The European Commission and ASEAN will pursue closer cooperation in regional disaster management. The mutual commitment was confirmed in Jakarta by Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and by representatives of the Indonesian government and the ASEAN Secretary General. Georgieva was the first EU Commissioner to visit the ASEAN Secretariat, where she met Secretary General Dr Surin Pitsuwan. She also held a meeting with Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Welfare and delivered a public speech (http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/11/569&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en) on the complex challenges related to disasters and on the need for more international cooperation to respond to these challenges.
“ASEAN, its most important member – Indonesia – and the European Commission are very keen to work together in disaster preparedness and response,” said Commissioner Georgieva. “In a region that is as exposed to natural disasters as Southeast Asia, we can certainly do more to assess and tackle the risk of calamities which can wreak havoc in the lives of millions of people and sap the growth of some of the world’s most dynamic economies. I look forward to more cooperation in reducing these vulnerabilities, but also to learning from the experiences and practices of Indonesia and its neighbours in disaster management. So, we plan to share lessons, exchange best practices and organise more joint training exercises for disaster response experts,” the Commissioner added.
ASEAN has been particularly attracted to the European model of coordination in disaster response – the EU Civil Protection Mechanism – in which EU countries cooperate. With coordination from the European Commission, the Civil Protection Mechanism can deliver EU assistance to disaster-stricken countries in Europe and around the world.