Regional Symposium on COVID-19 and Its Impact on Disaster Management and Resilience
Jakarta, 27 October 2021 – The Australia – Indonesia Partnership for Disaster Risk Management (SIAP SIAGA Program), the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta held a virtual ‘Regional Lessons Learning Symposium on COVID-19 and Its Impact on Disaster Management and Resilience’ on 27 October.
The Symposium reflected on how COVID-19 has affected the region’s capacity to manage disasters, and it shared lessons on how local humanitarian actors in the Indo-Pacific region have quickly adapted, despite the challenges.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta Stephen Scott said, “The Indo- Pacific region has a wealth of experience in managing disasters and public health emergencies, as shown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Improving the sharing of knowledge across countries and institutionalising good practices is essential to strengthening disaster risk management efforts and addressing our shared challenges in the region.”
The Symposium built on the webinars convened by the SIAP SIAGA Program in June 2021 to garner broad lessons on the same topic. Three key thematic areas were identified in those webinars and further explored at this Symposium: Governance and Institutional Leadership, Partnership Models, and Technology and Communications.
The papers discussed in the Symposium elaborated on the importance of factors such as: legal frameworks for responses to complex events like Covid-19; empowering local organisations to deliver humanitarian aid; strengthening local partnerships; increasing youth and women’s participation in disaster management; and promoting native language and disability-inclusive approaches in disaster communication.
In his remarks concluding the Symposium, the Deputy of System and Strategy of BNPB, Dr. Raditya Jati, S.Si., M.Sc. emphasised the importance of ‘3C’: the commitment of leadership in shifting the paradigm from emergency response to prevention, collaboration between various stakeholders, as well as risk communications as foundations of sustainable resilience to support sustainable development. Outcomes of this Symposium are expected to provide valuable input for the Seventh Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which will be held in Indonesia in 2022.
“I am delighted to witness the success of this Symposium, as one of the follow-up implementations to the recommendations of the recent Regional Conference on Humanitarian Assistance hosted by Indonesia, on 6-7 October,” said the Director for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Achsanul Habib.
Habib added that the Regional Conference has emphasized many important recommendations, including, firstly the need for humanitarian actors in the region to strengthen focuses on data-collection and evidence-based actions in preparing for the risk of disasters. Second, the importance of intensifying exchange of good experience and practices on humanitarian agenda in Asia Pacific. He further remarked that dialogue, sharing of best practices, and exchange of good experiences plays imperative role in strengthening humanitarian capacities in the region.