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APEC Programme in Rejuvenating Cities and Resilience Capacities for Multi Challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic, Extreme Weather Events and Climate Induced Disaster (REJUVENATE-CITIES-C19)

APEC Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) I APEC Support Fund Human Security
Co-sponsoring economies: China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Korea & Chile
Project Period: June 2021 – June 2022

COVID-19 pandemic has impacted 188 economies, with more than 176 million infected people especially in the vulnerable cities. The impacts of disasters and COVID-19 will have a far more adverse effect on groups for both epidemiological and socio-economic. This project aims to catalyze a policy-oriented dialogues and action on dual-challenges of pandemic, extreme weather events and climate-induced disasters towards increasing evidence informed decision-making at all levels of public policy and discourse. Remarkably, 60% of the area to be urbanized by 2030 has yet to be built. Therefore, strengthening urban resilience is the key to achieve risk-informed sustainable development. A transdisciplinary approach is promoted to integrate public-health and disaster risk reduction (DRR) to prevent future pandemic risk and strengthen societal resilience in an extreme climate. Scientific exploration, expert consultation and Webinar will be conducted, enabling fact-finding, peer-to-peer learning, regional networking, building knowledge-hub and promoting local-level action for long-term impact of DRR interventions.

Contact person:-
Dr. Khamarrul Azahari Razak,
Director, Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Center (DPPC)
Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT)
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Tel: +603 22031585; +6019 3649495; E-mail: khamarrul.kl@utm.my


Relevance – Benefits to region
The Asia-Pacific region has some of the world’s most extensive transboundary disaster risk hotspots. According to UNESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019, disasters are five times more likely to affect a person in the region than a person living elsewhere. The report also projects that if disaster risks are unmitigated, 119 million people in the region will be left behind in absolute poverty by 2030. In the UNESCAP’s Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2020 mentioned the urgent action is needed to protect the environment, reduce the risk of natural hazard, and take climate action. Therefore, this project is timely to build the local capacity of APEC member economies in managing dual-challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather events, and climate-induced disasters, and supporting the building economy back better by the urban resilient culture. This programme supports the Making Cities Resilient campaign, coordinated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, promotes disaster resilience building in cities through raising awareness among local governments and providing tools, technical assistance, city-to-city support networks and learning opportunities. The Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities was developed following the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 pandemic has driven the production of the addendum on Public Health System Resilience of the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities as promulgated by UNDRR with the support of World Health Organizations and partners, with aims to strengthen coverage of public health issues and disaster impacts, as promoted in the WHO’s Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Framework.

Relevance – Eligibility
This project is designed to support the mandate of EPWG particularly to build capacity of APEC member economies for better mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from extreme weather event and disaster risk. It also enhances intra-APEC cooperation by fostering research and collaboration, sharing knowledge, lesson learnt and best practices of calamities to better protect business, trade and economic growth and communities. This project supports the funding priorities under the Sub Fund on Human Security covering the emergency preparedness, with the responsible APEC forum on SOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE). It is an important step to invest into the economic dimensions of human security, emphasizing threats may potentially undermine APEC’s efforts to raise living standards, reduce poverty, and disrupt the business and trade in the Asia-Pacific regions.

Relevance – Capacity Building
Science, technology, and innovation (STI) policy has played a significant role in the economic transformation, social innovation, and a critical means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and supports the APEC vision in 2040. The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every aspect of our societies, revealing the extent of exclusion that the most marginalized members of society experience. Even worst in the densely populated cities, and vulnerable to various types of climate change impact and extreme weather events. More than 55% of the world’s population is living in urban areas and this proportion is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. Remarkably, 60% of the area to be urbanized by 2030 has yet to be built. An integrated health response is required to suppress virus transmission and tackles socioeconomic dimension. It is, above all, a call to focus on the people, particularly capacity of our decision makers and community leaders. The UN Disaster Resilience Cities Scorecard for 214 cities from Asia (88), Americas (50), Sub-Saharan Africa (50), and Arab States (26), the results show resilient urban development is the area of highest progress, whereas financial capacity for resilience is the area that needs the most improvement. Remarkably, global assessment indicates the data sharing among relevant institutions, availability of training courses covering disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience issues for all sectors, and access to skills and experience related to DRR is relatively low.

