Military and Civilian authorities discuss coordinated response to natural catastrophes
Specialists from the Department of Defense and Hemispheric Security and from the Risk Management and Adaptation to Climate Change Section of the OAS Department of Sustainable Development participated on August 29-30, in a meeting in Costa Rica to discuss the proposal "Building partnerships in support of humanitarian assistance in cases of natural disasters."
The proposal was made by the Pro-Tempore Committee of the Ministers of Defense of the Americas, based in Uruguay, in accordance with a mandate of the Declaration of the IX Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, held in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in November 2010.
The debate was conducted through coordinated groups, which deliberated during two days on five points. The central themes of discussion were:
- Identification of the basic elements and an Action Plan to develop a Standard Operating Procedure to establish a Unit for Military Assistance Partnership, in consideration of the existing instruments and legal and institutional frameworks within the Inter-American and United Nations system.
- Identification of breaches and vacuums of Disaster Response and Humanitarian Assistance in the Inter-American and United Nations systems, for more effective and efficient integration of the Armed or Security Forces in these systems, which enables the full use of the capacities, skills, equipment, and logistics of the Armed or Security Forces.
- Drafting a Work Plan for conducting a survey of capabilities and coordination mechanisms available in the Armed or Security Forces.
- Drafting a Work Plan for conducting a survey of Education Programs. This will generate a better understanding of National Systems, of the capabilities of the Armed or Security Forces, in consideration of all higher education centers, including universities and colleges and training centers of the Armed or Security Forces.
- Drafting guidelines for environmental protection, particularly on water resources (surface water bodies and groundwater, glaciers and other sources), historical and cultural heritages, and other assets in full respect of national sovereignty and multinational agreements.