On May 11th and 12th, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) presented a series of lectures oriented to identifying the gaps and opportunities in the hemispheric mechanisms of response to natural disasters, based on the analysis of the roles of the organizations and on the lessons learned from past experiences.
Notable lecturers represented their respective organizations, among which, on Day 1, the Chairman of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development, Ambassador Andrés González; the Executive Secretary of the OAS, Ambassador Néstor Méndez; from the White Helmets Commission, Mr. Carlos Zaballa; the Ambassador of Ecuador, Mr. Marco Albuja; and Dr. Leonardo Hernández, of the Pan American Health Organization.
On day two, we counted on the participation of Mr. Michael Marx, from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations; Mr. Pablo González, from the OAS; Dr. Leonardo Hernández; and the representatives of the Military Specialized Conferences, Col Alberto Moreno (US Air Force), Col Brian McNaughton (US Army) and Commander Marcel Parreira (Brazilian Navy). The Caribbean Agency for Disaster Management was represented by Ms. Joanne Persad. The Conference was also attended by Ms. Sonia Biwas, from the USAID, and the Air Force Commander, James Palmer, for the US South Command.
As a guest speaker, we had Lieutenant General Ivan González Lópes, of the Chilean Army, who delivered an excellent lecture on the armed forces in the response to natural disasters, bringing the great experience acquired by his institution in such field.
This Conference occurred in compliance with the purpose of the IADB of providing the OAS and its Member States with technical, consultative and educational advisory services in issues related to military and defense affairs in the Hemisphere; in the scope of the Inter-American Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction; and with the cooperation of the Executive Secretariat for Sustainable Development (SEDI) and the Department of Sustainable Development (SEDI/DDS). The first part was named “The Sub-Regional Mechanisms and the Inter-American System” and happened on May 11th, in the OAS Complex. The second part was named “The Role of the Armed Forces and Security Forces and the Inter-American System” and took place on May 12th, in the IADB Headquarters, the House of the Soldier.