This project builds the capacity of policy makers, disaster managers, and city planners to manage multi-challenges of pandemic and climate induced disasters in the cities. This project is very timely to support the Making Cities Resilient (MCR) global campaign, enhancing the capability of key-stakeholders and local actors to reduce large-scale pandemic risk, and promoting risk-informed sustainable development in a changing environment. Policy dialogues, expert consultation, workshop and technical visits are co-designed in the support of APEC Disaster Risk Reduction Framework Action Plan, and APEC Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center (EPCC) in strengthening innovation and capacity building for emergency preparedness related to biological hazards (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic), extreme events and climate-induced disasters, e.g. typhoon, floods, and landslides in the vulnerable cities, with different levels of resilient capacities, infrastructures, political will, and financial resources.

This project aims to build the regional and local capacity by reinforcing risk-informed decision making for action and realigning domestic DRR and resilience strategies for societal transformation in the cities. It revitalizes health-emergency disaster-risk-management (Health- EDRM) to prevent future pandemic risk in an extreme climate. Open science, citizen science, and ICT-based innovative solution are the highlight. It strengthens multi-sectoral coordination, communication and information-sharing ranging from preparedness, response, and inclusive-recovery plan to emerging technologies and humanitarian coordination. This project promotes a transdisciplinary approach and sociotechnical system to create the collaborative foresight and decision-making virtual workspace enabled by disaster informatics towards upscaling our positive impact to a larger digital society of APEC member economies.

Alignment – APEC
This project is aligned to the EPWG 2017-2020 Strategic Plan and APEC DRR Framework particularly the need of risk-informed and adaptive disaster cities in APEC economies. Current EPWG work plan also addresses the emerging risk in the urbanization and mega-city agglomeration. This project promotes risk-informed decisions and economics of DRR, which are in-line with the 2020’s Malaysia theme on optimizing human potential towards a future of shared prosperity emphasizing the investment improvement, inclusive economic participation through digital economy and technology, as well as innovative sustainability. This project is timely to support EPWG in implementing the task as mandated by the 2017 AELM Declaration paragraph 27 and 2017 AMM Statement paragraph 42 especially with regards to strengthening cooperation by multi-stakeholder participants and capacity building as listed in APEC Disaster Risk Reduction Framework Action Plan, enhancing resilience to disasters, and investing in DRR and post disaster recovery. Also, it aligns with TEL WG priorities on emerging challenges, e.g., DRR, social responsibility to foster resilient economies.

Alignment – Forum
This project promotes consensus-building and concerted individual action, as set by EPWG to enhance resilient capacities for APEC member economies. It puts forth a strong commitment on technical cooperation and support for the multilateral system via policy dialogues and collective promotion of best practice, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, and its dual challenges due to extreme weather events and climate-induced disaster in APEC economies. This project is supported and aligned to the APEC Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan, with aims to facilitate collective work in building disaster-resilient economies supporting inclusive and sustainable development in the face of the new normal. The APEC DRR Action will be coordinated by the Emergency Preparedness Working Group in order to operationalize the APEC DRR Framework, with the goals to be “Adaptive and Disaster-Resilient Asia-Pacific Economies Supporting Inclusive and Sustainable Development”. The coordination involves the development of the Action Plan and be mechanism that will encourage individual economies to develop specific, measurable, and timed contributions for the attainment of the Action Plan’s overall objectives. This integrated project also aligns to the recommendations given by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council on the vision for APEC 2040 particularly on the robust dialogues, virtual stakeholder engagement, technological demonstration session and effective cooperation by all segments of society to promote sustainability in the Asia-Pacific.



Output 1: Webinar
Webinar (APEC-EPWG-REJUVENATE CITIES) will be held in conjunction with International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2021 on 13 October 2021. In this Webinar, a series of international experts in the field of public-health and disaster risk reduction (e.g. APEC-EPWG, International Science Council Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ISC-ROAP), Asian Civil Engineering Coordinating Council (ACECC) TC21 Transdisciplinary Approach for Building Societal Resilience to Disasters, Science and Technology Expert Advisory Group (STAG) for Disaster Risk Reduction or Global Young Academy (GYA), and Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN)-MERCY Malaysia) will be invited to exchange views, share best practices, technological solutions/tools for risk sensitive urban development and climate action to explore policy recommendation and interventions for mitigating and adapting from extreme weather events, climate-induced disaster and COVID-19 pandemic.

