Brookings Institute – The Role of Regional Organisations in building national Capacity for Disaster Risk Management

The Role of Regional Organisations in building national Capacity for Disaster Risk Management

ACMC commissioned research through the Brookings Institution on The Role of Regional Organisations in Building National Capacity for Disaster Risk Management’. The objective of this research was to examine the ways in which regional organisations build the capacity of national disaster management organisations (NDMOs) through analysis of the Pacific, South East Asia and South Asia.

The research publications highlight the have now been completed and identify significant differences in the ways in which the three regional bodies (Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) work with their member states. The various publications provide details of strengths and opportunities in supporting National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) through regional organisations.

The research findings were presented at the conference on Regional Humanitarianism in Action in February 2015 at the International Humanitarian City (a new centre for humanitarian work in Dubai). The conference was attended by high-level representatives from the humanitarian departments of nine regional organisations (OAS, CDEMA, EU, ASEAN, SPC, AU, IGAD, OIC and GCC), IFRC, ICRC, OCHA, some NGOs, etc.

The conference report highlights key areas of discussion and recommendations. To access the report, please click here.

The Brookings Institution produced the following publications in this research project.
Desk Top Study

This short review was based on desk top research, surveys literature on the work of regional organisations and NDMOs in disaster risk management and draws out some of the themes that may be useful for further examination of the relationship between regional bodies and national organisations in disaster risk management.

ASEAN Field Based Research Study
This paper provides an overview of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) capacity development in ASEAN with a particular focus on the cooperation of ASEAN and national disaster management organisations (NDMOs) in building DRM capacity. Its focus on only two out of ten ASEAN member states is just a partial picture of the full dynamics of DRM capacity building in a diverse region.

ASEAN has embarked on an ambitious DRM program through ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), which is one of the few binding single-issue DRM treaties in the world. The region’s experience with major natural disasters and the successful role of ASEAN in the Cyclone Nargis response have led ASEAN member states to take a significant step out of their ‘comfort zone’ to build capacity at the regional level.
ASEAN Regional Organisations summary

Pacific Islands Field Based Research Study
This paper focused on the role of regional organisations in building the DRM capacities of Pacific Island Countries (PICs). Regional organisations play a central role in supporting the disaster risk management (DRM) activities of their nation state and territory members. While much is made of the emergent role of regional organisations in building DRM national capacities in other parts of the world, this is not a new issue in the Pacific. For decades Pacific regional organisations have been engaged in helping states to minimise the human and economic losses incurred by natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.

The challenges of DRM in the Pacific are growing all of the time, and the situation remains far from perfect. While there has been a plethora of regional strategies and initiatives to assist PICs over the span of more than three decades, it is far from clear whether these activities have resulted in the existence of real disaster capabilities on the ground.
Pacific Islands Regional Organisations summary

SAARC Field Based Research Study
This paper examines the role of regional organisations in supporting disaster risk management across South Asia. As this paper was released, a 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, the most powerful in 80 years, killing at least 7,000 people and affecting an additional eight million. This paper does not endeavour to assess the full extent of earthquake losses or the emergency relief efforts still unfolding in Nepal at the time of its publication. Instead, it maps out the national architecture and systems that were in place in the disaster-affected country and across the sub-region prior to the disaster. The purpose of this study was to consider the different elements of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Disaster Management Centre’s (DMC) efforts over the last decade and to assess their impact in supporting the national capacities of member states. This study evaluates the development of DRM national architecture and activities in two case study countries in South Asia, namely India and Nepal, to get a better sense of where these countries stand with regard to DRM capabilities and to understand what role, if any, regional approaches have had in reinforcing national systems.
SAARC Regional Organisations summary