Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 August 2016
Southeast Asia includes some of the states at greatest risk of disasters worldwide, and ASEAN has been at the forefront of using international law to attempt to co-operate in disaster risk reduction and response. The ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) is a regional treaty that has been hailed as among the world’s best practice: progressive, comprehensive, and, unusually for a disaster instrument, legally binding. This paper evaluates ASEAN’s responses to two mega-disasters: Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar in May 2008 and Super-typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that hit the Philippines in November 2013. The paper aims further to investigate the role of non-state actors, such as civil society and the private sector, in institutionalizing and implementing AADMER.
Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Faculty of Law; Visiting Fellow, Australian Human Rights Centre, University of New South Wales Law. I acknowledge the excellent research assistance of Adrian Hizo, supported by a Macquarie University Faculty of Arts New Staff Grant in 2014. The research is informed by interviews with international organizations, NGOs, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies conducted in Geneva in 2014, and by speakers at a workshop on International Law and Disasters in the Asia Pacific region organized jointly by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Asia Pacific), Australian Red Cross, UTS and hosted by UNSW Law in Sydney in July 2015. Thanks to Ana Vrdoljak for comments on an earlier version.
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26. UNISDR and the World Bank, “Synthesis Report on Ten ASEAN Countries Disaster Risks Assessment” (December 2010), online: UNISDR <http://www.unisdr.org/files/18872_asean.pdf>.
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34. ASEAN Secretariat, “ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint” (2009), online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/wp-content/uploads/archive/5187-19.pdf> at 11.
35. ASEAN Regional Forum, online: ASEAN <http://aseanregionalforum.asean.org/gallery/arf-ism-on-dr.html>.
36. Partners are Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the US. See AHA Centre, “AADMER Work Programme Phase I: Accomplishment Report”, online: AHA Centre <http://www.ahacentre.org/download-file/default-file_admeer-iREmV3Qp0fnwe4gx.pdf> at 27 [AADMER Accomplishment Report].
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38. Alisa TANG, “After Decade of Disasters, U.N. Shifts Its Asia Operations” Reuters (29 June 2015), online: Reuters <http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/30/us-asia-disaster-un-idUSKCN0PA03220150630#9BfAXEtHkrG6euBZ.97>.
39. Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 20 November 2007 (entered into force 15 December 2008), online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/storage/images/ASEAN_RTK_2014/ASEAN_Charter.pdf> [ASEAN Charter].
40. ASEAN Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management, 9 October 2013, online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/storage/images/pdf/Final_Draft_ASEAN_Declaration_on_Disaster_Management_-_23rd_ASEAN_Summit.pdf> at para. 7.
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42. Collins, supra note 19 at 132.
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44. Agreement on the ASEAN Food Security Reserve, 4 October 1979, online: ASEAN <http://agreement.asean.org/media/download/20140422150508.pdf>.
45. ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, adopted June 2002 (entered into force November 2003), online: ASEAN <http://haze.asean.org/?wpfb_dl=32>.
46. ASEAN Declaration on Mutual Assistance on Natural Disasters, 26 June 1976, online: AHA Centre <http://www.ahacentre.org/download-file/default-file_admeer-pOhDYAT20GEH11dy.pdf>.
47. ASEAN Vision 2025, supra note 24; Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25 at 3.
48. ASEAN Vision 2025, supra note 24 at para. 5.
49. For terms of reference, see Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25, annex 4.
50. ASEAN Secretariat, “ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM)”, online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/asean-socio-cultural/asean-ministerial-meeting-on-disaster-management-ammdm/>.
51. On the role of the Executive Secretary, see ASEAN Charter, supra note 39, art 11.2.b; for terms of reference of the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, see Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25, annex 6.
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53. Declaration on Action to Strengthen Emergency Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Prevention on the Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster of 26 December 2004, 6 January 2005, online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/?static_post=declaration-on-action-to-strengthen-emergency-relief-rehabilitation-reconstruction-and-prevention-on-the-aftermath-of-earthquake-and-tsunami-disaster-of-26-december-2004>.
54. Jayasuriya and McCawley, supra note 2, chapter 6.
55. AADMER, art. 2.
57. Ibid., preamble.
58. Ibid., art. 3(1).
59. Ibid., art. 3(1) and (2). See also the ILC, Report on the Work of the Sixty-third Session (2011), chapter IX, Protection of persons in the event of disasters, draft article 11 and commentary at para. 2, ftn 619.