Output 2: Policy Brief
The Policy Brief addresses the pursuit of coherence across the public health system and disaster resilience strategies in the APEC economies and presents key action points to strengthening many aspects of public health related to disaster planning, mitigation, response, and disaster risk management. It is a concise summary of the science-policy-practice nexus that can help policymakers understand and make better decisions on government policies related to extreme weather events, climate induced disaster and COVID-19 pandemic preparedness, response & recovery in the vulnerable cities.

Output 3: Knowledge Note (Final Report)
The Knowledge Note on APEC’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Capacities is treated here as a final report in APEC publication, which will be produced as a result of the research, study and survey work. Knowledge Note addressed the multi challenges on Extreme Weather Events, Climate induced Disaster and COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness, Response & Recovery in the Vulnerable Cities. It utilizes the input from APEC assessment and survey on the UNDRR disaster resilience cities assessment in addendum to WHO public health system. Rapid assessment and survey will be carried out based on the guidelines provided by UNDRR Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities (an addendum on the Public Health System Resilience) and Words into Action Guideline by UNDRR of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The Addendum is a tool to facilitate multi-sectoral approach to integrating public health issues in DRR and resilience planning at the local level. Purposes are to assess the DRR and resilience capacity of APEC member economies with regards to public health system capacity, infrastructure, and healthcare outcomes, exchange good practices and lesson learned, and explore best solutions. A knowledge note will be produced as APEC publication, up to 100 pages with targeted audiences, e.g. policymakers, disaster managers, public health practitioners, and civil society organizations.


1. An integrated health and disaster resilience system is enhanced and realigned to the international disaster resilience cities and public health system.
This comprehensive study led to the development of the health and disaster resilience system based on the international guideline and requirement set by UNDRR and WHO. This system enhances the current practices and common modus operandi implemented by APEC economies. It also led to reformulation of Health and Disaster Resilience System Scorecard to assess and fabricate policy intervention. It is aligned to support the critical success factor as stated in the Mission Statement in the EPWG Strategic Planning 2017-2020, and APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040.

2. APEC’s DRR Resilience Strategy for APEC economies are re-assessed to support the Decade of Action and achieve the disaster resilience and risk informed sustainable development.
To support a 10-years road map or known as the Decade of Action towards 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, this project ventures the new policy recommendation to critically review, re-strategize and reformulate DRR Resilience Strategy by APEC economies particularly dealing with the development of disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies in-line with COVID-19 recovery. Substantial improvement is expected into multi-coordinated response and rapid recovery, assisted by technological advancement for COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges resulted from climate change and extreme weather events. A multi-hazard approach will be introduced with some best practices and lesson learned from other APEC member economies particularly the one in the cities. Technology solution based on modern and advanced geospatial technology and GIS system for enhancing the risk sensitive urban development to support COVID-19 recovery/ Build Economy Back Better. A transdisciplinary approach for building societal resilience concept based on multi-stakeholder and complexity of risk governance and decision-making process will be collaboratively explored. This project also reports all science-policy approaches and technical results for enhancing APEC Disaster Risk Reduction Framework, which aims to contribute to the disaster-resilient Asia-Pacific economies that can support inclusive and sustainable development.

Selection criteria for participants will be based on several APEC economies both developed and developing that (most and least) suffered due to COVID-19 pandemic, while also directly affected by the extreme weather events and climate-induced disaster. Also, number of local governments in the APEC economies, from 4,326 cities that participating in the Making Cities Resilient (MCR) Global Campaign will be purposively selected and considered particularly the one involved in the 2017-2018 with the Disaster Resilient Scorecard assessment (214 cities). The invitation and selection will be made through a stringent and transparency process supported by APEC Secretariat, responsible APEC Fora, and focal points of disaster management in APEC economies. The participants will be invited into two levels of engagements: 1) scientific exploration and consultation, and 2) Webinar, with gender balances strongly promoted. Few participating economies (not limited too) are the National Disaster Management Agency & Federal Department of Town and Country Planning (Malaysia), Fire and Disaster Agency & Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism & Bureau of Urban Development Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Japan), National Emergency Management Agency & Office of Urban Planning, Seoul Metropolitan Government (Republic of Korea), Ministry of Emergency Management China & Beijing Municipality of City Planning (People’s Republic of China), and Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior & Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning (Chile). The positions of the target participants are the disaster managers, emergency managers, urban planners, city planning officers and local senior government officers – from the disaster management related agencies or authorities and also from the national or city level urban planning related government agencies, and also professional bodies, civil society organizations, and private sectors, with at least 5 years experiences in aforementioned fields. The participants will be assisted to interact and communicate with the policymakers, experts, scientists, and professionals through digital platform created for the event. The larger group of participants from APEC member economics will also benefit from the recorded videos, discussion points and consensus, which will be disseminated as knowledge notes and policy briefs.

