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Activity Report

31 August 2023

Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) will host the Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction 2023 (ACDR2023) "Effective Implementation of DRR Measures - Enabling Digital Transformation in DRR" on 20 October 2023 in Dushanbe, the Republic of Tajikistan. The conference will be conducted in a hybrid format (in-person and online).

ACDR2023 will focus on disaster risk in landlocked countries, with sessions on "Innovative Solutions for Resilient Societies: DRR Technologies for Earthquakes and Geological Hazards" and "Adaptation to the Climate Crisis: Innovative Approaches to Monitoring and Responding to Glacial Lake Outburst Floods(GLOFs), Forest Fires and Intensifying Floods."

Details of the conference will be made available on the ACDR2023 website in due course.

(2023/8/31 15:00)
28 August 2023 (Online)

In collaboration with the additional members of the Advanced Study of Climate Change Projection (SENTAN) Program, ADRC co-organized the first webinar on "Climate Change Impact Projection for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia-Pacific Region" on 28 August 2023. The first webinar featured the climate change impact in Fiji with the presentation from Mr Jasneel Chandra, Scientific Officer in Climatology at Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS). Mr Jasneel Chandra reported that the sea level at Lautoka Wharf in Fiji has been on average increasing at 4.3mm/year between 1993 and 2022. As result, some villages (e.g., Veivatuloa and Vunidogoloa) are easily flooded and inundated by sea water causing the relocation of many coastal houses. 

Since one of the objectives of the webinar was to share the results of climate change projections, the following Japanese experts also made presentations related to climate change in Fiji: 

1) Prof. MORI Nobuto, Research Division of Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Disasters, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.
2) Dr NAKAEGAWA Toshiyuki, Head of Second Laboratory, Department of Applied Meteorology Research, Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) of Japan Meteorological Agency.
3) Dr MURATA Akihiko, Head First Laboratory, Department of Applied Meteorology Research, Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) of Japan Meteorological Agency.
4) Mr MORI Noriyuki, Deputy Director, International Center for Water Hazard and Risk Management.
5) Prof. TACHIKAWA Yasuto, Hydrology and Water Resources Research Laboratory, Kyoto University. 

Lastly, Associate Professor KOBAYASHI Kenichiro (Kobe University) and Dr Gerry Potutan (ADRC) co-facilitated the event. Materials can be accessed on the website: 
(2023/09/04 15:00)
21-25 August 2023 (Malaysia)

One of the services of Quasi Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) is the Satellite Report for Disaster and Crisis Management (DC Report), which the National Space Policy Secretariat of the Cabinet Office Japan (NSPS-CAO) is promoting to countries in the Asia-Pacific region. QZSS can transmit a warning message to the ground, and it is useful in areas that have no internet/cellular communication system. It also serves as redundant system when the existing ground communication systems are damaged by extreme disaster events. 

Under the supervision of the NSPS-CAO, a project team comprising representatives from ADRC, Asia Air Survey Co., Ltd. and NTT Data Corporation visited Malaysia on 21-25 August 2023 to demonstrate the QZSS 'DC Report' technology. Through the local support of the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Centre (DPPC) of the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), the project team conducted the following key activities: 

1) Visited the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) Prime Minister Department of Malaysia in Putrajaya to brief key officials of the QZSS DC Report technology.
2) Visited the town of Hulu Langat, Selangor in two consecutive days to set-up, demonstrate, test, and discuss the performance of QZSS prototype receivers. 
3) Convened with key government agencies and stakeholders to share respective local initiatives on disaster early warning systems (EWS) and administered the survey questionnaire to all local participants.
4) Discussed the next steps and endeavors was made as well. 

The QZSS 'DC Report' demonstration in Malaysia showed that the prototype receivers, as tested in Hulu Langat, are capable of receiving the warning message transmitted through QZSS. In view of this outcome, local stakeholders expressed interest in the technology and discussed with the project team options of integrating it with the existing early warning technologies and practices in Malaysia.
(2023/08/31 15:00) 

21 August 2023 (Singapore)

ADRC participated in the first ASEAN Interregional Dialogue on Disaster Resilience (AIDDR) held on 21 August 2023 in Singapore. Adopting the theme, "Regional Perspectives on Building Resilience from Transboundary Risks," AIDDR convened regional organizations in Asia-Pacific region to explore strategies and current approaches to understanding, managing, and reducing transboundary disaster risks and their impacts on other emerging disaster risk issues. AIDDR aimed at achieving two key objectives: 

1) explore potential avenues for fostering collaborative efforts between regional organizations on DRM, and 
2) lay the groundwork for establishing interregional partnerships and collaboration with a specific focus on knowledge exchange and capacity building. 

