International Cooperation Needed to Combat Climate Change

International Cooperation Needed to Combat Climate Change

By Dialogo
February 17, 2015




The rising impact of massive storms and other natural disasters is placing more pressure on first responders to build capacity to protect their nations, according to Military leaders across the Americas.

For some officials, climate change poses a major threat because rising temperatures have been linked to more severe weather, including torrential storms and droughts in some regions.

“Today climate change is an unavoidable fact, and we need to work together to protect ourselves from the problem of natural disasters,” said Mexico Brigadier General Víctor Hugo Aguirre during a conference on emergencies and large scale disasters at the Inter-American Defense College (IADC) in Washington, D.C. in late January, adding that more cooperation is needed. “A border is not going to stop a storm.”

U.S. Military officials also have signaled a need to recognize the security risks associated with climate change, especially as demand grows for military disaster assistance in response to humanitarian crises caused by extreme weather.

Climate creates security challenges


“Destruction and devastation from hurricanes can sow the seeds for instability,” said former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a meeting of defense ministers in Peru in October. “Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline, and trigger waves of mass migration.”

While climate change poses new challenges to security officials tasked with humanitarian issues, the conditions that leave a population vulnerable in a natural disaster remain the same.

“Climate change can really distract us from what we need to do,” Pablo Gonzalez, director of the Department for Sustainable Development at the Organization of American States, stated during the IADC conference. He pointed to soaring levels of urbanization, unregulated construction, and income inequality across many nations in Latin America.

As policy makers struggle to address broad social dilemmas like these, Gonzalez said military responders will be the ones called upon to provide initial assistance after a catastrophe.

In Mexico, for example, dozens of specialized forces muster each day at 8 a.m., prepared to respond to a natural disaster anywhere in the country, Gen. Aguirre pointed out. “These units are ready to deploy within two hours to any spot in the country” to assess damage and help lead the recovery effort.

Members of Mexico’s Disaster Relief Task Force are drawn from other Military units and have specialized skills such as search and rescue, medical care, engineering and construction, and food service. In recent years, the task force has deployed to dozens of operations inside the country, and has participated in international relief missions in Haiti, Indonesia, and the United States.

Gen. Aguirre explained that Mexico’s military relief operations are founded on a complex legal framework, known as DN-III-E, which seeks to organize the quick deployment of resources. While the structure retains civilian authority over military relief operations, military commanders are granted freedom to take action as necessary.

“When every decision is made by one person, then recovery efforts are delayed,” said the general. “If I wait for civilian authorities to grant permission, often my forces will not move fast enough to save lives.”

The importance of coordination


Another speaker at the seminar, Chile’s Army Staff Officer Carlos Ojeda, described the disaster response structure in his country, which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all government agencies affected in a potential crisis.

“Coordination is the engine of positive action,” said Ojeda, who is also a professor at Chile’s National Academy for Political and Strategic Studies. “Without clear organization, there will be overlapping efforts or conflicts of interest, and we should avoid that.”

The seminar on disasters included Military and security experts from various countries in the region, including the current class of IADC scholars, which consists of 63 students from 14 nations. After completing their studies in Washington, D.C., they are expected to return home to help improve their nation’s readiness and build international security partnerships.

Some students quizzed experts on how to manage the challenges of building security agreements, even across rocky waters between nations.

“Some things are not controversial,” said retired U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. “The best way to start these conversations is to start by talking about preservation, protecting life, and property.”

Adm. Allen recalled that even after decades of troubled relations between Washington, D.C. and Cuba, officials from both sides met to discuss the response to a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Ojeda advised scholars to seek partnerships outside the Military ranks, such as with nongovernmental organizations that are trained to deal with vulnerable populations.

“An armed Soldier is not prepared to comfort a child who may be suffering psychologically after a disaster.”

In Chile, security officials have learned a great deal on how to improve their response efforts after a series of major events, including earthquakes, storms, and a massive fire that destroyed parts of the city of Valparaiso. But more than just refining procedures, he said recent events also have served to crystallize the military’s role as the chief actor in relief operations.

“We cannot think of the Military’s role just in terms of defending national sovereignty,” Ojeda indicated. “Over time, the expectation for our armed forces to show compassion is growing more and more.”



The rising impact of massive storms and other natural disasters is placing more pressure on first responders to build capacity to protect their nations, according to Military leaders across the Americas.

For some officials, climate change poses a major threat because rising temperatures have been linked to more severe weather, including torrential storms and droughts in some regions.

“Today climate change is an unavoidable fact, and we need to work together to protect ourselves from the problem of natural disasters,” said Mexico Brigadier General Víctor Hugo Aguirre during a conference on emergencies and large scale disasters at the Inter-American Defense College (IADC) in Washington, D.C. in late January, adding that more cooperation is needed. “A border is not going to stop a storm.”

U.S. Military officials also have signaled a need to recognize the security risks associated with climate change, especially as demand grows for military disaster assistance in response to humanitarian crises caused by extreme weather.

Climate creates security challenges


“Destruction and devastation from hurricanes can sow the seeds for instability,” said former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a meeting of defense ministers in Peru in October. “Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline, and trigger waves of mass migration.”

While climate change poses new challenges to security officials tasked with humanitarian issues, the conditions that leave a population vulnerable in a natural disaster remain the same.

