The 8th meeting of the Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) Regional Steering Committee (RSC) convened in Manila, Philippines on 3 October 2023 to discuss the progress and gains of the regional and national preparedness partnerships under the APP. The Philippine Preparedness Partnership or PhilPrep, composed of its multi-sectoral co-chairs from the government, private sector, civil society, and academe served as this year’s host for the RSC meeting. Representatives from other APP member countries were also in attendance, hailing from Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Laos PDR. Bringing the APP countries together was its secretariat, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), and its funding partner, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
This year’s APP RSC meeting served as venue for the sharing of knowledge and experiences gained by the country members in the implementation of the multi-sectoral partnership model promoted by the APP. The APP’s tripartite partnership model, with representatives from government, the private sector, and civil society organizations embodies the whole-of-society approach to address issues on disaster risk reduction. Going into this meeting, the Philippines is advocating and pioneering a quadripartite preparedness partnership, with the addition of the academe as the fourth pillar and sector in the preparedness partnership.
In his welcoming remarks with the other PhilPrep co-chairs, Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, UP Resilience Institute Executive Director, highlighted the data on fatalities from disasters caused by natural hazards in the Philippines in the historical record as evidence of the positive impacts of improved mobilization and engagement between and among multi-sectoral partners in disaster preparedness and response. Before 2014, deaths from disasters would average around 1,250 people per year whereas after the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan in 2014 and a greater call to action for disaster risk reduction, annual deaths were significantly reduced to around 250 per year. Dr. Lagmay emphasized that this notable reduction is not because of a single organization or group but is instead through the collective and concerted efforts of DRRM actors – government, civil society, private sector, and the academe. The Philippines serves as a model for strong individual actors in DRRM brought about by circumstances and experiences and how effective collaborations among these 4 sectors can multiply the positive impacts of a multi-sectoral approach to DRRM.
The RSC meeting program gave each country-level partnership a platform for sharing their experiences, unique circumstances, and lessons learned that other member countries may adopt. Common experiences among the APP member countries involved the COVID-19 pandemic, devastating earthquakes, and record floods, among others. How each partnership responded and came out better from each of these events was highlighted. Across the experience of the 6 national preparedness partnerships, turned 7 with the induction of the Laos Disaster Preparedness Partnership, as well as the regional partnership in the APP, it is clear that the multi-sectoral platform and model adopted by the preparedness partnerships, such as PhilPrep, multiplies the efforts of each sector and partner to cut across levels of society to deliver DRRM programs and activities.
Localization is a key theme and model of sustainability for the APP. The PhilPrep partners enact this theme among its networks with the Office of Civil Defense administering the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation and its membership of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises MSMEs), the Center for Disaster Preparedness and its network of people’s organizations and partner communities, and finally the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute, leveraging its membership and secretariat role in the Philippine Academic Society for Climate and Disaster Resilience, its representation of the whole University of the Philippines system, and its growing network of state universities and colleges.
The challenge of sustainability in the coming years is a key issue being addressed in the 3-day meeting with the upcoming third and final round of funding from international stakeholders focused on ensuring the continuity of the partnerships and their beneficial programs for their stakeholders.
The program ended with the passing on of the RSC chairship by PhilPrep to the Sri Lanka Preparedness Partnership which will host next year’s APP RSC which the PhilPrep will continue to strongly support.
Posted by UP Resilience Institute Education on October 3, 2023