COVID-19 has impacted the way we work and function at all levels. The disaster management sector had to prepare for and manage disasters against the backdrop of COVID-19. Considering that the types, dynamics, and dimensions of disaster threats will be more complex in the future and require far more strategic analysis and preparation, it is prudent for organisations to rethink strategies and transform to strengthen capabilities and capacities for the future. Thus, the theme for SPDDM 2021 was “Advancing Disaster Management: Into a Future of Possibilities” to spark discourse on identifying future humanitarian trends, challenges, and opportunities. The theme also facilitated discussions on key outputs in the AADMER Work Programme 2021– 2025 such as leadership, cooperation, technology, and innovation as well as effective resource mobilisation for stronger coordination among ASEAN Member States.
This event report summarises key points from the panel discussions and presentations. The first panel focused on how the ASEAN community could further localisation and regionalisation in disaster management. The discussion highlighted that national governments and international partners should provide continued support to grow local organisations as COVID-19 responses demonstrated their strengths and importance in dealing with disasters. Regional organisations such as ASEAN can be convening platforms for collaboration and coordination. Panel two discussed sustainable disaster finance options for the ASEAN region, which has been a regular topic of the SPDDM since 2015. The panellists emphasised the importance of anticipatory action and innovation in financing. The third panel and community session focused on the use of innovation and technology in disaster management.
While acknowledging the importance of technology for disaster-related activities, the panellists discussed potential risks associated with the greater use of technology and explored how to mitigate negative impacts.