Dr. Surin Pitsuwan served as the Secretary General of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2008 - 2012. He is currently on the Advisory Board of the UN Human Security Trust Fund; the Advisory Board of the International Crisis Group (ICG); a member of the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York; an International Academic Advisor of the Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University; and an advisor to the Leaders Project, a conference arm of the Cohen Group of former US Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in Washington D.C. In 1986, Dr. Pitsuwan was elected Member of Parliament of Thailand for the first time and has been returned to Parliament eight times since. As an MP, he was appointed Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Chuan Leekpai), Secretary to Deputy Minister of Interior, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs during 1992-1995 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2001. He served as Chair of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and the Chair of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1999-2000. Dr. Pitsuwan was a Deputy Leader of the Democrat Party, Thailand. He also served on the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), charged with bringing peace and security back to Thailand's deep South.
Bangkok, Thailand - Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary-General of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will deliver a lecture on the lessons learned and the country's progress since Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in 2008. The lecture will take place on Saturday 12 October 2013 at 17.00 at the Siam Society in Bangkok, Thailand. The event, organized by Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) is supported by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA-Norway).
The devastating cyclone made landfall in Myanmar on 2 May 2008, sending a storm surge 40 kilometers up the densely populated Irrawaddy Delta, causing catastrophic destruction. Nargis arrived at a critical moment in ASEAN's efforts to build a region unified in the management of disaster risk and emergencies.
While Myanmar bared the brunt of Nargis' destructive force, the lessons for the region were many, particularly regarding the vitality of unified action. Myanmar's authorities ignited disaster risk reduction efforts throughout the country with support from the region and the world. The Government of Myanmar, ASEAN, and UN Agencies established a unique partnership to facilitate disaster recovery with US$349 million secured for the immediate, life-saving humanitarian response.
"The importance of unified action became clearly underlined by the damages caused by the cyclone, but the need for cooperation was also successfully fulfilled. We need more of this kind of action", Dr. Pitsuwan says.
The experience helped gain momentum for wider disaster risk reduction efforts in Myanmar, and was a contributing factor to the ratification of ASEAN's Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response. The cyclone also had lessons learned for Myanmar's development path, as post-Nargis entry points were established to integrate disaster risk reduction into national relief and recovery programs.
"Myanmar continues to improve and integrate disaster risk reduction into its developmental processes with the support from ASEAN. The country is opening up on many fronts and gaining attention worldwide. ASEAN has also made great strides since Nargis to enhance the region's capacity to handle natural disasters", Dr. Pitsuwan states.
As guest lecturer, Dr. Pitsuwan will cover the intersection between disaster risk reduction and development planning from a regional perspective. Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in partnership with The Siam Society will host Dr. Pitsuwan's lecture, followed by a Question and Answer session with scholars and professionals from around the region.
The lecture is held in memorial of ADPC's founding father and humanitarian, Brian Ward (1932 - 2004). Brian Ward is well-known for his contributions to disaster risk management in South and Southeast Asia.
All are welcome to this public event, and participants are invited to a reception immediately following. Media representatives are encouraged to participate.
Schedule of Events:
17:00 Welcome tea/coffee
17:30 Guest Lecture by Dr. Surin Pitsuwan + Questions and Answers
18:30 Reception for all participants
For more information contact:
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)
SM Tower, 24th Floor, 979/69 Paholyothin Road, Samsen Nai
Payathai, Bangkok, 10400 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 22980681