Thailand proposed that the centre should be in its capital, Bangkok, but was opposed by India and Indonesia.
They agreed to set up smaller regional facilities, in response to last month’s tsunami which killed more than 250,000.
Thailand is hosting the two-day meeting for affected countries on the ravaged resort island of Phuket.
The representatives decided that work should start immediately on strengthening existing national and specialised institutions.
Correspondents say national egos appear to be getting in the way of international co-operation.