The third meeting of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) working group on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief was held in Vietnam’s central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on January 17.

The event, co-chaired by Vietnam and China, drew 50 officials and experts from 17 ADMM+ members and the ASEAN Secretariat.

Addressing the meeting, Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, stressed the cooperation, information sharing and resource mobilisation between member countries may contribute to preventing severe consequences of natural disasters and climate change.

Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief will continue to be a priority of member countries, especially as the region is suffering from increasingly frequent and dangerous natural disasters, he said.

A representative from Vietnam shared the lessons drawn from the ASEAN Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise hosted by the country last year. Meanwhile, a Japanese delegate shared his nation’s experience in sending armed forces to join humanitarian and disaster relief activities.

During the three-day event, delegates are also reviewing their operations from the 2011-2013 period and putting forth an action plan for the 2014-2016 period.

The first ADMM+ took place in October 2010 was held in Hanoi. At that time it was agreed to promote cooperation in five prioritised sectors: humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, marine security, military medicine, anti-terrorism and peacekeeping.

Laos and Japan will take over Vietnam and China to co-chair the 2014-2016 experts’ working group.-VNA