ASEAN ministers has adopted a draft of the ASEAN statement on strengthening cooperation and management of natural disasters, to be submitted to the ASEAN Summit this year.

This was one of the outcomes of the second ministerial meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response in Hanoi on May 30.

At a press conference following the meeting, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh said this is the first time ASEAN has had a high-level statement on natural disaster prevention and humanitarian relief, reflecting the bloc’s deep concerns with the issue.

According to Minh, ASEAN will organise a meeting with partners to mobilise resources from its member countries and international donors to increase the bloc’s capabilities to effectively deal with disasters.

Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat revealed some additional outcomes of the meeting including an action plan on ASEAN cooperation in natural disaster management in the 2013-2015 period, a proposal for an annual ASEAN ministerial meeting on natural disaster management, among others.

The ASEAN ministers also agreed to organise an exercise on responding to natural disasters in Hanoi and an ASEAN Day for Natural Disaster Management in Bangkok, Thailand this October.-VNA