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Regional Organisations and Humanitarian Leadership in the Asia-Pacific

Presentation Description

Southeast Asia has undergone significant development in the realm of regional disaster governance over the past 20 years. In 2004, the Indian Ocean Tsunami and Earthquake affected many communities in the region which subsequently saw an unprecedented international humanitarian response not seen before in Southeast Asia. As a regional organisation, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was largely unprepared for the humanitarian effects of the disaster or the subsequent oversight of the international humanitarian response. The experience saw the regional organisation membership fast-track efforts to develop a regional disaster management and emergency response mechanism which culminated in the 2008 ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). This legally-binding arrangement was a world first in disaster response. It provided the framework for the establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) in 2011, the region's operational hub for the implementation of AADMER. Concurrently, a community of practice of humanitarian action further developed and paved the way for an active humanitarian network in Southeast Asia, which saw the emergence of humanitarian leaders both within the regional organisation and the wider community. The regional humanitarian community has challenged the dominant UN-centric humanitarian system in both functrion and form. This paper argues that regional humanitarian community and its leaders have offered an alternative vision for the global humanitarian community that is built on its local experience, its recognition of mutliple humanitarian actors and organised around regional solidarity.

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