The knowledge Note and the Policy Brief will be submitted as APEC Publications. The dissemination of the results and/or outputs of the project will be through the online platform such as APEC website, and other international database and repositories, upon the first publication by APEC. Digital or electronic publication is preferred with limited printed version. The target audiences are the policymakers, decision-makers, and disaster managers at federal, state, municipality, district, and local level, including the private entities, industrial players, non-government agencies, civil society organizations, professionals, practitioners, and interested parties. The APEC-funded project, its deliverables and cascading impacts will be shared with the public during the UNDRR International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2021, which celebrated on 13 October every year. No intention is given to sell outputs.

This project is strongly promoted gender balance including the invited participants, speakers, and project implementers in Malaysia. The proper record will be implemented to ensure each development measure has a certain steering structure, including resource management (personnel, funds, time, knowledge, and expertise), strategy, decision-making, planning, coordination, conflict and risk management, supervision, and results-based monitoring. Activity and resource scheduling can be engendered by examining how priorities, time and budget allocation will influence the existing unequal gender relations. This can be done with a gender budget analysis of the input schedules and budget of the project. Gender performance indicators and gender-disaggregated data are important to ensure gender responsive accountability mechanisms in the project design. Two goals of the female participants as attendees and as speakers/experts in the event are highlighted. This project has identified three important pillars related to this project, namely as Pillar 3: Skills, capacity building and health, Pillar 4: Leadership, voice, and agency, and Pillar 5: Innovation and Technology to be carefully addressed in the women’s economic empowerment as stated in Appendix G of the Guidebook on APEC projects.



Risks Mitigation measures
1. Insufficient time to complete all deliverable The current outputs are achievable and manageable. This project will conduct a monthly progress meeting internally to report the progress and monitor the performance and achievements. An appointment of program technical assistant, project assistance, and program assistant will make sure all project activities will be executed within the time frame agreed and achieved the outputs as scheduled in the work plan.
2. Limited movement due to COVID-19 All events will be conducted online using common virtual meeting tools
3. Low participation in the online related events Early engagement with economies, right nominations and selection of participants, and the use of interactive online modern tools.
4. Difficulty inmonitoring project implementation A number of deliverables is reduced than original plans. With current proper work plan and stringent monitoring schemes, the deliverable can be done timely.
5. Reluctant to apply the knowledge learned and recommendations This project allows the continuous engagement and contact after the Webinar. Any questions and raising issues to be will be virtually discussed in many digital platforms.
6. Contractor delays A track-record of the proposed Contractor will be strictly reviewed and evaluated. Upon the appointment of the Contractor, a series of engagement, meeting, and discussion will be held to making sure all work scopes, expectations, and possible deliverables can be achieved. Continuous monitoring of progress and deliverables would guide and monitor the contractor’s performance.


This project will coordinate with the Smart City proposal as well as economic recovery and resilience. It also collaborates with the TEL WG with respect to ICT utilization. The direct engagement can be done through the implementation of policy dialogue, workshop and technical visit for selected APEC member economies. Other APEC and non-APEC stakeholders can be engaged relatively via our Webinar series, knowledge hub, cities to-cities resilience program, and publication (policy brief, knowledge note, and awareness-sharing brochure). Moreover, in conjunction to the existing APEC urbanization cooperation under the background of the pandemic to further enhance the resilience capabilities. This project also promotes application and dissemination of technologies to address COVID-19 pandemic risk and multi-challenges derived by extreme weather events and climate induced disaster risk. This project directly supports APEC EPCC, as well as other APEC cross-fora cooperation such as APEC Health Working Group, APEC Climate Center, and APEC SME Crisis Management Center.


