BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, (PNA) — The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have agreed for greater cooperation for disaster response and mitigation as well as addressing climate change.
In a concluding statement during the 23rd ASEAN Summit, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, the summit chair, said ASEAN leaders have encouraged cross-sectoral coordination and multi-stakeholder participation, including greater civil-military coordination in emergency response operations.
“We also supported the convening of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management and their coordination with the various relevant mechanisms related to disaster management in ASEAN to synchronize their activities and policies using the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response as the common platform for disaster management. In this regard, we adopted the ASEAN Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management,” he in the statement said.
At the same time, he said leaders encouraged the effective implementation of the ASEAN Action Plan on Joint Response to Climate Change, with particular attention to vulnerable groups in adaptation efforts.
These include moves to preserve and manage the use of water resources, and ASEAN’s efforts to continue effectively implementing the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Water Resource Management.
“We recognized the importance of preserving and managing water resources for sustainable development. In this regard, we welcomed the Chiang Mai Declaration by the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in May 2013, which reiterated the importance of water as an essential part of human life and the environment as well as human security and the economy. As such, we acknowledged that water is an issue affecting all three pillars of the future ASEAN Community,” Bolkiah said in the statement.
To combat air pollution, the ASEAN welcomed the adoption of the recommendation of the 14th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment for an ASEAN Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System, as a joint haze monitoring system among Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution countries.
The regional block noted the outcomes of the trilateral meeting on transboundary haze between the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore at the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Hua Hin on August 14, 2013.
“We also welcomed Indonesia’s commitment to the ratification of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution and looked forward to Indonesia’s ratification of the Agreement at the earliest time,” the summit chair said in the statement.
On the group’s initiative to fight poverty, Bolkiah said they welcomed the outcomes of the 8th ASEAN Ministers Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in July 2013 including the acknowledgment of the importance of participatory approaches involving our communities, village leaders, civil society, grassroots organizations, and volunteers.
ASEAN also reiterated the importance of job creation and strengthening of human resource development and acknowledged the importance of education cooperation to improve regional productivity and prosperity.
ASEAN leaders concluded their two-day discussions Thursday. President Benigno S. Aquino III joined fellow leaders in the ASEAN during the two-day event starting October 9 and 10, 2013 here in Bandar Seri Begawan.