The Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) hosted a seminar on ‘Disaster Policy Reform in ASEAN 2003-2023: Progress and Challenges’ on the 20th February at the RSIS Lecture Theatre. This seminar was delivered by Dr Jonatan Lassa, Senior Lecturer, Emergency & Disaster Management, Faculty of Arts and Society, Charles Darwin University, Australia and moderated by NTS Centre Head, Professor Mely Caballero-Anthony.
Dr Lassa presented on the fragility of disaster reform in ASEAN based on long-term data from disaster trends and recovery trajectories. Despite the perception that disaster risk reduction policy in ASEAN has improved, ASEAN member states are still unlikely to meet the Sendai targets by 2030. Across the region, there is a lack of a systematic commitment to sustainable recovery and the ‘build-back better’ framework. In the region, we still see a large number of preventable hazard events which turn into disasters. Dr Lassa argued that a ‘creative recovery’ process is needed which commits states and societies to not only reach the same development levels at the time of the hazard but to reach the development levels should the disaster not have occurred. Without a commitment to reaching these levels then the affected communities are effectively returning to the past. This seminar concluded with Q&A on topics of discussion from the role of market mechanisms in providing disaster financing to the impact of anticipatory action on recovery.