Speaker Events - Saturday, September 25, 2010
Qatari PM: Prepare Militaries to Deal with the Forces of Nature
At a time when natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more devastating, Qatar is calling for more effective use of military resources for disaster relief.
Speaking at a ministerial working dinner at the International Peace Institute, the Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, said that “it is time to adapt our militaries to deal with the forces of nature, not just the force of arms.”
He detailed a proposal to create a humanitarian operation force called HOPEFOR. “We must marry two distinct cultures: military and humanitarian. We need the FOR of the military to deliver the HOPE of the humanitarian community,” he said. “Let us work together to create a force for good to help people in time of disaster.”
Increasingly, military assets are being used in disaster-relief operations. In 2004, thirty-five countries sent military resources to Southeast Asia to support relief efforts after the tsunami. In January 2010, twenty-six countries deployed military assets to Haiti after the devastating earthquake.
While military support can make the difference between life and death, “the civilian nature of humanitarian operations should not be compromised,” cautioned the Prime Minister. “When military resources are used for disaster relief, they should be mobilized in a way that is predictable, structured, and timely, in line with humanitarian principles, and upon the request of the affected state,” he said.
At the dinner, participants discussed how to strengthen implementation of the Guidelines on the use of Military and Civil Defense Assets in Disaster Relief (also known as the Oslo Guidelines). In the presence of the UN’s new Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, participants exchanged views on how to strengthen the UN’s emergency response system, particularly the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“The goal is to support existing humanitarian structures, not replace them,” said the Prime Minister.
In order to improve training, promote respect for humanitarian principles, improve coordination on the ground, and develop networks among practitioners, the Prime Minister of Qatar offered to establish a Centre of Excellence for Emergency Relief in Doha.
As a follow-up to the dinner, Qatar and IPI, in cooperation with OCHA, will convene expert-level discussions on how to make more effective use of military assets for disaster relief, and the modalities and conditions for such operations.
Read more about the launch of HOPEFOR
Read the Prime Minister's speech in:
One of the pillars of IPI is its convening role. Each year IPI organizes a wide-ranging selection of meetings designed to facilitate strategic thinking and policy development on issues related to peace and security. IPI aims to strengthen public awareness through the generation of policy recommendations and the dissemination of research findings not only within the UN community, but within academic, political, civil society circles and beyond. This is achieved through a range of off- and on-the-record discussions, including policy fora focusing on expert briefings, examinations of military and police practices and preparations, book launches, speaker presentations, workshops and seminars, and full-day and multi-day conferences.
The Global Observatory
Nelson Mandela: Man and Awesome Phenomenon
A former member of the South African Parliament reflects on Mandela's warmth and generosity.
Ordinary Fears, Extraordinary Man: The Legacy of Nelson Mandela
As a young South African diplomat during the apartheid-to-democracy transition, Cedric de Coning witnessed the humility and power of a flawed statesman.
Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
Top 10 Issues to Watch in 2013: The Multilateral Arena
Ten key issues that are likely to impact global affairs in international peace, security, and development.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.