Some 80 military personnel and officials from 18 countries are joining Australian Defence personnel at a forum in Sydney this week to discuss a range of environmental security issues linked to emerging climate change and sustainability challenges.
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney today officially opened the Pacific Environmental Security Forum jointly hosted by the Department of Defence and the United States Pacific Command.
Countries represented included Australia, the United States, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, New Zealand, Japan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives and Nepal.
In opening the forum Senator Feeney emphasised the role of Defence forces in environmental security.
“Whether as users of resources such as fuels and water or as providers of assistance during environmental disasters, the roles and responsibilities of militaries can only be expected to grow in the face of global climate change,” Senator Feeney said.
"This is certainly true for the ADF which has a proven track record of outstanding support and recovery after environmental events, whether that be assisting civil authorities during the fires and floods of the Australian summer or lending a hand to our nearest neighbours in New Zealand after the Christchurch earthquake, or our friends in Samoa after Cyclone Evan.
“The ADF is structured to respond with the right capabilities after disastrous events, our personnel are trained and ready and our assets, such as the C-130 Hercules, the C-17 Globemaster and HMAS Choules, are capable.
“The ADF is also a good environmental steward, ensuring our activities are sustainable, our capability is developed and our reputation is enhanced.
“Defence forces must take the environment into account during military operations and demonstrate a respect for host country heritage, clean water and land,” he said.
Senator Feeney’s Office: Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999