurs when it comes to disaster response.  “This partnership, at the national and local level, will enable civil society actors to work more effectively with governments and the private enterprises, where relevant and needed,” he said.

This was followed by the inaugural speech, on the importance of APP, by Ms. Loreine B. Dela Cruz, Executive Director, Centre for Disaster Preparedness, who was nominated to speak on the behalf of APP members. She emphasized that APP would focus on building capacities and sharing information, best practices and tools for better preparedness and humanitarian response.

Reminding the participants of the localization agenda discussed during the first Humanitarian Summit, Mr. Brian Heidel, Regional DRR Advisor USAID said during his speech on “Need for meaningful engagement of Local Organizations in Emergency Response” that it is at the heart of the APP. Making a reference to the Cambodian Humanitarian Forum (CHF) established by ADPC under a USAID-funded initiative ‘Strengthening Emergency Response Capacity of Humanitarian NGOs in Cambodia,’ Mr. Brian said it is pleasing to see the program’s expansion and replication in several countries. “The program that USAID has worked with ADPC for the past five years has strengthened the capacities of local NGOs in Cambodia to the point where they are able to be first responders and much more effective on the ground,” he noted.

Dr. Valerie Nkamgang-Bemo, Deputy Director and Head of Emergency Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation during her speech on “Strengthening Preparedness and Emergency Response through Partnerships and South-South Cooperation” said that strengthening the preparedness for response through partnership is the best way to moving forward. Referring to the localization agenda from the Humanitarian Summit, Dr. Valerie said that the Sendai Framework also guides local institutions and governments for disaster preparedness at the local and national level. “I think this is the combination of looking at the Sendai Framework but enhancing it with the localization agenda that we got from the World Humanitarian Summit,” she said.

A short video on APP was shown to the audience, followed by the launch of the APP ‘One Stop Knowledge Hub’ by Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse, Chairman of ADPC. He also graciously presented the copies of ‘Regional Synthesis Report on Humanitarian Ecosystem in Asia’ to the dignitaries present.

Following that, Prof. Dr.  Krasae Chanawongse, gave a keynote speech on “Local Level Leadership for Disaster Preparedness.” He said that one of the primary objectives of the APP is to improve local level humanitarian leadership and coordination.  “It is critical that local NGOs and civil society groups participate in preparing communities for emergency response as they are the first responders in any emergency,” he said.

The concluding remarks and ‘Vote of Thanks’ was given by Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, Secretary General of ADPC. He said that focusing on networks is very important to learn from each other and share information. “Capacity building, learning, and networking are the three key takeaways of this partnership,” Dr. Bhichit said.

Delegates took stock of the existing networks and discussed how APP can be a valuable addition and how it will be helpful in implementing the goals outlined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the commitments of the first World Humanitarian Summit.