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The 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM) on Thursday adopted the Ha Long Declaration in Early Action in ASEAN Disaster Management in the eponymous city in northern Vietnam.

The event in the city of Quang Ninh Province gathered eight ministers, four deputy ministers, and over 140 other delegates who are leaders and officials of disaster prevention and control agencies of 10 ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), development partners of the group (China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan), and some international organizations in the region. Timor-Leste attended the meeting as an observer.

In his opening remarks, Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan stressed that despite being a dynamic and developing region in the world, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) still has to confront various challenges due to climate change and natural disasters.

Over the years, catastrophic events like tsunamis, super typhoons, floods, and severe earthquakes have claimed the lives of many people in the ASEAN countries, erasing hard-fought achievements and slowing down the development of numerous areas.

He underlined joint efforts made by the ASEAN member countries in establishing and implementing cooperative mechanisms with visionary directions progressively strengthened and developed, in order to address the above-mentioned challenges.

Accordingly, intra-bloc information sharing has been enhanced, while all-level connectivity channels have been set up.

The ASEAN member nations have worked closely on cooperative programs related to training and popularizing advanced approaches. They also have committed to signing agreements to better respond to disasters through effective and close supportive mechanisms, such as the AHA Center, the comprehensive program for implementing the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), cooperation mechanisms with key partners with the goal of "One ASEAN, One Response," and the AADMER Fund.

With a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation, and development, multilateralization and diversification of foreign relations; and being a good friend, a trust partner, and a responsible member of the international community, Vietnam has been and will continue to fully commit to making every effort to actively join other ASEAN countries in building and effectively implementing joint cooperation mechanisms on disaster management, Hoan stressed.

The minister expressed his belief that with a spirit of unity, strengthened strategic trust, and cooperation based on equality, mutual respect and benefit, the ASEAN member countries can collectively enhance their strength, overcome challenges related to climate change and natural disasters, and safeguard the hard-fought achievements over the years, towards promoting prosperous development and safety within ASEAN.