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December news

The LACER project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the AHA Centre to become a highly professional and trusted organisation that effectively carries out its operational mandate in facilitating and coordinating regional disaster preparedness and response, sharing European best practices and facilitating and building sustained institutional ASEAN – EU exchange. The project aims to plan for, implement and sustain organisational development using a comprehensive strategic approach. In December, the following activities were implemented.

Third meeting for the Project Steering Comittee for EU-SAHA and LACER projects

On 6 December, the LACER leadership joined colleagues from the EU Delegation and AHA Centre for the Third Meeting of the Project Steering Committee of the EU SAHA and LACER projects.

The LACER Consortium provided updates on project activities and financial status. MSB’s Head of the Resilience Section, Britta Ramberg, presented an overview of project expenditure and remaining funds. Thereafter LACER Team Leader highlighted recent project successes, challenges and planning for the coming year. The message was that many project ambitions have come to fruition, assisted by the weakening of the COVID pandemic and deployment of Team Leader and LACER experts to the ASEAN region. The potential benefits of travel and personal meetings between LACER experts and AHA staff were reflected in the LACER team visit in November. The LACER team offered an overeview of programming in the coming year. This includes recruitment of an EOC expert to provide close support to EOC/ERO activities at the AHA Centre; co-facilitating a workshop in Vietnam on data disaggregation in humanitarian contexts (under the Canada-funded project) which will build on earlier collaboration in integrating PGI into regional response planning; recruiting an expert to support AHA Centre in its longer term Strategic Visioning process; middle management coaching led by MSB; supporting the development of AJDRP modules and launching certification where possible; and facilitating learning visits by ASEAN EOC experts to ERCC and other relevant European agencies.

Advisory missions on strategic planning

Following a request from AHA Centre, LACER experts are now contributing to the development of a long term strategic visioning initiative which looks at operational, functional and resource needs over a 5-10 year perspective. During the reporting period, the LACER team drafted a Terms of Reference to recruit an expert in long term planning processes which could support AHA Centre. The tasks of this expert would include training AHA Centre staff and assisting in the drafting of work plans for the coming two five-year periods. The AHA Centre leadership is currently reviewing the ToR. In addition, the AHA Centre recently informed LACER that there are plans to recruit an officer to work in parallel with the expert role, which will add to sustainability of results.

Donor Coordination

During the PSC, the AHA Centre outlined a proposal to organise a coordination meeting in November 2023 which would invite all major donors/partners to a common event. One feature of the planned meeting would be the roll out of the Grants Management Portal, whereby donors/partners could transparently access information from a digital platform on all AHA activities funded externally. In addition, the LACER team will continue efforts toward bilateral coordination with AHA Centre partners and donors during the coming year.

Develop ERAT Training

In December, the ASEAN-ERAT team requested expanded LACER support in designing and implementing the 14th ERAT Level 1 Induction Course, scheduled to be held in Vietnam in February 2023. The AHA Centre has requested three specific forms of engagement, each calling for different expertise:

1. Support from the LACER Learning and Development Expert Olivia Setkic in planning the content and style of learning together with the course facilitators, in order to first shape the course and then follow up by observing implementation.

2. Technical assistance in monitoring and evaluation of the course learning objectives. This would include a review of the existing M&E tools of the ERAT Induction Course, discussing with course management and providing recommendations for improving the M&E tools.

3. Support to the ERAT simulation exercise. AHA Centre is developing this with the Vietnamese Disaster Management Authority (VDMA) based on a scenario similar to the floods in 2020 which affected 7 provinces of central Vietnam, LACER's role would be to provide injects, scenario development plans, and suggestions on handouts.

Implement enhanced routines and protocols for rapid deployment

LACER Team Leader Charles Silva was invited to observe a review of ASEAN ERAT-UNDAC interoperability and provide recommendations on improvements. All ERAT members were asked to join, while OCHA invited all UNDAC Asia Pacific Regional Roster members and several INSARAG certified responders as well. The event attracted a large audience, peaking at 82, including UNDAC leader Peter Muller and an array of UNDAC members from Fiji, China, Nepal, Korea, Japan, and others. Several participants were double-hatted representatives of both ERAT and UNDAC, including the presenter and former AHA team member Yos Malole.

Topics were twofold and included a background briefing on ERAT-UNDAC interoperability, with presentations by Haruka Ezaki (UNOCHA ROAP) and Rina Tnunay (AHA-C), and thereafter Yos Malole presented on interoperability experiences from the Central Sulawesi response of 2018.

Assess gaps and needs in Civil-military coordination SOPs and

routines in close collaboration with EU-SAHA programme

Charles was invited by UN OCHA to attend the Regional Consultative Group on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia-Pacific (RCG), from 1-3 December in Hua Hin, Thailand. The RCG was established in 2014 to enhance preparedness and cooperation in countries at a high risk of large-scale, sudden onset disasters in which foreign military assets are likely to support an international response, including in Indonesia and the Philippines. It serves multiple objectives:

  • regional forum for humanitarian, civilian and military actors involved in DM preparedness & response
  • coordinate operational planning between civilian and military actors preparing to respond to major disasters in APAC
  • prioritise countries where the process of coordinated operational planning civ-mil should be implemented (i.e. high risk countries like Philippines and Indonesia
  • create a broad platform for exchange of information and ideas, addressing policy issues and meeting gaps regarding CMCoord.

The event in Hua Hin was the first in-person gathering of RCG since the Covid pandemic, bringing together approx. 70 military and civilian participants from APAC countries, including representatives of Indonesian BNPB and Philippines ODC. The meeting was convened by OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), and the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) a US military institution based in Hawaii. AHA Centre was unable to attend given the clash in scheduling with their annual staff retreat. LACER Team Leader Charles has agreed to share his notes with them.

The event was inaugurated by Head of the Response Support Branch at OCHA Edem Wosornu, who mentioned that she had recently been in Jakarta and visited the important AHA Centre. She also highlighted the risk situation faced by Indonesia, with more than 3,000 disasters per year. Thereafter discussions focussed on updating country plans for CMCoord, including Indonesia and Philippines, as well as presenting updates on planning for the ARDEX and ADMM+ exercises scheduled to take place in Yogyakarta October 2023.