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The Launching of the First Edition of AHA Centre’s ARMOR

On the 20 th of March 2019, RDI representatives attended the invitation from AHA Centre in the launching of the first edition of the ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR): “Bridging Science and Decision Making”, in Double Tree by Hilton, Jakarta. In General, the event consisted of two agendas, mainly the formal launching of ARMOR, and the Talk Show reviewing four chapters included in the ARMOR publication. This was a high-level event attended by high-ranking officials mainly: H.E. Moazzam Malik, the Ambassador of the UK to ASEAN and Timor Leste; H.E. AKP Mochtan, the Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of ASEAN for community and Corporate Affairs, Executive Director of the AHA Centre, Ms. Adelina Kamal, alongside other government officials and partners of ASEAN. The Event was opened by remarks from Ms. Adelina Kamal, H.E. AKP Mochtan, and H.E. Moazzam Malik, and they were also involved in the “ribbon cutting” event of the ARMOR launch. During this event, RDI representatives also had a one-on-one discussion with Dr. Alistair Cook, and Ms. Adelina Kamal, with the hopes that future collaborations may arrive and prosper. Featured in the event was also an interactive discussion session with contributors of ARMOR: Dr. Mizan Bisri of the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability and Mr. Lawrence Anthony Dimailig of the AHA Centre. Both contributors were also joined by experts; Dr. Allistair Cook from the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and Mr. Ray Shirkhodai as Executive Director of the Pacific Disaster Center whom commented on the chapters included within ARMOR.

Picture 1. During Presentation

Although not all of the chapters of the ARMOR publication were discussed, the talk show was very enlightening and insightful. The first chapter that was discussed was the one titled: “Trillion Dollar Multi-Hazard Risk Landscape in Southeast Asia”; followed by discussions on the second chapter of the publication: “Most At-Risk Cities in ASEAN that must be Watched”, the fourth chapter: “State of Early Warning Systems in ASEAN”; and the eighth chapter: “Regional Centrality and the Shift of Humanitarian Landscape: The Case of ASEAN”. On the discussion of the first Chapter, Mr. Dimailig pressed that risks that are present in Southeast asia can be worth up to a trillion dollar, this assessment was done through his research involving the Risk Formula analysis which involves hazard & exposure, lack of coping capacity, and vulnerability. He also stated during the event that one of the ways in which policymakers can prioritize disaster management to mitigate risks is to view it from an economic standpoint, in which disaster has costed ASEAN countries a substantial amount of economic losses. Furthermore, on discussions of the second chapter of the publication: “Most At-Risk Cities in ASEAN that must be Watched”, Dr. Mizan Bustanul Fuady Bisri presented a number of cities that must be prioritized in terms of risk reduction. To name five of the cities that are most at risk are: Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Kampong Cham (Cambodia), Battambang (Cambodia), Banda Aceh (Indonesia), Bandar Lampung (Indonesia). It must be also noted that in the ranking, cities which are positioned as ranking 4 th to 12 th are Indonesian Cities. Dr. Mizan also stated that he hoped that through this research, policymakers can get an overview of which cities that needs to be prioritized, and at least get a sense of the intensity of available risks. Next, in discussion of the fourth chapter: “State of Early Warning Systems in ASEAN”, key points regarding this chapter includes emphasis by Dr. Mizan that what is also important is not only the Early Warning System itself, but also how authorities utilize and operate the overarching systems surrounding the EWS system itself, therefore policymakers and planners must be aware of the state of the early warning systems in ASEAN. The last chapter that was discussed during the event is chapter 8: “Regional Centrality and the Shift of Humanitarian Landscape: The Case of ASEAN”. In this contribution, Dr. Mizan elaborated on his research using the Social Network Analysis to model the inter-organisational networks that are present during humanitarian operations to large-scale disasters, by using this methodology, Dr. Mizan and other co-authors are able to identify that there has been a shift in centrality if cases of Typhoon Haiyan and the 2018 Central Sulawesi Earthquake were compared. He had shown that AHA Centre’s degree of “involvement” has increased throughout 2013-2018, indicated by the degree of centrality value, in which more and more government actors, donor agencies, NGOs, CSOs, are responding towards disasters through coordinated efforts by AHA Centre. All-in-all, all of the above chapters that had been discussed was aimed towards one goal: bridging science and decision-makers, therefore, RDI also hoped that with the launch of ARMOR, research on disaster management can be further transformed towards applicable policies and planning.

Picture 2. Group Photo