DSWD to host ASEAN forum on reinforcing delivery of social services

By Zaldy De Layola

May 16, 2024, 1:36 pm

MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum aimed at strengthening the delivery of social services for disaster risk reduction and climate resilience, in Makati City on May 16-17.

The two-day forum is dubbed “The ASEAN Dialogue to Strengthen the Delivery of Social Services for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Resilience: Expert Review to ASEAN Regional Guidance on the Role of Social Workers and the Wider Social Service Workforce in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Resilience.”

“The activity aims to assist policymakers, decision-makers, and practitioners involved in government planning and disaster management by providing support to understand the crucial role of social workers and the wider social service workforce (SSW) in disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate resilience, and climate change adaptation (CCA),” said DSWD Undersecretary Vilma B. Cabrera, who is also the leader of the Philippine Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD).

Cabrera said the initiative is a collaborative effort of the SOMSWD, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

She said the event would bolster disaster management effectiveness and enhance community resilience against climate-related challenges through the sharing of expertise, experience, and valuable insights of participants that are reflective of the ground realities during emergencies and disasters caused by climate change.

“Through this gathering, steps will be identified to integrate CCA, climate resilience, and DRR into the planning, development, and support for the social service workforce, ensuring their inclusion in national and local DRR-CCA strategies and plans,” Cabrera said.

The activity, she said, would help enhance the Draft Regional Guidance, which is a priority commitment in the 2020 Hanoi Declaration on Strengthening Social Work Towards Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community that was adopted by the ASEAN Leaders in Vietnam during the ASEAN Summit.

Among the participants are the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management, ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Children, Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development, and National Disaster Management Authority and Ministry of Social Welfare of the 10 ASEAN member-states.

Cabrera said the DSWD remains committed to supporting ASEAN Regional Activities, affirming its hope that the conference would serve as a catalyst for strengthening regional solidarity towards the mainstreaming and advancement of social work practice.

“This support from the agency underscores a collective aspiration to elevate the status and effectiveness of social work within the region, fostering greater collaboration and progress in addressing societal challenges and promoting social well-being,” she said.

The 10 ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. (PNA)