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Military Involvement Is Vital: US Embassy

Military involvement is important in managing environmental crisis in Oceania region including Fiji. These were the words of US Embassy to Fiji deputy chief of mission Douglas Sonnek during the
25 May 2016 08:44
Military Involvement Is Vital: US Embassy
US Embassy deputy chief of mission Douglas Sonnek (far right) at the Sofitel Resort and Spa on Denarau Island yesterday. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Military involvement is important in managing environmental crisis in Oceania region including Fiji.
These were the words of US Embassy to Fiji deputy chief of mission Douglas Sonnek during the 6th Oceania Regional Environment Security Forum at Sofitel Resort and Spa on Denarau yesterday.
“We can only be successful in managing the environmental crises we face, if all countries work together,” he said.
“That is why this Regional Environmental Security Forum is so important. It fosters a shared approach to environmental management and builds capacity through the sharing of lessons learned and best practices. It also identifies collaborative opportunities.”
He said the Regional Environmental Security Forum was launched in 2010 by the United States Pacific Command to provide an opportunity for militaries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to collaborate with their civilian counterparts on enhancing environmental security, protection, awareness and management in the region.
“We understand that the future of the United States and our Pacific partners is inextricably linked to our ability to respond to the challenges posed by climate change and the degradation of ocean resources,” he said.
He asked why would the military get involved in environmental management – something that has traditionally been a civilian domain?
“President Obama answered this question very well in a speech he delivered to the graduating class of the US Coast Guard Academy almost exactly a year ago.
The President said: “Rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from Bangladesh to Pacific islands, forcing people from their homes…Globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees…Elsewhere, more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water and food, increase competition for resources and create the potential for mass migrations and new tensions. All of which is why the Pentagon calls climate change a ‘threat multiplier.

Impact
“One impact of climate change is extreme drought believed to have played a role in the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the civil war in Syria, so that military services need to factor climate change into plans and operations.
“Increasingly extreme storms being generated by climate change mean that our forces will have to be prepared for more humanitarian missions to deliver lifesaving aid.
“This is why we are committed to supporting programs to build resilience to the negative impacts of climate change in the Pacific through programs being implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development.”
He said one such programme was the Coastal Community Adaptation Programme that supported a variety of projects in vulnerable coastal communities in nine countries in the Pacific.

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