ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre)

To reduce disaster losses and enhance ASEAN’s collective response to disasters, the ASEAN Member States developed the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). Under the AADMER, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) was established to facilitate cooperation and coordination among ASEAN Member States, and with relevant United Nations and international organisations, in promoting regional collaboration.

In September 2016, the ASEAN Leaders adopted and signed the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response, which affirmed the AHA Centre as the primary ASEAN regional coordinating agency on disaster management and emergency response.  The Declaration committed ASEAN to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of the AHA Centre.

The AHA Centre is at the core of ASEAN’s commitment to manage and respond to natural disasters in the region, including through deploying ASEAN-Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT), and coordinating critical disaster information. Since its inception, the AHA Centre has responded to 31 disasters in the last seven years in 7 ASEAN countries, including undertaking six emergency preparedness missions.  The ASEAN-ERAT has been deployed 27 times in 7 ASEAN countries.

Guided by the AADMER and the Agreement on the Establishment of the AHA Centre, and taking into account the ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management, the AADMER Work Programme 2016-2020 and the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response, the AHA Centre will continue to facilitate and coordinate ASEAN’s effort in reducing disaster losses and responding to disaster emergencies as one through regional collaboration, national leadership and global partnership in disaster management.

The focus of the AHA Centre in its second five years under its AHA Centre Work Plan 2020 will be on accomplishing the expectations set by the ASEAN Member States and ensuring its sustainability and relevance in the dynamic humanitarian landscape of the region. The key challenge for the AHA Centre is to make a transition from being a new organisation to becoming one that is sustainable and effective, while remaining relevant to the needs of the ASEAN Member States and the wider ASEAN Community. 

As indicated in the AHA Centre Work Plan 2020, the AHA Centre seeks to prioritise its activities for the next five years focusing on (i) Preparedness and Response, (ii) Capacity Building & Knowledge Management, (iii) Resource Mobilisation & Communications, and (iv) Management & Administration. While still retaining the AHA Centre Work Plan 2020, based on its recent planning meeting in January 2019 and taking into account lessons from responding to multiple disasters in 2018 and possibly expanding scope and mandate, the AHA Centre has re-sharpened its core business into Cooperation and Coordination, with five core functions, i.e. (i) Coordination, (ii) Data Analysis and Intelligence, (iii) Resource Management, (iv) Financing, and (v) Knowledge and Outreach, to enable the AHA Centre to prioritise key activities under the AHA Centre Work Plan 2020. Additionally, as the AHA Centre is implementing the operationalisation of One ASEAN One Response as mandated by the Leaders, it is preparing itself to move toward operationalising ASEAN 3.0 (Coordination beyond ASEAN Member States) and ASEAN X.0 (Response outside the ASEAN region).