In recent years national and international militaries have played an increasingly important role in crisis relief efforts, and disaster management in particular has come to be seen as one of their core tasks. Disaster management is a growth area not least because the incidence of disasters of all s izes is predicted to increase in frequency.
The Americas are a region hard - hit by natural disasters. The floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and landslides that affect Latin American countries are relentless, frequent, and locally highly destructive. Approximately thr e e - quart ers of the population were estimated to live in at - risk areas, and one - third live in areas highly exposed to hazards . At the end of 2007, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that it had sent a record nine missions to the region during that year, out of a total of 14 globally.
This roundtable aims to bring together various stake holders from the UN, humanitarian agencies, regional bodies, government representatives, military, police and security bodies to explore policy and operational debates relating to civil - military coordina tion in disaster management in the Americas region.
Noting the role of international and national militaries as well as regional bodies in both disaster preparedness and response, this roundtable will:
- Focus on recent disaster contexts and how military capacities have been utilised to augment national preparedness capacities and in the emergency response.
- Assess whether existing frameworks/guidelines are adequate for governing interaction in disaster re sponse in complex emergencies.
- Explore how regional initiatives to improve multilateral coordination in disaster response work in practice.
The roundtable will take the form of a structured discussion from which clear lessons and recommendations can be dr awn. Presentations will be made by speakers from both humanitarian and military/security backgrounds, highlighting their approaches and experiences gained in disaster response in the Americas region.