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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

06 October 2021


Your Excellency, Madame Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia 

Excellencies, distinguished participants, 

It is a great pleasure to join you at the Regional Conference on Humanitarian Assistance 2021, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world since the last Regional Conference in August 2019. The impacts of the pandemic and the convergence of multiple natural and biological hazards, along with climate change, have reshaped and expanded the Asia-Pacific riskscape.  

South-East Asia and the Pacific are amongst those most impacted by the cascading impacts of COVID-19 and climate extremes. 

Humanitarian assistance is, therefore, key to protecting people and their livelihoods. I extend my compliments to the Honourable Minister for the timely convening of this Conference on this important subject. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 

ESCAP’s 2021 edition of our flagship Asia-Pacific Disaster Report highlights that while countries in Asia and the Pacific have made significant progress in disaster risk reduction, most countries are still under-prepared for multiple overlapping crises – which often cascade, with one triggering another.  

Therefore, the humanitarian response that can best protect people - especially those at risk and the most vulnerable - remains a challenge to all countries.  

Allow me to highlight three emerging opportunities for the actions.  

Firstly, at the 77th ESCAP Commission Session held in May 2021, member States requested ESCAP to promote discussions on the implementation of the health aspects of the Sendai Framework, taking note of the Bangkok Principles and other relevant regional and subregional frameworks and initiatives.  

Moving forward, at its 7th Session in August 2021, ESCAP’s Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction recommended the development of appropriate policy tools/guidance.  

Recognizing that the ‘Bangkok Principles’ place strengthened coordination between the health and disaster communities at the heart of efforts to reduce risk both from natural and biological hazards, this is an opportunity to build on the commonality between these two hazards.  

As the inter-connected and transboundary nature of hazard risks increases, there is an even more urgent need for strengthened policy coherence along with improved risk assessment, surveillance, early warning systems and resilient infrastructure.  

Secondly, the new ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) 2021-2025 adopted in November 2020 is a milestone for ASEAN’s continued transformation towards a multi-hazard approach and enhancing the readiness and emergency response to deliver humanitarian assistance to communities at risk, in real-time.  

In June, capitalizing on the OCHA-led UN family’s pledge for wide-ranging support to the new AADMER Work Programme, we are pleased that ESCAP’s work with the ASEAN secretariat and the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management on adaptation to drought is emerging as a productive partnership that is tangibly supporting AADMER.    

Thirdly, resilience building is one of the key cross-cutting priorities identified in the ASEAN/ESCAP Report on complementarities between the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda.  

I look forward to furthering the dialogue on this issue, particularly as we prepare the theme topic for next year’s 75th anniversary celebration of ESCAP on a common agenda to advance sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.   

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 

The countries across the region have developed a solid cooperation framework for managing disaster risks and “Advancing Humanitarian Capacities in a Changing World.”  

Recognizing that national and local humanitarian actors are the first responders to crises, regional cooperation supported by wide-ranging partner networks, including the UN, could strengthen further humanitarian actions to protect people.  

We appreciate Indonesia’s leadership in hosting the seventh session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (2022) as well as ESCAP’s fourth Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development (2022) in support of resilience building in a riskier world.  

I, along with the United Nations family, stand ready to partner with member States and all stakeholders to build resilience in South East Asia and the Pacific. 

I wish you a very successful Regional Conference. 

Thank you very much.  

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