60. AADMER, art. 3(3).
61. For a list of selected Asian state practice (e.g. Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, the Philippines, and Cambodia), see Rebecca BARBER, “Localising the Humanitarian Toolkit: Lessons from Recent Philippines Disasters” (August 2013), online: Save the Children (Australia) <https://www.savethechildren.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/6558/Localising_the_Humanitarian_Toolkit_-_SC_Report_Aug_2013.pdf> at 4.
62. AADMER, art. 11(2).
63. Barber, supra note 61 at 17.
64. Guiding Principles Annexed to GA Res 46/182 (1991) on Strengthening of the Coordination of the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance of the United Nations, UN Doc. A/RES/46/182 (1991), para. 3.
65. In the context of the 2011 floods, see BARBER, Rebecca, “Responding to Emergencies in Southeast Asia: Can we do Better?” (September 2012), online: Save the Children (Australia) <https://www.savethechildren.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/6561/SC_report._Review_of_2011_southeast_Asia_floods.pdf> at 22 +at+22>Google Scholar.
66. Ibid., at 15.
67. AADMER, art. 3(4) and (5).
68. Ibid., art. 3(6).
69. Ibid., art. 4(1).
70. Ibid., art. 4(b)(c)(d).
71. Ibid., art. 5.
72. Ibid., art. 6.
73. Ibid., art. 8.
74. Ibid., art. 7: obligations subject to qualification “as appropriate”.
75. Ibid., art. 10.
76. Ibid., art. 11(2).
77. Ibid., art. 1(12) and (13).
78. Ibid., art. 1(1).
79. Ibid., art. 11(4) and (5).
80. Decision on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, supra note 11, preamble and para. 1.
81. AADMER, art. 12.
82. Ibid., art. 12(3).
83. Ibid., art. 12(4).
84. UNOCHA, “Guidelines on the Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief (Oslo Guidelines)” (November 2007), online: UNOCHA <https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/Documents/Oslo%20Guidelines%20ENGLISH%20(November%202007).pdf>.
85. APC-MADRO, “Asia-Pacific Regional Guidelines for the Use of Foreign Military Assets in Natural Disaster Response Operations” (14 January 2014), online: UNOCHA <https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/Documents/Guidelines-APC%20MADRO-%20Final.pdf>.
87. For example, AADMER, arts. 15(1) and 12(2) refer to military personnel being permitted to wear uniform, and the prohibition on carrying arms, respectively.
88. Ibid., art. 12(1).
89. Ibid., arts. 13 and 14.
90. See for example, the Model Agreement Covering the Status of National Elements of the EADRU on Mission on the Territory of a Stricken Nation, in annex 4 of the Standing Operating Procedures for the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Unit (EADRU), online: NATO <http://www.nato.int/eadrcc/sop/sop.htm>.
91. See further US Department of Defense Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, ASEAN Disaster Management Reference Handbook 2015, online: CFE-DMHA <https://www.cfe-dmha.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=3ZJKfisgWnk%3d&portalid=0> at 33–43, 61–5.
92. AADMER, art. 20(1).
93. Ibid., annex.
95. Petz, supra note 26 at 13.
97. Ibid., at 29.
98. Humanitarian Futures Programme, “ECOWAS-ASEAN Exchange”, online: Humanitarian Futures Programme <http://www.humanitarianfutures.org/forewarn/ecowas-asean-exchange/>.
99. AADMER, art. 24.
100. AADMER Accomplishment Report, supra note 35 at 28–9.
101. AADMER, art. 24.
102. AADMER Accomplishment Report, supra note 35 at 5–6.
103. Ibid., at 12.
104. For more on the Japan-US-Philippines Civil-Military Disaster Preparedness Initiative, see EHRENFELD, Jon and AANENSON, Charles, Frameworks and Partnerships: Improving HA/DR in the Asia Pacific (Seattle, WA: Peace Winds America, 2015)Google Scholar.
105. ASEAN Charter, art. 1(13).
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108. Carreon, supra note 106.
