A-PAD Hosts 10 Year Anniversary Forum
Marking its 10th anniversary, on February 28, A-PAD hosted an international forum in Tokyo, Japan to reflect on the past ten years and plan for the next decade. More than 100 participants from A-PAD’s partner countries including government officials, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the media came to the event. A recording of the forum will be made available.
In October 2012, A-PAD announced its inauguration during the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Indonesia. A-PAD has since expanded its network to six countries and provided disaster relief assistance including the recent earthquake in Turkey. Building on Japan’s public-private disaster response partnership model, A-PAD is sharing lessons learned and building a support network across the region.
A-PAD’s chairman, Dr. Quazi Quamruzzman, gave a welcome speech to thank the participants for joining this special occasion.
Opening remarks were given by the following four distinguished guests:
- – Mr. Ichiro Aisawa, Member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of Diet Caucus to Explore the Strategic Role of NGOs & NPOs
- – Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Former Chief Cabinet Secretary
- – Mr. Taro Kono, Minister of Digital Affairs, Member of the House of Representatives, Secretary General of Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum for Disaster Management
- – Mr. Shunsuke Takei, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Mr. Aisawa, who also serves as chairman of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Parliamentary League and the Japan-Myanmar Parliamentary Friendship League, stated, “In an era when NGOs and NPOs play a leading role in international emergency humanitarian assistance, Japan should be able to act on the same level as Western organizations and the United Nations. I hope that A-PAD, which celebrates its 10th anniversary, will play an active role not only in the field of disaster relief but also in the field of refugee assistance.”
Mr. Shiozaki said, “For many years, I have closely watched and supported the inception and development of A-PAD. The concept of Japan’s first international organization in the Asia-Pacific region was initially surprising to those around me. So far, A-PAD has contributed to international disaster relief and was quick to respond to the recent earthquake in Turkey. I hope that in the future we will make even greater strides such as collaborating with Taiwan.”
Based on his own experience as a former minister in charge of disaster prevention during the Kumamoto earthquake, Mr. Kono remarked, “We had a difficult time figuring out how to communicate accurate information to foreign visitors. Now, Digital Affairs has launched the Disaster Prevention DX Public-Private Co-Creation Council, and has in mind the development of a digital system that transcends the boundaries of national and local governments. We are also considering leveraging the network of the private sector overseas. I hope A-PAD makes further leaps in the next 20, 50, and 100 years using this tenth year as a pivotal point.”
“With funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, A-PAD has implemented a number of programs from disaster assistance to the COVID-19 response. As a hub for disaster relief and an innovative Japanese-born initiative, the results of the past ten years are truly remarkable. NGOs, governments, and companies are working together to address global issues such as disaster assistance and epidemics. I look forward to further success through collaborations among different actors,” said State Minister Takei.
(His attendance was featured in the Ministry website)
The panel discussion, titled “Beyond Disaster Management – To advance the Asia-Pacific through cooperation,” was facilitated by Ms. Kumi Fujisawa, Chairwoman of the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies. The panelists included:
- – Mr. Kazuya Endo, Director-General, Assistant Minister of the International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- – Ms. Junko Chano, Executive Director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- – Mr. Nobuhisa Murao, Professor at Kwansei Gakuin University
- – Mr. Kensuke Onishi, CEO of A-PAD
- – Mr. Firzan Hashim, A-PAD COO (A-PAD Sri Lanka representative)
They discussed how to tackle global issues such as natural disasters, socio-economic disparities, social division, climate change, and infectious diseases through collaborations among various actors.
Ms. Chano reflected, “The reason why the foundation decided to support A-PAD more than ten years ago was witnessing external specialists and knowledgeable local actors working together. I was moved by their determination and expertise to work toward building the future of Asia.”
Mr. Murao looked back to when Japan Platform was established and hoped that “A-PAD is not ‘Beyond Disaster’, but also ‘Beyond Nation’ and ‘Beyond States’. Our voice for peace is one.”
Mr. Endo added, “A-PAD’s cross-sectoral collaboration is very significant and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is paying attention to it. National platforms in each country are strengthening regional ties and accumulating experiences in daily preparedness. A-PAD was one of the first to respond to the recent earthquake in Turkey. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently reviewing the Development Cooperation Charter for ODA (Official Development Assistance). We all have to work together in response to complex crises.”
Mr. Onishi emphasized the need to respond to possible volcanic eruptions in addition to responding to earthquakes and floods. He also said that he would like to put more effort into not only disaster response but also conflict and refugee assistance.
After the panel, video messages sent from each country were introduced, followed by the 10th Anniversary Presentation Ceremony and the Certificate of Appreciation Presentation Ceremony (Please click here for more details on the awardees)
Appreciation Ceremony. Second from right, Ambassador Naoki Ito (Ambassador for Public Diplomacy and Ambassador for Global Health, Ambassador for Mekong Cooperation); Ms. Junko Chano, Executive Director of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation; and Ms. Yoko Sakanoue, Management Strategist.