The Asia Foundation and USAID Support Bilateral Cooperation on Disaster Management in China

Washington, DC, June 29, 2015 — On June 22-24, The Asia Foundation’s work in China on disaster management was highlighted as one of the areas for enhancing the bilateral cooperation between the United States and China at the seventh round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi, special representative of President Xi Jinping, chaired the Strategic Track, which included participation from senior officials from across the two governments. The two sides held in-depth discussions on major bilateral, regional, and global issues.

As noted by the United States State Department: “Emergency Management: The United States and China decided to continue and expand their cooperation on emergency management. China Earthquake Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) decided to continue their joint earthquake emergency response exercises to help developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region with capacity building in search and rescue. The joint exercise in 2015 was held in Mongolia in June. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Chinese emergency management agencies sustained cooperation with continued support from the USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and The Asia Foundation. FEMA and the National Earthquake Response Support Service of China Earthquake Administration started collaboration on building community-based disaster management in China. In August 2015, FEMA, with funding from USAID/OFDA, is to deliver an adapted Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training session in Chengdu, China for forty-five (45) representatives from various governmental and non-governmental organizations.”

The Asia Foundation has worked with various Chinese governmental and non-governmental institutions to improve the country’s preparedness for natural disasters since 2006. With support from the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and private donors, including Give2Asia, the Foundation and its national and local partners have launched and implemented a number of multi-year projects around the country, supporting public-private partnership, safe rehabilitation following the devastating Sichuan earthquake, disaster leadership and inter-agency coordination, and community-based disaster management. The joint effort, mentioned at the S&ED, among the Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and National Earthquake Response Support Service of China aim to improve the community-level preparedness in China.

Since 2012, the Foundation’s domestically-focused disaster management programming in China has expanded into the realm of international disaster assistance. With funding from USAID/OFDA and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Foundation and its Chinese partners have organized exchanges between China and other countries on delivery of foreign disaster assistance, as well as facilitating experiences and lessons learning among practitioners. This has laid down solid foundation for China and U.S. to enhance coordination within the international humanitarian architecture, as indicated by the S&ED. With support from USAID/OFDA, the Foundation will soon launch a capacity building program to assist Chinese foundations to play a bigger role in international humanitarian operations.

Read more about the Foundation’s work in China.

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