109. AADMER Evaluation Report 2013, supra note 18 at 15.
110. AADMER Accomplishment Report, supra note 35.
111. Ibid., at 23.
113. AADMER Evaluation Report 2013, supra note 18 at 12.
114. Ibid., at 8.
116. Petz, supra note 27 at 27.
117. See Alex ROBINSON, “Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: Reflecting on Haiyan”; HelpAge, “Older People Disproportionately Affected by Typhoon Haiyan”; Save the Children, Plan, UNICEF, and World Vision, “After Yolanda: What Children Think, Need and Recommend”, online: AADMER Partnership Group <http://www.aadmerpartnership.org/>.
118. Barber, supra note 65.
119. Collins, supra note 19 at 150.
120. Barber, supra note 66 at 19; ASEAN Secretariat, “Weathering the Perfect Storm: Lessons Learnt on the ASEAN’s Response to the Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan” (2014), online: ASEAN <http://www.rcrc-resilience-southeastasia.org/document/weathering-the-perfect-storm/> at 7 [The Perfect Storm].
121. ASEAN Vision 2025, supra note 24 at para. 19.
122. AADMER Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25 at 46.
123. ASEAN Vision 2025, supra note 24 at para. 43.
124. Declaration on Institutionalising the Resilience of ASEAN and its Communities and Peoples to Disasters and Climate Change, 27 April 2015, online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/declaration-on-institutionalising-the-resilience-of-asean-and-its-communities-and-peoples-to-disasters-and-climate-change/> at para. 5.
125. ASEAN Secretariat, “A Humanitarian Call: The ASEAN Response to Cyclone Nargis” (18 July 2010), online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/storage/images/2012/publications/A%20Humanitarian%20Call%20The%20ASEAN%20Response%20to%20Cyclone%20Nargis.pdf> at 9 [A Humanitarian Call].
126. Tripartite Core Group, “Post Nargis Joint Assessment Report”, July 2008, online: Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction <https://www.gfdrr.org/sites/default/files/GFDRR_Myanmar_Post-Nargis_Joint_Assessment_2008_EN.pdf>.
127. ASEAN Secretariat, “Compassion in Action: The Story of the ASEAN-led Coordination in Myanmar” (1 August 2010), online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/?static_post=compassion-in-action-the-story-of-the-asean-led-coordination-in-myanmar-2> [Compassion in Action].
128. See now the National Disaster Management Law, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 21, 31 July 2013, online: <http://www.themimu.info/sites/themimu.info/files/documents/Natural_Disaster_Management_Law_2013_ENG.pdf>.
129. A Humanitarian Call, supra note 125 at 14.
130. Collins, supra note 19 at 139.
131. A Humanitarian Call, supra note 125 at 14.
132. “Myanmar to Allow Copters to Deliver Aid, U.N. Says” Associated Press (21 May 2008), online: New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/21/world/asia/21myanmar.html?_r=0>.
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134. MACKINNON, Ian and BORGER, Julian, “Burmese Junta Allows Neighbours to Provide Cyclone Aid” The Guardian (20 May 2008), online: The Guardian <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/may/20/burma.cyclonenargis>>Google Scholar.
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136. A Humanitarian Call, supra note 125 at 14.
137. It was assisted on the ground by representatives of the World Food Programme, UNOCHA, and the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team. See Compassion in Action, supra note 127 at 34–5.
138. ASEAN Secretariat, “ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team Mission Report, 9–18 May 2008: Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar”, online: ASEAN <http://www.asean.org/uploads/archive/21558.pdf> at para. 2.
139. Ibid., para. 1.
140. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 23 May 1969, 1155 U.N.T.S. 331 (entered into force 27 January 1980), art. 18(b).
141. Surin Pitsuwan, cited in Compassion in Action, supra note 127 at 38.
143. The Tripartite Core Group was assisted by an Advisory Group comprising representatives from China, India, Bangladesh, the UN, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and NGOs. Donors Australia, Norway, and the UK joined later: Compassion in Action, supra note 127 at 41.
144. See further Compassion in Action, supra note 127 at 33.
145. “Myanmar Agrees to Accept ASEAN Cyclone Aid” CNN (19 May 2008), online: CNN <http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/05/19/myanmar.aid/index.html>.
146. Compassion in Action, supra note 127 at 29.
147. “Burmese Storm Toll ‘Tops 10,000’” BBC News (6 May 2008), online: BBC News <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7384041.stm>; Aid Data, “China Provides $10 million for Cyclone Nargis Emergency Response”, online: Aid Data <http://china.aiddata.org/projects/34291>.
