DEFENCE REVIEW RESEARCH ESSAY
CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE
IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING
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CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING
1. Climate change has come to be recognised globally as one of the most critical challenges
ever to be experienced in the international arena. The world’s climate has always varied
naturally but compelling evidence from around the world indicates that a new kind of climate
change is now under way, foreshadowing drastic impacts on people, economies and
2. Climate is changing unequivocally and this change is attributed to human activities. The
increase of greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have risen dramatically over the past
two centuries due to anthropogenic (or human-driven) emissions of greenhouse gases,
resulting from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gases, and
deforestation prompted on by economic activity and population growth.
3. These climatic conditions have profound consequences for the political, social and
economic spheres of a State because they pose a direct challenge to the livelihoods and
thus to human security. It is therefore recognised that climate change is no longer solely an
environmental problem; rather it has become an economic, social, political and security
4. Climate change is a global challenge, therefore, it requires a global response that
embraces the interests and needs of all countries. As a result, the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol were
adopted to address this challenge.
5. This paper will start by defining the concept of climate change, the causes thereof, and its
impact specifically within the continent. Proposed plans to address climate change
internationally, continentally and domestically will also be explored. The paper will also
explore the consequences of Cancun conference. The impact of climate change on the
military will also be looked at. The conclusion reached is that climate change is a reality and
therefore requires global response. The role of the department of defence therefore will be to
provide support to the lead departments and to prepare its SANDF members to deal with
emerging issues of humanitarian assistance.
6. Climate change is “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human
activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to
natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods” (United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change).
7. According to the Meteorological Office, climate change refers to the build-up of man made
gases in the atmosphere that trap the suns heat, causing changes in weather patterns on a
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global scale. There are six main greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide,
hydro fluorocarbons, per fluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride) in the atmosphere that
traps the energy from the sun, thus warming the earth (greenhouse effect).
8. Climate change is likely to have a significant impact on the global environment through
increases in temperature, sea level, changes in levels and patterns of precipitation, changes
in severity and frequency of extreme events etc. Climatic zones could shift pole ward and
vertically disrupting ecosystems and threatening the survival of some species. Human
society will also face new risks and pressures due to climate related threats to food security
and availability of water resources.
9. Climate change is therefore more than simply an increase in global temperatures; it
encompasses changes in regional climate characteristics, including temperature, humidity,
rainfall, wind, and severe weather events, which have economic and social dimensions.
CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
10. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (created in 1988 by the
governing bodies of the world meteorological organisation and the UN Environment
Programme to collect and assess scientific information on climate change), in its fourth
report concluded that human activities are causing currently observed temperature and
climate change. Humans are producing carbon dioxide and other air pollution that is
collecting in the atmosphere, trapping the sun’s heat and causing the planet to warm up
11. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide account for 50, 18, and 6 percent respectively to
the overall global warming. Carbon dioxide is produced in large quantities from the
consumption of energy from the burning fossil fuels (e.g. oil, coal, and natural gas) and
deforestation. Methane, nitrous oxide emissions are produced mainly from agricultural
12. Although these gases are naturally occurring, their emissions have increased
dramatically since pre-industrial times, with an increase of 70% between 1970 and 2004.
These increases have come from energy supply, transport, industry as well as emissions
from residential and commercial buildings, deforestation, and agricultural sectors.
13. These are changing the earth’s climate system. The average temperature at the surface
of present day earth would be about -18°C, while the warming effect of the greenhouse
gases would results in the average surface temperature being about +14°C.
14. In 2007 the IPCC 4th Assessment Report highlighted the following:
a) Observed and predicted future trends of a changing climate are “unequivocal” and
(with 90% certainty) caused by human socio-economic activities.
b) The impacts and risks of climate change are more imminent and severe than
previously thought. Between 2050 and 2100 climate change could have disastrous
impacts on economies, society, security, development and social safety net systems,
particularly in poor countries.
