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ASEM Manila Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

4-6 June 2014, Manila, Philippines


“Post- Haiyan/Yolanda - A Way Forward”


We, ASEM actors/stakeholders in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) composed of senior national and local government officials, experts, international and regional organizations, international humanitarian assistance organizations, NGOs, private sector, civil society and media, participating in the ASEM Manila Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management on 4-6 June 2014 in the Philippines;

Recalling that the 9th ASEM Leaders Summit on 5-6 November 2012 in Vientiane adopted the Philippines’ proposal to host a conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and underlined the need to strengthen collective preparedness and response to disasters and to reduce losses caused by disasters;

Implementing the decision of the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting on 11-12 November 2013 in Delhi-NCR to mainstream DRRM in the ASEM agenda and to forge greater collaboration and coordination in disaster risk reduction and management;

Supporting the continued and full implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015 on "Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters” adopted by the World Conference on Disaster Reduction held on 18-22 January 2005, sharing the HFA vision, strategic goals and priorities for action;

Aiming to have ASEM contribute actively in the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction by, inter alia, introducing new elements to the global discourse and filling in gaps left by other DRRM platforms;

Remembering several thousands of people who perished in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines and Vietnam;

Do Hereby:

1.     Affirm the central role of national governments (States) in DRRM. In large scale and mega-disasters, in particular, the national government exercises primary leadership and ultimate authority in establishing the rules of engagement of all DRRM stakeholders allowed to operate in disaster-stricken areas within the territory of the State. The national government responsible for establishing clear guidelines and rules defining their functions and roles, coordinating and monitoring their activities within the territory of the State in all phases of the disaster to facilitate efficiency, effectiveness, synergy, accountability and to maximize use of resources, among others;


2.    Acknowledge that DRRM actors/stakeholders have their own comparative advantages and unique roles in DRRM which should be recognized, harnessed and maximized through coordination mechanisms and partnerships;


3.    Recognize the importance of international cooperation, particularly in mega disasters, in support of the efforts of affected States. Affected States have the primary responsibility in facilitating financial, material and technical support from the international community;


4.    Promote the harmonious and synergistic relationship between national actors/stakeholders and regional and international actors/stakeholders in DRRM;


5.    Call on national governments to further enhance coordination mechanisms and long-term partnerships among public authorities and relevant stakeholders, including local governments, NGOs, civil society, academia, education and research institutions and the private sector, bearing in mind that resilience building starts at the local level. In so doing, the national government could better utilize local knowledge, guarantee ownership, strengthen individual responsibility and reduce reaction time;


6.    Affirm the important role of the local government as first responders and builders of local resilience. In this connection, recognize the importance of translating Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) innovation, systems and policies into tangible actions on the ground that would benefit the local communities, inter alia, community-based disaster risk reduction and management, contingency planning, communications and early warning systems. Local governments should be empowered with continuous capacity building;


7.    Call on all DRRM actors/stakeholders to enhance governance in all phases. As tools for achieving enhanced governance, effective coordination mechanisms and development of systematic actions for DRRM, consider the development of appropriate and realistic standards and guidelines that take into consideration the special characteristics existing in a State, voluntary assessments of DRRM strategies, and empowering national efforts to improve collection and sharing of comparable data on disaster losses, hazards, and vulnerabilities and sharing of best practices;


8.    Call on the international humanitarian system to seek inputs from national governments particularly national DRRM authorities in formulating policies to enhance the system’s effectiveness and to contribute to an objective and balanced perspective;


9.    Call on all DRRM actors/stakeholders to exercise transparency and accountability in finances related to DRRM. There should be a clear and public trail from fund raising to final use. More comprehensive financial tracking mechanisms and tools must be developed to ensure that DRRM funds provided in disaster and non-disaster periods, particularly humanitarian assistance funds for victims of disasters and areas of disasters, reach intended beneficiaries in a timely and accountable manner.;


10. Commend the initiative of the Philippine Government in instituting the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub or "FAiTH”. International responders (international and regional organizations, international humanitarian assistance organizations, international NGOs) and national governments are encouraged to incorporate enhanced financial tracking mechanisms such as FAiTH in their operations to promote trust and confidence of the donor community and the beneficiary community. The further development of FAiTH, which builds on existing financial tracking systems and other transparency and financial tracking instruments to encompass all humanitarian assistance funds must be encouraged;


