29th Inter-American Naval Conference Is Carried Out Successfully
By Juan Delgado/Diálogo January 04, 2021
On November 23-24, the 29th edition of the Inter-American Naval Conference (IANC) was carried out virtually, bringing together 16 countries of the Americas, represented by their navies’ commanders, to facilitate the exchange of ideas and mutual understanding concerning maritime problems that affect the continent.
For the fourth time, Chile hosted the event that has been carried out every two years since its 1959 creation. This year’s central theme was “The Role of Navies in Times of Pandemic,” and within that context, the contribution of the continent’s navies to prevent and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.
“As hosts, one of the topics we had raised was to address the role of navies in the context of natural disasters, which, to be honest […] we, as a country have a lot of experience in this regard,” Chilean Navy Rear Admiral Leonardo Quijarro, IANC secretary general, said. “And, considering the situation this year in particular, it derived from the catastrophe that the pandemic has produced.”
Chiefs of the armed forces of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay took part in the virtual conference.
“The conference is an opportunity for us to reflect on this challenging year and to recognize the innovation our navies have used to adapt together, learn together, and overcome this pandemic together,” U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of Naval Operations, said in a statement. “I’m grateful for our combined commitment to sharing best practices that have kept our sailors safe and ships at sea during this pandemic.”
For his part, Admiral Julio Leiva, commander of the Chilean Navy, highlighted cooperation and the navy’s main purpose. “Mutual respect for international law binds us together,” the Admiral said. “Even in a pandemic, the primary role of our Navy holds fast: to keep the seas free and open and maintain maritime security.”
Finally, Rear Admiral Julio Horacio Guardia, chief of the Argentine Navy General Staff, gave a presentation about the central role that Latin American navies assumed to collaborate and face the situations that the COVID-19 pandemic generated. He also referred to the importance of protecting and preserving the oceans.
The goal of this meeting is to provide a forum for exchanging ideas and knowledge, while encouraging ongoing professional contact between navies and fostering hemispheric solidarity. The conference concluded with the transfer of the IANC General Secretariat to the Peruvian Navy, which will be hosting the event in 2022.