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IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON AFRICA
15. Africa is seen as one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change,
a situation aggravated by the interaction of multiple stresses occurring at various levels, and
low adaptive capacity. Low adaptive capacity is linked to an array of factors, including,
deterioration of ecological base, poverty, land distribution and dependence on natural
resources. Some of the projections for Africa noted in the IPCC report:
a) By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to
increased water stress due to climate change,
b) By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by
50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is
projected to be severely compromised. This would further adversely affect food
security and exacerbate malnutrition,
c) Towards the end of the 21st century, the projected sea level rise will affect low-lying
areas. The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5-10% of GDP,
d) BY 2080, an increase of 5-8% of arid and semi arid land in Africa is projected to be
under a range of climate scenarios.
16. These climatic conditions will have profound consequences for the political, social and
economic spheres of African societies because they pose a direct challenge to livelihoods
and thus to human security.
17. The following are the impacts of climate change on Africa:
a) Changes in precipitation. One of the most widespread and potentially devastating
impacts of climate change is the changes in the frequency, intensity and predictability
of precipitation. Changes in continental precipitation will ultimately affect water
availability and may lead to decreased agricultural production and potentially
widespread food shortages. It is likely that increased precipitation will come in a few
but very large rainstorms mostly during the wet season thereby adding to soil
erosion. It is also expected that there will be less precipitation in East Africa during
the dry season, which may cause more frequent and severe droughts and increased
desertification in the region.
b) Sea Level rise poses a particular challenge for small island states such as the
Comoros and Seychelles. A major ecological and economic consequence of sea
level rise would be the destruction of wetlands and mangroves, which provide
livelihoods to coastal populations. Sea level rise along coastal areas where high
human populations occur is likely to disrupt economic activities, such as tourism,
mining and fishing. It can also lead to the destruction of coral reefs, which absorb the
energy of ocean swells.
c) Melting ice caps and glaciers. Climate change due to temperature rises also has an
impact on the disappearance of glaciers. Examples of this can be found in the
gradual disappearance of glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, where eighty two percent of
the ice cap that crowned the mountain when it was first surveyed in 1912 has melted.
According to projections, the majority of the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro could
disappear by 2020.
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d) Dust and sand storms (tropical cyclones). Atmospheric dust is a major element of the
Saharan and Sahelian environments. The frequency of occurrence of dust storms
has increased in some parts of the Sahel from the wet 1950s or 1960s to the dry
periods of 1970s and 1980s. Human impact like overgrazing and deforestation are
contributing factors to the increase in dust storms. Dust storms can have negative
impacts by eroding fertile soil and uprooting of young plants, burying water canals
and increasing evaporation, burying houses and other properties, causing respiratory
problems and Meningitis transmission.
e) Droughts. African countries are identified as having the highest vulnerability to
drought. Droughts have particularly affected the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and
Southern Africa since the end of the 1960s. Estimates suggest that one third of
African people live in drought prone areas and that around 220 million people are
annually exposed to drought. In South Africa, natural disasters, including droughts,
are predicted to occur more frequently under changed climatic conditions.
f) Floods. Floods are recurrent in some African countries; even communities located in
dry areas have been affected by floods. During 2000 and 2001 floods occurred in
Mozambique, particularly along the Limpopo, Save and Zambezi valleys. In 2000,
floods resulted in half a million people left homeless and 700 losing their lives. In
2010 floods occurred in West Africa, especially in Benin where 60 people were killed
and approximately 150 000 homes, 25 000 ha of farm land and infrastructure
damaged or lost. All the floods on the continent had devastating effects on
livelihoods, destroying agricultural crops, disrupting electricity supplies and
demolishing basic infrastructure such as roads, homes and bridges. It is also not
uncommon for some countries to experience both droughts and floods in the same
year, the flooding experienced in East Africa followed periods of extended drought.
Ethiopia experienced drought early in 2006, but in August 2006 it suffered severe
floods leading to the death of more than 200 people with another 250 still missing in
the eastern part of the country.
18. The above-mentioned impacts of climate change have wide-ranging consequences for
human health, food production and food security, access to drinking water, wild fires,
refugees and migration, degradation of various ecosystems (forests, woodlands, savannah,
wetlands, coastal zones, etc), agricultural products, fisheries, etc, and thereby posing a
serious threat to poverty eradication within the continent. It is also argued that climate
change could lead to more competition over land and water points. This could lead to rising
tension between pastoralists and agriculturalists.
