II Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas

SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE – REPUBLIC OF ARGENTINA

CONCLUSIONS OF GROUP 2
"NEW ROLES"

The Working Group achieved a high level of consensus on the issues coordinated by the Brazilian and Canadian delegations, as follows:

1. MULTINATIONAL OPERATIONS FOR PEACEKEEPING:

The delegations agreed on the importance of peacekeeping missions, highlighting the need to observe the principles set forth by international law, and implementing them through mutual accordance of all the parties involved.

Several delegations commented on their participation in such operations and emphasized the need of training, exchange of experiences and consolidation of a common doctrine, which is now pursued through some joint exercises.

It has been remarked the positive effects to their Armed Forces with the corresponding professional experiences in those missions.

With a view to share experiences in that field, the following initiatives and proposals have been suggested

- training of officials and militars of the American countries in Peacekeeping training courses.

- information about exercise experiences and Peacekeeping operations, and

- legal specialization, for civil and military lawyers, on Peacekeeping matters.

2. ARMED FORCES SUPPORT TO ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES:

Some delegations outlined the importance of the subject concerning continental security and they referred to their Armed Forces preventive and corrective measures in the field of environmental protection.

They gave importance to environmental protection in relation to drug combat, caused by the ecological damage by means of the deforestation to Coca tree and Poppy plantations, or by the pollution of rivers because of chemical debris.

Environmental damage caused by illegal timbering exploitation and mining activities was another topic mentioned here.

Some delegations spoke about the need to be aware of the environmental preservation, highlighting the role that the Armed Forces play in this sense, even in civil communities. The initiative of holding, next year, a hemispheric conference to deal with those aspects of defense related to environment, was highly welcomed by most delegations....

Natural disasters and search and rescue missions - a number of delegations stressed the importance of advance planning for disaster relief and search and rescue. To ensure the capability of rapid response, some delegates indicated the potential value of regional and international exercises. The Coordinators expressed pleasure with the sharing of lessons learned. Most countries hold national exercises but fewer nations engaged in international exercises, exercises from which most might benefit. Delegates indicated understanding of the roles involved disaster relief and search and rescue.

3. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: POSSIBLE AREAS OF CO-OPERATION AND INFORMATION EXCHANGE

It was agreed that exchange of information should continue and be strengthened through initiatives such as the System of Co-operation among Air Forces of the Americas subcommittees. Delegates should be cognizant of the needs of others who are less able to operate at the same level and assist wherever possible. This is a message which all delegates agreed to take to their home nations as well.

4. ANTIPERSONNEL LAND MINES AND DEMINING

With regard to the campaign to ban anti-personnel land mines, delegations noted the tremendous harm done to innocent persons by this weapons and many delegations underline the importance of the Organization of American States (OAS) Resolution 1411.

Delegates noted the urgency which Canada attached to the need for a conclusion of a bar as early as 1997.

It was given emphasis to dernining operations, in particular those Central American countries as well as the need to join these efforts which were already dealt with at the Williamsburg Defense Ministry Meeting.

It is hereby attached, in its original, the initiative submitted by the Argentine Republic, concerning peace keeping operations.

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