Speaking on behalf of ADRC, Dr Potutan mentioned that one of the challenges in managing transboundary disasters is that the disaster risk management (DRM) systems of impacted countries usually differ, such as protocols and logistical approaches. In this context, ADRC facilitated cooperation among its 31-member countries by providing a common platform for: 

1) information-sharing on transboundary risks, such as assigning a universal identification of transboundary disasters using the GLIDE number system; and 
2) early warning of transboundary risks using satellites, particularly through the Quasi Zenith Satellites System (QZSS) and Sentinel Asia.

Based on the discussions at the AIDDR, the ASEAN Secretariat indicated to facilitate the following next steps: 

1) continue the inter-regional dialogue among regional organizations to strengthen collaboration;
2) conduct capacity mapping of regional organizations to inform initiatives for greater cooperation and synergy; and
3) pursue proposal for collaboration in the areas of data sharing, early warning, and knowledge exchange.
(2023/08/28 15:00)
2 August 2023 (Seattle, USA)

The 16th Senior Disaster Management Officials' Forum (SDMOF), chaired by FEMA Administrator Ms Deanne Criswell, was held in Seattle on 2 August 2023. The forum was organized against the backdrop of a series of destructive and costly wildfires, floods, hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes that compelled APEC member economies to heightened collective actions to respond to the increasingly complex disaster landscape. 

The forum kicked off with a Roundtable on Adaptive Management, in which every Minister or Head of Delegation provided three-minute remarks. In this roundtable, Mr TANI Koichi (Minister of State for Disaster Management) of Japan delivered a video message. His message touched on incorporating the principles of adaptability, flexibility and meaningful change to build strong and resilient communities. All heads of delegations to the forum provided their remarks in person, including from the following economies: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam. 

Emphasizing the significant role of disaster risk managers, the SDMOF tackled four thematic areas to take urgent and decisive action: 

i) Inclusive and Participatory Disaster Risk Reduction: Fostering Whole Community Integration into Decision-Making Processes; 
ii) Climate Impacts to Disaster Housing: Prioritizing Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning in the Asia-Pacific; 
iii) Nature-Based Solutions: Strengthening Infrastructure Resilience; 
iv) Women's Leadership in Crisis Management: Achieving an Equitable Future for the APEC Region. 

During the wrap-up, Mr Gerry Potutan (Senior Researcher at ADRC), who moderated Thematic Session 2, summed up key takeaways from the forum with the following words:

"As you heard from the speakers, the greatest challenge in disaster housing is logistics, e.g., seeking permits for where and when to build disaster housing, adhering to protocols in shipping building materials, and complying with government regulations in transferring funds. These logistical challenges make disaster housing complex and it will take a long time for complete housing reconstruction. The longer it takes, the greater the losses. However, these logistical issues can be addressed now through pre-agreements and pre-disaster recovery planning. So, when disaster strikes, the pre-agreed logistical arrangements will be activated."
(2023/8/9 15:00)

1 August 2023 (Seattle, USA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hosted the 19th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Emergency Preparedness Working Group (APEC-EPWG) meeting in Seattle, USA on 1 August 2023. ADRC Project Director Mr SUZUKI Koji (Co-chair of EPWG) and Senior Researcher Mr Gerry Potutan (Assistant to the EPWG Co-chair) participated in the meeting. 

In this meeting, the member economies together with representatives from the private sector, academia and industry leaders discussed the impact of complex emergencies and disaster shocks to APEC region's supply chains and explored ways to promote disaster risk reduction in supply chain management.?The meeting also delved into diverse approaches to early warning systems in the APEC region to accelerate the implementation of robust early warning systems that strengthen risk management and advance disaster risk reduction for all. Communications system, including timely and accurate dissemination of warnings that can reach rural communities, was mentioned as the key criterion to an effective early warning system.

EPWG Co-chair SUZUKI, who facilitated the afternoon sessions, announced the following: 

i) Endorsement of the EPWG Work Plan 2023, 
ii) Revision of the APEC DRR Framework, and 
iii) Revision of the Plan of Action on the APEC DRR Framework. 

He also stated that the terms of office of the current EPWG co-chairs will end in 31 December 2023. As such, the Secretariat will be starting the process for nomination of the next co-chairs. 

As part of the APEC-EPWG events, which the FEMA organized as host, participants were given the opportunity to join a "Resilient Communities Field Tour" on 3 August 2023. In this field tour, participants had a chance to engage with local communities in the State of Washington, including a visit to Mount Vernon where the city leveraged local, state and federal investment to build a flood wall that put an end to persistent flooding of the city's downtown. The flood wall forms a part of a long-term plan to increase safety and revitalize the local economy. Participants also visited the Starbucks Headquarters and Seattle Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Starbucks demonstrated how the global corporation prepares its supply chain and operations for possible disasters and also showcased the model of public-private partnership to advance climate resilience. Seattle EOC showed how local emergency management personnel are constantly adapting to prepare the city for a changing disaster landscape.
(2023/8/8 15:00)

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