148. Compassion in Action, supra note 127.
149. Matthew WEAVER, “Cyclone Nargis: The Relief Effort in Burma” The Guardian (7 May 2008), online: The Guardian <http://www.theguardian.com/news/blog/2008/may/07/cyclonenargisinburmathere>.
150. “Burma Continues to Reject Help” BBC News (13 May 2008), online: BBC News <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7397617.stm>.
151. “France Angered by Burmese Delays” BBC News (17 May 2008), online: BBC News <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7405998.stm>; Seth MYDANS, “Myanmar Faces Pressure to Allow Major Aid Effort” New York Times (8 May 2008), online: New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/world/asia/08myanmar.html?_r=0>.
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154. CHACHAVALPONGPUN, Pavin and THUZAR, Moe, Myanmar: Life after Nargis (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009) at 74 Google Scholar.
155. There are similarities with the 2015 earthquake in Nepal being regarded as potentially rescuing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation from irrelevance: Chanakya, “SAARC’s Resurrection May Lie in Nepal’s Tragedy” Hindustan Times (2 May 2015), online: Hindustan Times < http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/saarc-s-resurrection-may-lie-in-the-nepal-tragedy/story-gnp6iej51Ob0AfxE17VPtL.html>.
156. Collins, supra note 19.
157. Ibid., at 144.
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160. BROWER, Ralph S., MAGNO, Francisco A., and DILLING, Janet, “Evolving and Implementing a New Disaster Management Paradigm: The Case of the Philippines” in Naim KAPUCU and Kuotsai Tom LIOU, eds., Disaster and Development: Examining Global Issues and Cases (Cham: Springer, 2014), 289 at 292 Google Scholar.
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170. Ibid., at 290.
171. Ibid., at 297.
172. HOFMANN, Charles-Antoine, FISHER, David, SCHMIDT, Mel, and NOGRA, Joseph, “Learning Review of the Cooperation Between the Government of the Philippines and Humanitarian Actors in Their Response to Typhoon Yolanda” (18 June 2014), online: DRD Initiative <http://www.drdinitiative.org/v2/files/armadillo/media/DRDlearningreviewFINAL5Aug.pdf> at 18 +at+18>Google Scholar.
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176. Brower et al., supra note 160 at 302–5.
177. The Perfect Storm, supra note 120 at 27–9, 5.
178. AHA Centre, Annual Report 2013, online: AHA Centre <http://www.rcrc-resilience-southeastasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/AHA-Centre-Annual-Report-2013.pdf> at 28.
179. UNOCHA, “Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan—Situation Report No 27” (26 December 2013), online: UNOCHA <https://www.unhcr.org.hk/files/2014%20Emergency/Phillippines/jan%208/OCHAPhilippinesTyphoonHaiyanSitrepNo27.27December2013.pdf> at 2.
180. The Perfect Storm, supra note 120 at 52.
181. Ibid., at 42.
182. Lessons of Haiyan, supra note 163 at iv.
183. Hofmann et al., supra note 172 at 16.
184. Lessons of Haiyan, supra note 163 at iii.
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186. This compares with NGOs that sent twenty to fifty staff each, and UNOCHA that deployed 150–170 staff at a time: The Perfect Storm, supra note 120 at 35–6.
187. Ibid., at 5, 38.
188. Ibid., at 62, 19.
189. Ibid., at 64, 10.
190. AADMER Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25 at 73.
191. ZYCK, Steven A., FAN, Lilianne, and PRICE, Clare, “ASEAN and Humanitarian Action: Progress and Potential—Jakarta Expert Roundtable” (2014), online: Humanitarian Policy Group and Center for Strategic and International Studies <http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/events-documents/5081.pdf> at 3 +at+3>Google Scholar.
192. AADMER Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25 at 108.
193. The Perfect Storm, supra note 120 at 12.
194. AADMER Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25 at 61.
195. The Perfect Storm, supra note 120 at 11.
196. AADMER Work Programme 2016–2020, supra note 25 at 62.
197. Adelina Kamal, who led the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team, cited in Compassion in Action, supra note 127 at 29.
198. Fan and Krebs, supra note 31 at 13.
199. I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for this point.
200. ASEAN Vision 2025, supra note 24 at para. 40.
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