AIllustrative image. (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – ASEAN ministers have committed to support a UN-led agenda that aims to prevent and reduce humanitarian crises and suffering in a recent informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the first World Humanitarian Summit held by the United Nations in Istanbul, Turkey on May 23-24, according to the ASEAN Secretariat.

The event was attended by ministers in charge of disaster management or their representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand alongside ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, the Executive Director of ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) Said Faisal and the ASEAN Secretariat.

In a joint statement adopted at the meeting, the ministers confirmed their support for national leadership and regional cooperation to maintain the resiliency of ASEAN.

The joint statement conveys the commitments and contributions of the bloc to the UN Agenda for Humanity, based on the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), the ASEAN Vision 2025 on Forging Ahead Together and the newly-adopted ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management.

It outlines areas of cooperation to be pursued by ASEAN to address the core responsibilities in the agenda.

“National leadership in responding to disasters and adopting a programmatic and inclusive approach to institutionalise resilience are a key element of ASEAN’s commitments to core responsibilities outlined in the Agenda for Humanity”, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh said.

“But we also recognise the value of collaboration with other players which serves as the bedrock of ASEAN cooperation in times of natural and man-made disasters”, he added.

The joint statement also spoke about ASEAN’s aspiration to be a world leader in disaster management by 2025. It says ASEAN aims to be a “global nexus for knowledge sharing and innovative exchange” and that the AHA Centre is envisioned “as the network coordinator of regional centres for excellence in disaster leadership and management that can facilitate knowledge creation, policy analysis and training for the next generation of practitioners”.

During the meeting, ministers also discussed the drought affecting the region. They urged concrete action by harnessing relevant ASEAN mechanisms, including those under the AADMER.

They agreed to undertake a thorough study on the drought to come up with key recommendations, which encompass both preventive measures and actions to mitigate the current situation.-VNA