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Impact of Climate Change on Africa
PROPOSED PLAN TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE: INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
19. Since climate change has become a critical matter globally, there were political debates
on appropriate response to climate change. Consequently, it was agreed that appropriate
response to climate change be divided into mitigation of the cause and or effects of climate
change, and adaptation to the changing global environment. The United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol were therefore adopted.
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THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (UNFCCC)
20. The 1st IPCC Assessment Report (1990) presented sufficient scientific evidence that
climate change was a reality and trigger world-wide concern and the negotiation of the
UNFCCC. Almost all nations come together in 1992 to sign the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which came into effect in 1994. Its ultimate
objective is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at the level that
would prevent human interference with the climate system.
21. Since 1994 when the UNFCCC entered into force, Parties to the Convention have met
annually at the Conference of Parties (COP). The COP is the supreme body of the
Convention and meets annually to review the implementation of the Convention, adopt
decisions to further develop the Convention’s rules, and continue negotiating new
commitments. At the first Conference of the Parties (COP 1), held in Berlin, Germany in
1995, a new round of talks was launched to discuss firmer, more detailed commitments for
industrialised countries (Annexure A- UNFCCC).
22. The UNFCCC has been crucial in addressing climate change and the need for the
reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases. All parties to the Convention are subject to
general commitments to respond to climate change. They agreed to compile an inventory of
their greenhouse gas emissions and submit reports known as national communications on
actions they are taking to implement the convention.
23. During this time there was however, still some scientific uncertainty as to the causes and
extent of the impact of climate change. The Convention therefore only identifies the 3 major
areas of work required to address climate change:
a) Mitigation of GHGs
b) Adaptation to the impacts of inevitable climate change and
c) Response measures (i.e. managing unintended consequences of climate policy on
others – e.g. Oil exporters, trade barriers, subsidies).
24. The shortcoming of the Convention is that it has no binding targets or obligations.
THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
25. The publication of the 2nd IPCC Assessment report in 1995 demonstrated that the
actions outlined in the UNFCCC were insufficient and triggered the negotiations of the Kyoto
Protocol, which were finalised in 1997 as a first step towards a more determined
international response to the global climate change threat.
26. As consensus grew that anthropogenic activities are having a distinct impact on global
climate systems, contributing to a warming of the earth, and as it became apparent that
many major nations such as the United States and Japan would not be able to reduce their
emissions to 1990 levels by 2000, parties to the treaty decided in 1995 that it would be
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necessary to move beyond voluntary measures and to enter into legally binding
27. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted at a Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC
in Kyoto, Japan in 1997, and it entered into force in 2005, and share the ultimate objective of
the Convention, to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of green house gases at a level that
prevent dangerous interference with the climate system.
28. The Kyoto Protocol is the world’s primary international agreement on combating climate
change. The protocol establishes legally binding, mandatory emissions reductions for the six
major greenhouse gases. It requires that Annex I countries (developed) reduce their
aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 5% below 1990 levels (1990 is the baseline for
carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide; 1995 is the baseline year for the other 3 gases),
averaged over the commitment period of 2008 to 2012. Each country was assigned
individually negotiated targets which differed according to their situations (Annexure B-Kyoto
29. By 2005, it was increasingly clear that the measures agreed to in the UNFCCC and its
Kyoto Protocol were an inadequate international response to the threats posed by climate
change. In particular since the legally binding provisions of the Kyoto Protocol only covers
less than 40% of the world’s GHG emissions, due to the fact that:
a) The world’s largest GHG emitter (the USA) did not join the Kyoto Protocol and;
b) The largest growth in GHG emissions going forward is projected to emanate from
seven (7) more advanced developing countries (i.e. China, India, Brazil, Mexico,
South Korea, Saudi Arabia and South Africa), all of which are currently not legally
bound to any action within the international regime.
c) The Annex 1 Parties emissions commitments expire after 2012.