11.  Reinvigorate our advocacy for the mainstreaming of DRR in development planning by introducing a DRR perspective in development efforts, including in economic and financial decisions and strategies;


12. Affirm the need to build back better during the recovery and reconstruction phases of disasters to further strengthen community resilience, incorporating disaster risk reduction in rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts and undertaking effective measures to reduce risks;


13. In order to have disaster-resilient physical infrastructure and socio­economic systems, agree that science, innovation and engineering methods responsive to the needs of, and realities in, the affected communities should be readily accessible and affordable to disaster- prone countries;


14. Call for the protection, empowerment, and resilience building of vulnerable groups including: the elderly, people with disabilities, women, children, indigenous communities and temporarily displaced persons because of disasters;


15. Recognize the important role of women in DRRM which should be further strengthened through, inter alia, capacity building and involvement in all phases of DRRM;


16. Promote cooperation between the public and the private sectors in DRRM and call on the private sector to exercise responsibility and contribute to disaster risk prevention, preparedness and mitigation, disaster response, recovery and rehabilitation, respecting internationally recognized principles;


17. Promote the use and further development of innovative technologies, tools, instruments, systems and strategies for DRRM which should be made available, accessible and affordable. Promote hazard and risk assessment, scenario building, and other research and studies on DRRM; Share best practices and data through, inter alia, open sources and networking;


18.  Support a people-centered approach to DRRM, bearing in mind that they are at the core of humanitarian assistance and development;


19.  Develop systematic actions, such as scaling up education on DRR and climate change for all ages and levels of the community and across all sectors, to increase public awareness of risk and develop a culture of risk management and resilience;


20.  Support an appropriate nexus among the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, the post-2015 development agenda and a prospective global climate change agreement, without diminishing the integrity, urgency and unique character of each agenda;


21.  Support the incorporation of DRRM and climate change in the post- 2015 development agenda;


22.  Recognize that DRRM is an important investment for sustainable development;


23.  Exert all possible efforts to break the vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability to disaster-induced losses by, inter alia, giving priority to reinforcing the resilience of the most vulnerable and addressing the underlying causes of their vulnerability;


24.  Recognize that the development and strengthening of the State’s and regional capacities and response mechanisms are critical in tackling large scale and mega disasters. Call for strengthening of cooperation in regional response and coordination mechanisms including through training, education and sharing of knowledge and best practices in and between Asia and Europe;


25.  Note that reliable real time information is crucial in every emergency response situation;


26.  Call for the further improvement of disaster response mechanisms of the UN system and international humanitarian system through specialization, streamlining, increased capacity and practical linkages with other DRRM actors. This saves on organizational, administrative and logistical costs, and facilitates the allocation of more humanitarian assistance resources faster to victims and areas of disasters while easing the pressure on scarce resources on the ground;


27.  Emphasize that international solidarity and cooperation in DRRM should not be confined to disaster response but, if and where requested by the State concerned, should extend to risk assessment, early warning and risk prevention and mitigation;


28.  Note that in the case of mega disasters, National Governments may consider, subject to existing national laws, the possible contribution of the military in the early response phase of disasters to complement the existing civilian systems;


29.  Appreciate the valuable contribution of media in focusing world attention to the tragedy of disasters, thereby mobilizing support from governments and the global community. Affirm the vital role of media in raising awareness on DRR, in early warning, and in disseminating best practices;


30.  Reiterate that humanitarian action should be guided by principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality.


And resolve to:


31.  Endorse the submission, through the ASEM Senior Officials Meeting, of the Post- Haiyan Tacloban Declaration to ASEM Leaders during the 10th ASEM Summit in Milan on 16-17 October 2014, and endorse the same as an ASEM contribution to the post-2015 framework for DRR;


32.  Build on the ASEM Manila Conference and the previous related conference in Vietnam to promote further collaboration between Asia and Europe on DRRM;


33.  Invite national governments and DRRM actors/stakeholders to participate in the highest possible level in the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which will adopt the post- 2015 disaster risk reduction framework in accordance with the United Nations General Assembly resolution (A/RES/68/211);


34.  Thank ASEM Partners, in particular the Philippines, for sharing their valuable insights, experiences and best practices in dealing with mega­disasters;


35.  Thank  the Governments of the Philippines, Japan, Switzerland and the European Union for co-hosting the ASEM Manila Conference on DRRM and further thank the co-sponsors: Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam.