【A-PAD Sri Lanka】 International Symposium in Sri Lanka
The Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD SL) hosted its annual international symposium for 2021 on August 12, 2021. Under the theme “Civil-Military Dialogue in Search and Rescue “ the symposium sought to facilitate cooperation and partnership between the public and private sectors in disaster preparedness and disaster management techniques and strategies at the Disaster Management Centre in Colombo.
The Chief Guest of the event was Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Director General of the Disaster Management Centre, while the Guest of Honour was the First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka, Ms. Hoshiai Chiharu.
Guests of honour arriving at the event
“Appreciating the efforts of A-PAD, in harnessing resources and developing skills through partnership with diverse sectors, with the primary purpose of saving more lives in less time under the principle of “leaving no one behind”, I felt the need to encourage an alumni event, bringing together all groups of trained personnel under one roof.” commented Maj. Gen. Ranasinghe with reference to the concept of the symposium.
In his welcome address, Mr. Firzan Hashim, Country Director of A-PAD Sri Lanka reflected on how Japanese experts from A-PAD International shared their knowledge and expertise with the local civil-military participants who received national recognition at the event and emphasized that the support of the Disaster Management Centre paved the way for ongoing multi-sectoral cooperation and civil-military dialogue in humanitarian aid. He also addressed how multi-sectoral expertise, resources and knowledge could be effectively institutionalized and internalized in operations.
Mr. Firzan Hashim, Country Director of A-PAD SL
Following the ceremonial session, a panel discussion took place showcasing the necessity for vigorous engagement among the different sectors in collectively strategizing ahead of impending emergencies. The theme focused on “Civil-Military Dialogue in Humanitarian Response – Multi-Sectoral Engagement amidst Intersecting Disasters”.
Panelists from both sectors emphasized the importance of multi-sectoral cooperation during disasters. Panelists from the media explained the significance of playing a direct support role in disaster relief activities in addition to transmitting the news. Private companies commented that “Build Before Better” is more important than “Build Back Better.”
As the symposium drew to a close, the main objectives of nationally recognizing A-PAD’s civil-military Search & Rescue Team as well as promoting trust as a key factor in establishing multi-sectoral partnerships were met.
The A-PAD team with Maj. General Ranasinghe
A-PAD Sri Lanka is tremendously thankful to the Embassy of Japan for their presence at the event while the platform also extends its warmest gratitude to A-PAD Management Office in Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan, Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka and the Disaster Management Center, Sri Lanka for the constant support and encouragement provided.