ASCEND Benchmarking Visit in the Republic of Korea

19 Oct 2022

Jakarta, 10 October 2022 - The Korean National Fire Agency (KNFA), in collaboration with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), successfully delivered the first ASEAN Standards and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND) Benchmarking Visit in the Republic of Korea (ROK) on 26-29 September 2022.

Participated by total of 25 delegates from the ten ASEAN Member States (AMS), the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), the ASEAN – ROK Development Cooperation Programme Management Team (AKPMT), and the AHA Centre, the visit aims to expose the participants to the expertise and capacity of the ROK in managing daily emergencies as well as responding to disasters both inside and outside the country. The knowledge and experience gained by the participants through this visit may help inspire and improve the administration and training of disaster management professionals in the ASEAN region as well as improve the capacities of AMS’ Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs).

During the opening ceremony, KNFA Acting Vice Commissioner Yeonggeun Hong expressed his hope that the visit could be an opportunity for ASEAN and ROK to share good practices and learn from one another. “As we all know, protecting the lives and property of the people from disasters is the top priority and goal of the existence of a nation, regardless of regions, said Vice Commissioner Hong. “I hope that systematic cooperation and constructive solidarity with ASEAN countries will lead us to rapid and substantial progress in the disaster management system and that all the people of ASEAN will enjoy permanent daily safety and a joyful life.”

Additionally, Mr. Andrew Mardanugraha, the ASCEND Project Coordinator and the Head of the ASEAN delegates, mentioned, “This visit is a wonderful opportunity for ASEAN officials to learn and understand how one of the best countries in disaster management prepares and ensures the highest quality of disaster response. In addition, this visit is also a good chance to build a strong relationship among ASEAN officials and with the KNFA colleagues as well.”

Throughout the four-day activity, the participants visited various pertinent sites showcasing ROK’s disaster response capacities such as the KNFA Headquarters in Sejong City and the National 119 Rescue Headquarters in Namyangju City. Further, the participants also visited Everland in Yongin City, the largest theme park in South Korea, after having a lecture session at Everland’s EOC on how medical and fire emergencies are detected, responded, and monitored within the theme park. Lastly, the delegates visited the Seoul City Emergency Operations Centre and had a session on the competitiveness of the EOC having a centralised, well-structured, and efficient disaster prevention and management system.

A productive question and answer forum followed every briefing and lecture session, showing the participants’ interest and enthusiasm to gain additional knowledge from ROK’s best practices in disaster response. The ASEAN delegates expressed their appreciation towards  the Republic of Korea, specifically to the KNFA who went above and beyond their normal duties to ensure that all participants were safe and comfortable during the visit. The generous and steadfast support of KNFA to the ASCEND project shows ROK’s commitment to the solidarity efforts of the ASEAN.