“Climate change can really distract us from what we need to do,” Pablo Gonzalez, director of the Department for Sustainable Development at the Organization of American States, stated during the IADC conference. He pointed to soaring levels of urbanization, unregulated construction, and income inequality across many nations in Latin America.

As policy makers struggle to address broad social dilemmas like these, Gonzalez said military responders will be the ones called upon to provide initial assistance after a catastrophe.

In Mexico, for example, dozens of specialized forces muster each day at 8 a.m., prepared to respond to a natural disaster anywhere in the country, Gen. Aguirre pointed out. “These units are ready to deploy within two hours to any spot in the country” to assess damage and help lead the recovery effort.

Members of Mexico’s Disaster Relief Task Force are drawn from other Military units and have specialized skills such as search and rescue, medical care, engineering and construction, and food service. In recent years, the task force has deployed to dozens of operations inside the country, and has participated in international relief missions in Haiti, Indonesia, and the United States.

Gen. Aguirre explained that Mexico’s military relief operations are founded on a complex legal framework, known as DN-III-E, which seeks to organize the quick deployment of resources. While the structure retains civilian authority over military relief operations, military commanders are granted freedom to take action as necessary.

“When every decision is made by one person, then recovery efforts are delayed,” said the general. “If I wait for civilian authorities to grant permission, often my forces will not move fast enough to save lives.”

The importance of coordination


Another speaker at the seminar, Chile’s Army Staff Officer Carlos Ojeda, described the disaster response structure in his country, which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all government agencies affected in a potential crisis.

“Coordination is the engine of positive action,” said Ojeda, who is also a professor at Chile’s National Academy for Political and Strategic Studies. “Without clear organization, there will be overlapping efforts or conflicts of interest, and we should avoid that.”

The seminar on disasters included Military and security experts from various countries in the region, including the current class of IADC scholars, which consists of 63 students from 14 nations. After completing their studies in Washington, D.C., they are expected to return home to help improve their nation’s readiness and build international security partnerships.

Some students quizzed experts on how to manage the challenges of building security agreements, even across rocky waters between nations.

“Some things are not controversial,” said retired U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. “The best way to start these conversations is to start by talking about preservation, protecting life, and property.”

Adm. Allen recalled that even after decades of troubled relations between Washington, D.C. and Cuba, officials from both sides met to discuss the response to a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Ojeda advised scholars to seek partnerships outside the Military ranks, such as with nongovernmental organizations that are trained to deal with vulnerable populations.

“An armed Soldier is not prepared to comfort a child who may be suffering psychologically after a disaster.”

In Chile, security officials have learned a great deal on how to improve their response efforts after a series of major events, including earthquakes, storms, and a massive fire that destroyed parts of the city of Valparaiso. But more than just refining procedures, he said recent events also have served to crystallize the military’s role as the chief actor in relief operations.

“We cannot think of the Military’s role just in terms of defending national sovereignty,” Ojeda indicated. “Over time, the expectation for our armed forces to show compassion is growing more and more.”
It's about time action is taken to engage all nations if we want our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren not to suffer from our irresponsible treatment of the environment. We should make the FARC guerillas reforest all the areas that are sown with marijuana and coca. They (the FARC) profited from this illegal trafficking, they should somehow restore the concomitant damage. Climate change has to be fought with real action that benefits nature. For example, there should be groups of soldiers to fight those who cut down the tropical jungle. The Amazon region is being cut down, with the complicity of the governments and the armed forces. El Chocó region in Colombia is being devastated. I love the daily news reports from Google, and I would like to receive them every day. How do I go about that? When we put our eyes and hearts on an all powerful God, we would not suffer what is happening in our nations; So says Jehovah: in his words 2Corinthians 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Christ loves us. Very nice but I want to know where to enter to know if you gave the driver's license to my uncle International cooperation is the best way to give support to a country having difficulties such as natural disasters or internal problems, like illegal mining. There's no summary I wanted to know what happened here The guerrilla fighters can serve their sentences for crimes committed with forced labor in the fields and on the highways, which Colombia needs quite a lot. to sow without thinking about deteriorating the soil giving wealth to life and thinking of the future Babe, the economy is responsible for disastrous climate change, not the guerrilla fighters who are against the system. Climate change is a result of the economic system and political incompetence. The issue with climate change is because of the CO2 emissions from large, transnational businesses from foreign superpowers; it's a problem they have created which they should be called to fix, and not leave it for us to do, Latin American politicians should demand as much... We are all concerned about climate change, but the governments all over the world are not doing almost anything in this regard, rather to the contrary, there is no control over unchecked deforestation, wasting water and energy anywhere on the planet. All, absolutely each one of the Governments in the world should dedicate themselves to growing forests, caring for water, and processing every kind of waste matter. It would be so beautiful and gratifying to see all the Pan American highway full of forests and plants on both sides. Large industries have to stop using coal, gas and oil. In the future, any wood we need should be taken from our cultivated forests, not our natural forests. One of the most beautiful biblical passages that I have ever seen! They are words of courage and hope! WE COMMEMORATE INDEPENDENCE DAY LESS AND LESS EVERY YEAR. PATRIOTISM IS FADING. KIDS WON'T LOVE THE NATION.
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