ASEAN Secretariat, ICRC identify challenges and opportunities for humanitarian action

12 April 2019
ASEAN Secretariat, ICRC identify challenges and opportunities for humanitarian action

JAKARTA, 12 April 2019 - ASEAN Secretariat and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) co-organized the first workshop on challenges and humanitarian action in Southeast Asia in Jakarta on 12 April 2019.

The workshop established a platform for experience-sharing and dialogue-exchange on contemporary humanitarian trends and issues in ASEAN countries. Participants also discussed international humanitarian law and principles, regionalization and localization of humanitarian action, as well mental health and psychological support in disasters.

As the humanitarian landscape is shifting, ASEAN needs to rapidly mature in humanitarian response strategies to meet the needs of affected Member States. "We need to further advance the ASEAN Way towards a strong coordination mechanism involving key stakeholders," said Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN. The secretary-general also stressed that ASEAN must not be complacent in their strategies and continue to nurture cooperative relationships with other actors in the region including international organisations like the ICRC.

On his part, Alexandre Faite, the ICRC head of regional delegation for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, said that ASEAN and the ICRC shared the same humanitarian values. "It is now important to translate them into tangible exchange between actors in the region on how to make most of the existing experiences for meaningful humanitarian action," he said. "We hope that our expertise of neutral humanitarian work across the globe and international humanitarian law will open door to regular dialogue with ASEAN on humanitarian topics of mutual concern," added Alexandre.

The workshop was attended by representatives from the National Disaster Management Offices of ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat, the AHA Centre, the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, think tanks and academia.