July 8, 2010 — The Asia Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Governance (CAG) today signed a formal agreement to cooperate on the Disaster Leadership Management and Coordination project. In the run-up to the signing ceremony, the Foundation has been working closely with the newly-established National Institute of Emergency Management (NIEM) at CAG on this two-year project that aims to improve NIEM’s capacity in research, training, and advisory support. The project is funded through the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).
Project activities include strategic planning; experience sharing study tours to the United States and Southeast Asia; curriculum development; training programs for senior government officials and operational officials involved in disaster management; carrying out research; and providing policy recommendations.
“China and the United States face many similar challenges in disaster management, and it is important that our two countries learn from each other’s experiences and lessons in managing a wide range of disasters in vast and diverse geographic landscapes. As China and the United States further engage on global governance issues, we also hope that this project could set the stage for enhanced bilateral cooperation on disaster management in the region and the world,” Jonathan Stromseth, China Country Representative for The Asia Foundation, said.
With its vast territory and diverse climatic and geological conditions, China is subject to numerous and varied natural, health and industrial disasters. Major disasters over the past several years have prompted the government to take serious steps to improve its disaster management system. Yet, as the Chinese government also notes, many challenges still need to be addressed in its work to reduce risks and consequences of natural disasters. To help it achieve the goal of improving the effectiveness of emergency management in China, the State Council established NIEM at the Chinese Academy of Governance (formerly the Chinese National School of Administration). Reporting to the State Council and housed within CAG, NIEM is tasked with becoming the country’s leading organization for disaster management training, policy research, and advisory support; and the main platform for international exchanges and cooperation in this field.
“As two big countries in the world, China and the United States both are confronted with complex crisis management tasks. Exchanges between these two nations on crisis management will help China learn from the best practices from the United States and deepen bilateral cooperation in this field,” said Hong Yi, Vice President of CAG.
The Foundation has a longstanding partnership with CAG, having worked with its Law Department on administrative law programs. For the past few years, the Foundation has worked with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA) and local civil affairs bureaus to promote public-private partnership in disaster management. The Foundation also worked on a number of earthquake recovery projects after the Wenchuan earthquake, including a USAID/OFDA-supported project to promote safe rebuilding in rural areas and school disaster risk reduction education. Through Give2Asia, founded by the Foundation to promote philanthropy in Asia, $15.8 million was raised for earthquake relief and recovery efforts.