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ASEAN Regional Forum Discusses Collective Response to Natural Disasters

April 28, Colombo (LNW): The 22nd ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Meeting on Disaster Relief convened virtually on April 22, 2024, with Vietnam hosting and Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam serving as co-chairs. Attended by 55 participants from ARF member countries, the meeting emphasized the imperative of collective action in addressing the challenges posed by natural disasters.

Sri Lanka, in its role as Co-Chair, underscored the significance of a unified response in tackling the aftermath of natural calamities, drawing upon its own firsthand experiences. Highlighting the ARF’s role in aligning climate change adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk management, Sri Lanka emphasized the crucial aspects of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. Leading the Sri Lankan delegation was Sashikala Premawardhane, Director General of the South East Asia Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accompanied by senior officials from the National Disaster Relief Service Centre of the Ministry of Defence.

Deliberations during the meeting centered on the exchange of best practices and the reinforcement of regional and international coordination in disaster relief endeavors. Furthermore, the session reviewed the progress of the ARF Work Plan for Disaster Relief and proposed an extension of its timeframe to facilitate effective implementation.

As an integral member of the ARF since 2007, Sri Lanka’s active participation underscores its commitment to the forum’s objectives. The ARF serves as a pivotal platform for security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region, fostering constructive engagement and consultation to promote confidence-building measures and preventive diplomacy.

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