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Converging Humanitarian Risks in the Indo-Pacific

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Nanyang Technological Univ.
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Alistair D. B. Cook, Christopher Chen

18 May 2022

Executive Summary

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in the Indo-Pacific have had to deal with the overlapping effects of a pandemic and natural hazards. This policy report evaluates the governance challenges faced by humanitarian actors in managing the risks of natural hazards and pandemics. It assesses the approaches to funding, partnerships, localisation, and technology use from April 2020 to March 2022 in Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, and the Philippines. These countries represent South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands as the regions of the Indo-Pacific that were most affected by natural hazards while concurrently experiencing COVID-19. The pandemic is a wake-up call signalling the interconnectedness of the planet and highlights the need for countries to work together to overcome future pandemics. Disaster management and emergency response is no exception in this regard, and the risk of pandemics should be integrated into operational and strategic planning for more robust and anticipatory humanitarian responses in future. This will require proactive institutional adaptation, including investment in strategic futures teams, reflection on the past two years, identification of areas for change, and ultimately taking necessary action to be better prepared for future shocks.