30. Therefore, the 2005 Conference of Parties in Montreal developed decisions which
launched a two track process to further develop the future international climate change
regime; first, is the Ad Hoc Working Group under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) which has
the mandate to negotiate legally binding targets for the second and subsequent commitment
periods for Annex 1 Parties, and how to reach those targets. Secondly, is the Ad hoc
Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), under the UNFCCC, which
deals with adaptation, mitigation, financing and transfer of clean-energy technology to
THE COPENHAGEN ACCORD
31. The negotiations in Copenhagen were about strengthening the climate regime now, up to
and beyond 2012, when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends. The Accord
was drafted by the United States in a united position with the BASIC countries (China, India,
South Africa, and Brazil).
32. The Accord is not legally binding and does not commit countries to agree to a binding
successor to the Kyoto Protocol, whose present round ends in 2012. The Copenhagen
Accord is a document that delegates at the 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP
15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to "take note
of" at the final plenary on 18 December 2009 (Annexure C-Copenhagen Accord).
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THE CANCUN CONFERENCE
33. The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Cancun, Mexico. The
aim of the talks was to curb global warming by cutting carbon emissions. The Cancun
conference aims to agree on funds and approaches to preserve rainforests and prepare for a
hotter world, and to formalise existing targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
34. The following were agreed upon at Cancun:
a) Cutting carbon emission: a number of rich countries have made pledges in the past
year to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 under the Copenhagen accord,
but they were not incorporated in the official UN process. Cancun formally put those
pledges into the UN documentation, although they may increase or decrease in
future. For the first time developing countries also agreed to look at how they can cut
emissions in the future, but did not make specific pledges. None of the cuts is legally
binding and analysis suggests the pledges would lead to a 3.2 deg C rise in
temperatures far higher than the 2deg C generally considered to be a level of safe
b) Climate aid: a new climate green fund was agreed at Cancun to transfer money from
the developed to the developing world to tackle the effects of climate change. But no
figure was given to how much money will go into it.
c) Forest: formal backing was given for the UN’s deforestation scheme, Redd (reducing
emissions from deforestation and degradation); under which rich countries pay
poorer nations not to chop down forests and so lock away carbon emissions. But
details about when this will happen and exactly what form the scheme will take,
particularly whether developed countries will be able to use it to offset their emissions
rather than make cuts at home are still vague.
d) Kyoto protocol: decisions about the future of Kyoto protocol, the current international
treaty binding rich countries to cut emissions, were effectively differed until the next
conference that will be held in South Africa by 2011. Decisions on the role the
protocol will play in the ultimate future legal documents that bind the world’s countries
to emissions cuts were delayed.
e) Technology transfer: the idea of transferring knowledge of clean technology between
countries was agreed to at Cancun. A technology executive committee, a climate
technology centre and network are to be set up, but there are no details of the
money, where they will be based, when or by whom.
f) Inspections: countries agreed to the principle of having their emissions cuts
inspected. Such monitoring, reporting and verification will depend on the size of the
country’s economy, though who will carry out the inspections was not specified.
35. It was stated that the pledges currently on the table will only get the world 60% of the
way towards the emissions cuts that are hoped will keep global temperatures rising by more
than 2 deg C this century. It was again stated that it is the first time that all countries are
committed to cutting carbon emissions under an official UN agreement, but a major
disappointment was that no targets were put on table. It is hoped that this will be done in
2011 Durban conference in South Africa.
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36. Africa is one of the continents most vulnerable to climate change due to its
developmental challenges such as, poverty, limited institutional capacity, and limited access
to capital market. These have contributed to Africa’s weak adaptive capacity. Africa, like any
other region will be severely affected by climate change.
AFRICAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT: SPECIAL SESSION ON
37. The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was established in
1985 following the conference of African ministers of environment held in Cairo, Egypt. Its
mandate is to provide advocacy for environmental protection in Africa, to ensure that basic
human needs are met adequately and in a sustainable manner, to ensure that social and
economic development is realised at all levels, and to ensure that agricultural activities meet
the food security needs of the region (Annexure D, Nairobi Declaration on the African
Process for Combating Climate Change).
38. Most African countries are signatories to the UNFCCC and have also signed the Kyoto
Protocol. Thus, the continent is engaging climate change issues through the African
Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and continues to participate actively in
international negotiations and processes of climate change.
