Perú to be First Head of Cooperative System for Humanitarian Assistance

By Dialogo
October 11, 2012

The recently created Cooperative System for Humanitarian Assistance (SICAHUM) will be a voluntary mechanism that will respect each country’s laws, and the coordination and direction of assistance will be provided by civil authorities, explained Chilean Defense Minister Andrés Allamand, on October 10, at the 10th Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, celebrated in Uruguay.

The nation in charge of its implementation will be Peru, heading the next ministerial conference in 2014.
After a heated debate, the ministers approved the implementation of a voluntary mechanism to coordinate relief to countries affected by natural disasters by a majority vote, announced Allamand.

It is the first time in the history of this forum – founded in 1995 – that the ministerial conference approves a concrete initiative.
“This is an obvious success, definite progress in the conference, beyond the differences that might have taken place,” stated Allamand, who strongly pushed for the resolution to be adopted, according to sources in the event.

The initiative, launched by Chile and backed by the United States and Canada, was approved despite opposition from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Surinam, and Venezuela, while Guyana and Uruguay abstained, according to sources.
Although the discussion about the validity of the Inter-American defense system and its institutions was announced as a “priority,” the ministers will request the OAS to “address this issue as urgent,” said Uruguayan Deputy Minister Jorge Menéndez on October 9.

It would be a declaration similar to the one elaborated at the previous conference in Bolivia, in 2010, where it was requested to revise the system that several countries considered obsolete.

With regards to peacekeeping operations, there was a unanimous consensus, and it was agreed to work jointly in integrating civilians, gender, and education.

According to Uruguayan Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro, the result was positive.
“You can agree on certain things, some subjects need further discussion, and others might never be agreed on,” indicated the official on October 10.

“It will always be that way. However, these meetings still need to take place,” he said.