APEC 12th Senior Disaster Management Officers Forum Kokopo

Media Release

27th September, 2018

The two days 12th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum (SDMOF) ended in Kokopo yesterday with recommendations to APEC economies on improving warning and reduce the impact of disasters in the Asia Pacific region.

The forum ended with a summary of recommendations to be presented to the concluding Senior Officials Meeting and Ministerial Meeting to be held in Port Moresby in November, 2018.   

Among the recommendations, senior disaster management officials recommended that APEC economies;

Promote disaster resiliency through enhancing efficiency and coverage of all-hazards early warning systems by building a networked platform to exchange data, information and analysis for improving forecasting skills and human capacities based on proactive information dissemination and effective disaster risk communication strategies.

These recommendations were discussed under four different sessions which identified four main considerations to improve the effectiveness of multi – hazards monitoring and warning systems to reduce disaster risk;

1.The Collection and Synthesis of Research, Data and Analysis for Effective Warning, including approaches and experiences with the synthesis of hazard research, monitoring, horizon-scanning, data collection and analysis generation which yield effective seasonal and non-seasonal warnings, including the use of digital technologies.

2.The Communicating the Warning Message, including research and global good practice on communicating an effective and actionable warning messages which leads to timely action to avoid or reduce harm. This may also include effective practices in pre-disaster community-level mobilisation and education to enhance understanding of risks and warning.

3.The Delivery of Warning Message, including approaches and experiences with the use of digital and other technologies to deliver targeted warning messages in time and to the correct locations to enable actions to reduce or avoid harm to at-risk communities while avoiding unnecessary concern to communities not at risk. This includes situations where digital and other new technologies have been successfully integrated or combined with traditional communication methods.

4. Localizing Warning, including approaches and experiences with localized warning systems where centralized warning systems are not effective due to time, distance and connectivity constraints, including how centralized and localized warning systems can be linked or networked to provide pre-warning synthesized analysis, with attention to digital technologies as appropriate.

The forum was held at Kokopo, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea on 25 and 26 September 2018 and was officially opened by the Honorable Kevin Isifu Minister for Inter - Government Relations of Papua New Guinea, and Honorable Nakikus Konga Governor of East New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea.

More than 90 delegates that attended the forum included senior disaster management officials from 9 APEC member economies, namely Australia; People's Republic of China; Japan; New Zealand; Philippines; Chinese Taipei; The United States; Vietnam and Papua New Guinea as well as representatives from UNISDR; ADPC; ADRC; UN agencies; international and local private sectors.

The 12thSDMOF focused on “Advancing the Multi Hazard Early Warning Systems for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Risk Management” where senior disaster management officials and regional key stakeholders focused on “the context of a “new normal” for disaster risk management, where a combination of natural and human factors are leading to disasters which are more complex, more frequent, and increasingly difficult to anticipate and manage.

One of the two SDMOF Co-Chairs and Climate Change and Development Authority Managing Director Mr. Ruel Yamuna said “with this new normal, the forum highlighted that timely hazard monitoring and warning, the efficient use of digital technologies, and warnings which result in timely and effective action, have become increasingly important to enhance disaster risk management to ensure economic growth in the region”.

He said the senior disaster officials expressed their sincere gratitude and appreciation to Papua New Guinea for the hospitality and for organizing the forum in raising the issues of early warning. The senior disaster officials look forward to further collaboration on emergency preparedness in Chile, 2019.