Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination Research Project

Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination in Disaster Responses in Nepal, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar

The aim of this research project is to provide an understanding of the civilmilitary coordination mechanisms that can be established as part of disaster response efforts in the Asia Pacific region. This will include how regional civil-military coordination guidance can be applied to inform disaster responses efforts. The project is linked to the Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific,1 focusing on five countries that are highly vulnerable to largescale natural disasters: Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

This project will be conducted by Humanitarian Advisory Group (HAG), an Australian-based social enterprise which specialises in humanitarian civilmilitary coordination and protection. The research will also benefit from a unique collaboration between HAG and three key civil-military players in the Asia-Pacific region, namely the Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), and the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE).

Background

It has long been recognised that the Asia Pacific region is the most disaster prone in the world.2 Military actors play a key role in responding to natural disasters in this region3 and as outlined in the civil-military coordination input to the World Humanitarian Summit synthesis report,4 there is a need for states to incorporate principles of key civilmilitary guidelines into their domestic legal frameworks.

In addressing this reality, UNOCHA ROAP hosted a regional Civil-Military Coordination Workshop on 16-17 October 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand. In addition to clear acknowledgement by participants of the need for better coordinated planning between civilian and military actors and agreement on how this could be achieved in critical areas of disaster response, a key outcome of the workshop was the recommendation to create a multi-stakeholder Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific to take this planning forward at a practical level.

The First Session of the Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific took place on 3-4 December 2015 in Thailand. The event gathered a total of 85 participants from more than 25 countries including humanitarian personnel, disaster management officials and military actors from Member States and regional organisations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. During the First Session of the RCG, discussions focused on enhancing operational response planning between civilian and military actors for
major disasters in five priority countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar and the Philippines). This, and a review of lessons and good practice from recent regional responses, yielded concrete actions which will be taken to strengthen preparedness and response operations in Asia and the Pacific.

A key recommendation that emerged from the RCG First Session was to ‘enhance predictability and develop a common understanding of the civil-military coordination mechanisms and their respective functions during a response.’5 This research project aims to address this recommendation by outlining the civil-military coordination mechanisms in the RCG five priority countries
(Nepal, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar) and how these are activated during disaster response efforts in line with regional frameworks and guidance. The project will commence in June 2016, with the research expected to to be completed by the end of September 2016 to ensure that the project can be tabled at the RCG Second Session scheduled for October 2016.

Methodology

The research methodology will consist primarily of a desk/literature review of existing policy and publications in the field of humanitarian civil-military coordination and disaster response preparedness. In addition, other tools such as phone interviews and webinars with key stakeholders will be conducted where necessary with the support of ACMC, OCHA ROAP and CFE.

The research will include participation from both military and civilian actors and organisations across government, the United Nations and Non-Government Organisations, as well as regional groups, such as ASEAN and the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) Centre, and the East Asian Summit (EAS).

This research, and the subsequent publication, will assist a range of stakeholders, such as donors, regional organisations, RCG members and partner organisations to better understand the civil-military coordination contexts in which they may operate in response to a natural disaster, as well as assist in planning for such operations.

Expected Outcomes

The main outcome of the research will be a publication that:

  • Outlines the existing national civilian and military structures in the five RCG priority countries;
  • Describes the civil-military guidelines that can be activated to support country and regional-level response operations, such as the Asia Pacific Regional Guidelines for the use of Foreign Military Assets in Natural Disaster Response Operations (APC MADRO); and the ASEAN Standard Operating Procedure for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (SASOP)
  • Describes the civil-military coordination mechanisms and structures that can be activated to support country and regional-level response operations, such as the Humanitarian Military Operational Coordination Concept (HuMOCC) and appropriate coordination mechanisms for foreign military and civilian government response capabilities; and
  • Explains how these civil-military coordination mechanisms link to the existing national structures in the five RCG priority countries.

Proposed Publication Content Outline

Part 1

This section will introduce the research project objectives and methodology. It will also include the project background, including information related, but not limited to, some of the following aspects:

  • The Asia-Pacific Region: Context Analysis;
  • Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific: Background and First Session Outcomes;
  • Global and Regional Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination Guidance; and
  • AADMER and the Standard Operating Procedures for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (SASOP).

Part 2

This section shall consist of different chapters (no more than 25 pages), focused on each of the priority countries (Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar). It is proposed that the following priority be followed for the development of the chapters:

  • Philippines
  • Nepal
  • Indonesia
  • Bangladesh
  • Myanmar

Proposed content outline for each of the country-specific chapters:

  • Country Disaster Risk Profile and Context Analysis
  • Roles and Responsibilities in Disaster Preparedness and Response
  • Historical context for humanitarian civilmilitary coordination
  • Humanitarian civil-military coordination mechanisms
  • Regional Consultative Group (RCG): findings and country-specific action plan
  • References
  • Acronyms/Glossary

Downloads

ACMC-OCHA Research Project (PDF 103KB)