Southeast Asia is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. More than 50 percent of the global disaster mortalities took place in ASEAN from 2004 to 2014 with about 354,000 fatalities. During the same period, about 191 million people were temporarily displaced, and another 193 million people were affected or experienced different types of losses due to disasters.
The education sector is highly affected by disasters and other risks owing to a large amount of time the children and teachers spend in schools. There have been many instances when children or teaching staff lost their lives or got injured in schools during disasters. Recent disasters in the ASEAN region damaged school facilities, especially those with poor building design, non-engineered construction, or site selection, which prevented students from accessing schools. Children’s education is also disrupted when schools are used as temporary shelters or evacuation areas for those affected by disasters. Major setbacks on development investments in the education sector are also experienced during disasters especially when risk reduction policies are not adequately prioritised.
Recognising the impacts of disasters on children and education sector, ASEAN has established the ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative (ASSI) which promotes a comprehensive integration of risk reduction in the Education Sector. This initiative is a priority of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2016-2020 (Priority Programme #2: Building Safe ASEAN Infrastructures and Essential Service) and the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020 (Priority Area 5.2: Promoting inclusion of disaster risk reduction in national curriculum through support to relevant sectors’ initiatives).
To support the ASSI goals and Programme Strategy, ASSI, with the leadership of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and Seniors Official Meeting on Education (SOM-ED), conducts a biennial regional conference as a venue for advocacy, discussion, and learning exchange among stakeholders on DRR in Education and School Safety in ASEAN. The first ASEAN Regional Conference on School Safety, held in December 2015 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia saw the formal launch of the ASEAN Common Framework 1 ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management (2016). The second ASEAN Regional Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand in February 2017, gathered the re-affirmation of ASEAN countries and other partners and stakeholders’ to continue their school safety efforts in alignment with the country commitments to contribute in accomplishing the newly adopted AADMER Work Programme 2016-2020 and the ASEAN Regional Work Plan on Education 2016-2020 as well as the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 targets and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
This year, as we are heading towards the end of the ASEAN Programme Strategy 2017-2020, the 3 rd ASEAN Regional Conference on School Safety will be focusing on the assessment of the region’s progress in school safety work and in shaping the discussions toward outlining the ASEAN regional perspectives, approaches, and strategies on school safety post- AADMER Work Programme 2016-2020 and ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020.
Participation and visibility of RCRC
Twenty participants from 11 Southeast Asia National Societies as well as IFRC Secretariat and Global Disaster Preparedness Centre have attended which made the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement very visible during the Conference.
- RCRC school safety works were recognized and appreciated by ASEAN and School Safety actors in Southeast Asia
- More partnership opportunities were explored through dialogues among SEA NSs participants and their respective government officials from Ministries of Education and/or National Disaster Management Offices and other INGOs.
- Plenary Session
Mr. Jaryll Ong Pang Sng, Malaysian Red Crescent represented “youth group” (requested by the organisers) and presented “Scaling-up School Safety through Youth Leadership” mentioning not only MRC’s school safety work but also existing and potential RCRC added-value on school safety work, with reference to global and regional agenda such as SDGs, ASEAN’s Culture of Prevention, AADMER’s Work Programme 2016-2020.
RCRC youth voice was raised and appreciated as it was only RCRC who brought youth leaders to the Conference while “youth leadership/engagement” was mentioned by some sessions including plenary session by UNISDR.
- Thematic session led by IFRC
IFRC has organised a session together with Thai RC, Dow Group Thailand, Prudence Foundation, Philippine RC and Department of Education Philippines under the theme of Multi-stakeholders’ engagement in School Safety.
Building on the existing good practices (3 different joint works were introduced), moderated by IFRC CCST Bangkok, it was discussed how we can further collaborate to scale-up the reach and impact to make sure no children and youth are left behind. It was emphasised that no single organisation can make a difference alone, and thus this triangular cooperation (governments, civil societies, corporate sector) is a key.
The key message on the importance of scaling-up school safety work through enhanced partnership was strongly emphasized and framed up the discussion on widening collaboration opportunities through concrete examples (Safe Steps campaign, MoU and implementation plan in Philippines) and SEA NSs engagement.
- Partners’ statement
Head of IFRC CCST Bangkok delivered IFRC’s statement on behalf of 11 SEA NSs at the closing session (download full statement here).
Our 4 commitments made are;
- To strengthen and broaden the engagement of children and youth by mobilizing 3.6 million youth members.
- To scale up our contribution for nation-wide impact by engaging with public authorities through result-based and structured partnerships building on existing best practices in the region.
- To institutionalise partnerships around ASSI as an inclusive and long-term platform whereby we bring our results together and demonstrate our collective impact.
- To facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration, with a specific call on the corporate sector, including innovative actors and start-ups, to more significantly engage in school safety as a cost-effective and societal contribution.
- Concept note
- Thematic sessions agenda
- Ignite presentation program
- Exhibition guide
- Consolidated presentations from IFRC-led thematic session
- Final outcome report
More photos from the event are available for download here!
Every year, shocks, disasters and hazards such as earthquakes, floods, pandemics and landslides, lead to thousands of avoidable deaths. Information shared at the right time, in an understandable format, by trusted sources, can be the most effective life-saving tool in such events. Indeed, knowledge is empowerment when it comes to preparing for, mitigating the impact and responding to shocks and hazards. Deciding on a family preparedness plan; pre-identifying evacuation routes in the building and neighbourhood; knowing to turn the electricity-box off in the event of flooding; remembering to check on older persons in a heat wave: these are the sorts of measures that can equip individuals and families to confidently take action and stay safe in the face of disasters.
In a changing climate, with increased risks of extreme weather and disasters, the public will need to have a greater awareness of the risks they face and what they can do to be prepared. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Save the Children have a long history of helping communities build their resilience. Building on the success of the first edition of Public awareness and public education for disaster risk reduction: key messages published in 2013, this second edition Public Awareness and Public Education for Disaster Risk Reduction: Actionoriented key messages for households and schools continues this tradition, providing an updated tool that will support communities to build their knowledge-base and put in place their own measures to stay safe.
This updated publication provides practical advice and guidance on the nature of messages and information to share with the public, for use by all institutions with a responsibility for improving the safety of communities at risk and to mitigate the impact of shocks, hazards and disasters. Governments, nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations and others can all use this guidance for national adaptation and to help prepare households. Active, consistent and clear messaging is vital to create a culture of safety and common understanding.
It contains revised messages that cover additional hazards, and more details on key issues to be considered for effective disaster preparedness, such as climate change, gender and inclusion. There is also greater guidance on child protection, school safety and community engagement. We see it as a significant contribution to our collective work to reduce disaster risks, and ultimately save lives.