The UN-supported data projected nearly 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban by 2050. Cities, therefore, have huge responsibilities in ensuring the health, safety and well-being of its growing number of residents. Subsequently, strengthening urban resilience is the key to sustainable development, enhanced resilient system in health, infrastructure, governance and services. To date, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted 188 economies, with more than 176 million infected people. In the face of such an unprecedented situation, the creativity of our action must match the unique nature of the crisis. No economies will be able to exit this crisis alone. Therefore, this project aims at enhancing the capacity of local governments for reducing multi-challenges in the vulnerable cities especially in APEC member economies. This project allows peer-to-peer learning and multi-tier networking, as supported by multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary approach. It reinforces risk-informed decision making for action and realigns local DRR and resilience strategies for societal transformation. This project mobilizes scientific research and social innovation for strengthening the interface between science and society and delivering evidence-based policy actions for managing systemic health risk. Open science, citizen science, and ICT-based innovative solution for knowledge sharing will be co-developed.

The UN stated a large-scale, coordinated, and comprehensive multilateral response amounting to at least 10 percent of global GDP is needed for the world to recover from COVID-19, including USD6.7 billion for humanitarian assistance in conflict-affected and fragile economies. Therefore, this proposal calls to build local capacity of decision-makers and humanitarian actors to response effectively, and build-back-better and faster across all sectors. This project supports a global call to rearticulating human development for the 21st century, to advance pandemic risk for better response and rapid recovery. A knowledge-hub, multi-sectoral platform, young empowerment, and community-led initiatives made this project replicable and scalable. A policy of STI-driven pandemic risk reduction charts the future path of technology champions, international and collaborative partnership, and STI integrated transdisciplinary business model. This project addresses multi-dimensional needs for rebuilding lives, livelihoods, socio-economic and communities in adaptation for resilience. It promotes coherence of global frameworks into policy and practice towards accelerating the achievement of the SDGs.

A multi-sectoral platform, young empowerment, and community led initiatives made this project replicable and scalable. A policy of STI-driven pandemic risk reduction charts the future path oftechnology champions, international and collaborative partnership, and STI integrated transdisciplinary business model. This project addresses multi-dimensional needs for rebuilding lives, livelihoods, socio-economic and communities in adaptation for resilience. It promotescoherence of global frameworks into policy and practice towards accelerating the achievement of the regional and global agenda.


Dr. Khamarrul Azahari Razak,
Director, Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Center (DPPC)
Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT),
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Kuala Lumpur.

As a premier global academic and research institution, excelling in science, technology and engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) is very proud to lead the world. Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Center (DPPC) is indeed one of its strong assets. DPPC bring multiresources and efforts together and engage in active dialogue with various stakeholders to contribute and embrace our similarity towards promoting evidence-informed decision-making at all levels of public policy, discourse and action. DPPC aims to become a world-class research and training centre for building resilience to disasters and climate change. Its mission is to facilitate multi-collaboration in applied research, training and field practice for disaster risk management and resilience in collaboration with Japanese and other partners from the world.

With prominent scientists, state-of-the-art facilities, and good resources, DPPC with the Japanese counterpart has a great potential to complete this remarkable project, which is very beneficial to decision making process, multi-stakeholders and vulnerable communities. DPPC has currently connected to many well-known disaster research institutes, networks and associations, e.g., the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GADRI), ASEAN University Network/Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (AUN/SEED-Net), Japan-ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation Platform (JASTIP). GADRI is a collaborative platform for sharing knowledge on disaster risk reduction and resilience to disasters, AUN/SEED-Net promotes human resources development in engineering for sustainable socio-economic development of the ASEAN region, and JASTIP aims to build a platform for Japan-ASEAN science and technology cooperation especially on the sustainable development research. These international networks are also strengthened by Japanese University Consortium (JUC) membership with MJIIT. As DPPC becomes a focal point in the field of disaster risk in the Southeast Asia region, it can be extended in building scientific and innovation partnership to support the economic development. We also promote the need of integrated research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth in the field of disaster risk management,extreme weather events, climate change and public health in APEC economies.