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ASEAN, UNICEF hold workshop on financing responses to disasters, shocks

A workshop themed “Financing Responses to Disasters and Shocks: Experiences, Opportunities and Challenges in Disaster Risk Financing and Disaster Responsive Social Protection in Southeast Asia” has been jointly held by the ASEAN Secretariat and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) East Asia and Pacific via videoconference.

The objective of the workshop was to share findings from a regional landscape analysis — undertaken by UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific — on disaster risk financing and shock responsive social protection in ASEAN, and to discuss ways to operationalise policy recommendations to strengthen financing mechanisms for resilience building and disaster response in Southeast Asia.

The research is part of the ASEAN-UN joint project ‘Scaling up Forecast based Financing/ Early Warning Early Action and shock responsive social protection’ supported by the The Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission (ECHO). 

Representatives from various sectors of ASEAN member countries, such as Disaster Management, Health, Finance and Insurance, and Social Welfare and Gender, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat further contributed in enhancing the research findings.

The workshop concluded that the existing financing gap between large-scale disasters and smaller but more regular shocks is the most pressing challenge in ASEAN. The compelling need to establish an efficient and pre-arranged Disaster Risk Financing, Public Finance Management and Shock Responsive Social Protection mechanisms, was also highlighted by the participants.

The improvement of disaster risk financing for social protection in ASEAN requires strong pre-existing core social protection systems, as well as striking a balance between national social protection instruments and local delivery and financing.

It was also agreed that social protection, public finance management and risk analytics agendas are priorities for ASEAN to pursue./.