ASEAN and SDG 4: Education and Disasters
This summary captures as half day programme of presentation, panel discussions and interactive dialogue at the forum on ASEAN and SDG4: Educations and Disasters, which took place on June 7, 2017 in AETAS Lumpini. The Forum was sponsored by Plan International.
The event brought together some 45 to 50 interested participants from different Foreign Embassies, (I)NGO’s, UN Agencies and independent journalists both based in Thailand and abroad, and the speakerswho joined the event and shared their own insight into some of the major challenges that ASEAN will face in matching the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030. It also provided a valuable networking opportunity and set the stage for further cooperation among (I)Non-Government Organization, UN Agencies and Institutions in Thailand and beyond, including countries at different stages of development.
The forum began with the opening remarks by Gen (ret.) BunchonChawansin, HDFF Chairman, followed by Mr. john McDonough of Plan International as welcome remarks, and continued with the presentations of topics of interest and interactive panel discussions. It concluded with the set of real world cases describing humanitarian assistance and security relevant to the forum theme, specificallythe chances of children to survive from natural disaster, and the vulnerability of adolescent girls during disasters.
Girls in disaster – a Case study from the Philippines.
by Mr Benigno C. Balgos
The featured speaker, Mr. Benigno C. Balgos, Lecturer, Ateneo de Manila, Development Studies Program, Former Advisor on Child Rights Governance, Save the Children Philippines, focused on the vulnerability of children in disasters. This is a significant yet often disregarded issue in the country. Mr. Benigno pointed out that around 20 to 21 typhoons enter the Philippines area of responsibility every year and 5 of those typhoons are distractive. On the other hand, around 20 earthquakes happened every single day. Under the Word Risk Index of 2016, Philippines is the 3rd host hazard prone region in the world.
In national Baseline on Violence against Children, About 94.6 per cent of the children and youth claimed to have suffered from natural and human-induced disasters in the past 2 years. Thirty one (31) percent, were affected by Yolanda.Other than natural event, children are also exposed to an area where armed conflicts exist. Mr. Benigno showed that 2.6 % of the 2,303 respondents aged 13 < 18 years old had been forced to live in another place due to war, ethnic conflicts, organizedcrimes, terrorism or other similar incidents. Among these children who experienced armed conflict, 3.5% lost a parent, sibling or close family member. About 1.6 per cent were personally injured or beaten, while 2 out of 30 (0.7 per cent) admitted that they were combatants or warriors in a war or community violence, or assisted older warriors in their fight against their enemies. “Children are the most vulnerable and worst affected. They are at risk to disease outbreaks and mortalities,food insecurity, disrupted schooling, homelessness, separation from families and worsen hunger andmalnutrition (CWC 2016: 39 – 40)”. Thus, the national government ratified a law called R.A. 10821 capitalizes on ensuring the safety and security of children in conflict and emergencies which contained 8 components.
Mr. Benigno continued his discussions on the core right of the girl children and in the context of emergencies and disasters for girl children, these rights are being violated particularly the issues on health and well being, safety and security and on school dropouts.
In the end, Mr. Benigno concluded that:
- Given that girls are uniquely vulnerable to disasters, there is a take into account and recognize their specific needs.
- Ensure meaningful participation of girl children in developing programs and policies on disaster risk reduction.
- Existing tools being used to assess the impacts of disasters on children should incorporate questions that are specific to girls.
- Further research on the impacts of disaster on girls should be carried out to address the dearth in literature as well as inform programs and policies on disaster risk reduction.