Issues in Humanitarian Response in
Asia Pacific

Rebecca Barber
Humanitarian Policy Advisor
Save the Children
Outline
• Disaster Risk in Asia
Pacific
• Regional trends
• Requests for
international
assistance
• Case Studies: Thailand...
Disaster risk in Asia Pacific
• The most disaster-prone region in the world.
• Greatest number of disasters: 45% of all
re...
Regional Trends
• Economic growth
• But ↑ in economic & human disaster risk
exposure, outpacing economic growth.
• ↑ in na...
UN GA Res 46/182 on the Strengthening of the
Coordination of the Humanitarian Emergency
Assistance of the UN
“Humanitarian...
Thailand/Cambodia Floods 2011
• Assistance welcomed but not requested
• But this didn’t amount to an ‘appeal’ as
understoo...
Thailand/Cambodia Floods 2011
Thailand
•Informal activation of the HCT (‘purposefully
adopted a low-key approach’) and clu...
Philippines: Tropical Storm Washi and
Typhoon Bopha
• Formal acceptance
of international
assistance
• Activation of HCT
an...
What distinguishes the
Philippines?
• Humanitarian
infrastructure
already there, no
need to consider
‘trigger’ for
activat...
In summary:
• Disaster management capacities in Asia ↑, but so
is disaster risk; still a place for international
assistanc...
rebecca.barber@savethechildren.org.au
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Rebecca Barber - Learning from Humanitarian Response in SE Asia

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Rebecca Barber - Learning from Humanitarian Response in SE Asia

  1. 1. Issues in Humanitarian Response in Asia Pacific Rebecca Barber Humanitarian Policy Advisor Save the Children
  2. 2. Outline • Disaster Risk in Asia Pacific • Regional trends • Requests for international assistance • Case Studies: Thailand and Cambodia 2011 flood response; Philippines
  3. 3. Disaster risk in Asia Pacific • The most disaster-prone region in the world. • Greatest number of disasters: 45% of all reported disasters between 1980-2009. • Greatest number affected: Over the past decade, accounted for 90% of people affected annually by natural disasters globally • Numbers increasing due to climate change
  4. 4. Regional Trends • Economic growth • But ↑ in economic & human disaster risk exposure, outpacing economic growth. • ↑ in national disaster management capacities • But ↑ capacity not keeping pace with ↑ risk; still a need for international assistance. • Shift in regional attitudes: assertion of national disaster management capacities; few formal requests for international assistance
  5. 5. UN GA Res 46/182 on the Strengthening of the Coordination of the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance of the UN “Humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle on the basis of an appeal by the affected country. … The UN… should ensure the … delivery of relief assistance in full respect of the above mentioned principles…”
  6. 6. Thailand/Cambodia Floods 2011 • Assistance welcomed but not requested • But this didn’t amount to an ‘appeal’ as understood by Res 46/182: “The Thai Government said that they welcome assistance but many agencies do not work that way.’ • Gave rise to frustration: “There was a sense that our hands were tied, that we could only do so much.”
  7. 7. Thailand/Cambodia Floods 2011 Thailand •Informal activation of the HCT (‘purposefully adopted a low-key approach’) and clusters. •Useful, slow to get started. Cambodia •International actors looked to NCDM to take the lead - NCDM declined due in part to absence of formal appeal for assistance. •Financing affected
  8. 8. Philippines: Tropical Storm Washi and Typhoon Bopha • Formal acceptance of international assistance • Activation of HCT and clusters • Appeals launched • Generally regarded as a well-coordinated response with strong government leadership
  9. 9. What distinguishes the Philippines? • Humanitarian infrastructure already there, no need to consider ‘trigger’ for activation • No issue made of the lack of an ‘appeal’ • National government familiarity and ownership of the international humanitarian architecture
  10. 10. In summary: • Disaster management capacities in Asia ↑, but so is disaster risk; still a place for international assistance • Key components of the humanitarian system out of date: assume a generalised appeal for assistance, and that international actors will take the lead • Need for ‘localisation’ of the humanitarian toolkit by recognising national government capacities and leadership - Philippines a positive example
  11. 11. rebecca.barber@savethechildren.org.au

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