The increasing number and scale of natural disasters across the region necessitate an urgent need to strengthen existing regional arrangements for disaster relief and emergency response. Through the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), ASEAN has responded by setting up mechanisms to further refine its disaster management systems.
The demand for more rapid and effective response and better prepared and trained experts is high in ASEAN. The Declaration on One ASEAN One Response was recently adopted by the ASEAN Leaders at the 2016 ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR, thereby increasing ASEAN’s resolve to strengthening its capacity to prepare for and respond to disaster emergencies in a collective and integrated manner.
To this end, ASEAN needs qualification standards of its disaster management professionals. Developing a common standards framework from which ASEAN Member States (AMS) will develop certification for appropriate courses, ensures ASEAN possesses high quality disaster expertise and consistency in standards across the region. ASEAN Standardization and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND) included in the ACDM’s 2016-2020 Work Program is a priority program under objective 8 LEAD—which makes provision for ASEAN Leadership for Excellence and Innovation in Disaster Management, to build professionalism in disaster management through standardization and certification.
Based on these lessons and resources as well as a global stock take of standardization and certifications, a standardized ASEAN certification program for disaster management experts has been developed. The ASCEND framework will be the guiding document that defines the structure, institutional arrangements, processes, and necessary steps for establishing the program.