Regional disaster management is one of the prioritized policies of ASEAN and the bloc has made remarkable progress in coping with disasters in 2010-2012, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said.

The PM made the statement when delivering a speech to open the second Ministerial Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP 2) on the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) in Hanoi on Thursday.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and ministers from the association’s ten member countries attended this event, which aimed to review the results of the first phase of the AADMER and outline plans for its second phase from 2013 to 2015.

In his speech, PM Dung said that AADMER has created a legal foundation for boosting cooperation in preventing and coping with disasters in the region.

In implementing the first phase of the agreement (2010-2012), ASEAN countries have recorded considerable progresses, with various important activities carried out in all four strategic components, including Risk Assessment, Early Warning and Monitoring, Prevention and Mitigation, Preparedness and Response, and Recovery, the PM said.

In the phase, Dung said, ASEAN and its partners have boosted their cooperation in disaster management, with many projects being developed with the support of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the US and the EU.

He suggested that the bloc strengthen the mobilizing of possible resources to effectively implement specific projects and that each member state set up its national development plan based on ASEAN’s agreements and commitments on cooperation in disaster management.

Such a national plan, he said, should give priorities to setting up an early warning system, upgrading disaster prevention and relief efforts, and completing related legal documents.

The PM also reported that Vietnam has designed national strategies for natural disaster prevention and relief up to 2020, while adopting important legal documents in the field. He also said that disasters have cost Vietnam 1.5 percent of its GDP every year during the past ten years.

Vietnam has also participated in regional and international forums on natural disaster management, while implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action on limiting risks caused by disasters.

PM Dung said he believes that ASEAN, with the strong political commitments of the member countries and their joint efforts, will reach its goal of building a bloc with disaster-resilient nations and safer communities.

The conference was wrapped up with the draft of the ASEAN statement on strengthening cooperation and management of natural disasters. The statement will be submitted to the ASEAN Summit to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in October. –Tuoitrenews