39. Although South Africa is a developing economy, its dependence on coal-driven energy
sources and the energy intensity nature of its economy has resulted in a high carbon
emission level as compared to the rest of the world. South Africa has emission levels
equivalent to that of the developed nations and world wide, it is ranked the 11th highest
emitter of greenhouse gases.
40. According to a paper developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs on The
National Climate Change Response, South Africa is already experiencing the effects of
global warming and climate changes. Average land and sea surface temperatures have
increased, sea level is rising, rainfall patterns have changed, and the intensity and frequency
of extreme weather events have increased.
41. Projected climate changes in South Africa over the next 50 years indicated that the
western parts of country will become dryer, that certain areas will experience shorter rainfall
seasons, and that air temperature will rise, particularly in the interior. Other potential
changes include increased incidence of floods and droughts and more severe temperature
invasions, which will aggravate air pollution problems.
42. South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. As such South Africa recognises the severe
risks posed to the planet by global warming and is committed to playing its part as a global
citizen to take necessary action to respond to the challenge of climate change. South Africa
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acknowledges that the solution to climate change crisis requires concerted action on a global
scale and that all countries share responsibility for the future.
43. South Africa is committed to work towards the achievement of a global agreement on
climate change that ensures a balance between climate action and sustainable
development, prioritise both adaptation and mitigation and that has high levels of ambition in
order to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change.
44. South Africa would play its part in reducing its greenhouse gas emission by ensuring that
as a developing country it will undertake mitigation actions (to reduce further emissions) in a
manner that is appropriate to its national circumstances, including its sustainable
development objectives and its imperative to address poverty eradication and achieve
45. Furthermore, South Africa would want to see equivalent levels of support for adaptation
action (to reduce the damage caused by warming), including financing, technology transfer
and capacity building.
46. South Africa has participated in the UNFCCC processes, done a substantial amount of
work to meet its commitments in terms of the Convention and the Protocol and has also
taken forward the challenge of determining what national action is necessary to address
47. Specifically, South Africa has produced an initial Greenhouse Gas Inventory (base year
1990) in 2004, and has now updated this and is completing its second Greenhouse Gas
Inventory (base year 2000). It has produced a first National Communication that was
submitted to the UNFCCC. It is also an active participant in the Clean Development
Mechanism (a mechanism by which annex 1 Parties can invest in emission reduction
projects in developing countries and receive credit for the emission reductions). South Africa
has also produced The Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS), National Climate Change
Response Policy, and the National Climate Change Response Green Paper 2010 (Annex E).
THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON MILITARY OPERATIONS
48. Climate change can cause very unstable natural phenomena which may require the
assistance of the military. These phenomena need to be identified in order to compile and
test contingency plans.
49. Climate change is critically and extremely affecting the lives and livelihoods of people
mostly in developing countries, increasing vulnerability to poverty and social deprivation. Its
impact is exaggerated by the limited human, institutional and financial resources available in
such nations for anticipating and responding to the direct and indirect effects of climate
50. More frequent and more severe droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels, more
destructive tropical cyclones and changes in precipitation patterns are expected to have
wide-ranging consequences for human health, food production and food security, access to
drinking water and human habitat, particularly in coastal areas.
51. Rising global temperatures will increase resource scarcity, particularly regarding water
and arable land for food production. This is likely to lead to greater migratory movements,
which could cause conflicts, both within and between countries. Demand for essential
resources has already exacerbated fundamental social, political and economic tensions,
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contributing to violent conflicts in places such as Sudan, Chad, Somalia or the Central
52. Environmental migration is a new category of refugees or internally displaced persons
(IDPs) leaving lands at risk, either voluntarily or because of government coercion. Rising sea
levels that damage coastal regions through flooding and erosion, desertification and
shrinking freshwater could create millions of environmental refugees.
53. It is argued that conflicts of migration and resource wars will in the near future take
place. For instance Africa, due to a 2-5°C temperature increase as the 21st century unfolds,
will experience increased desertification, water stress and disease.
54. The rising sea levels could bring massive potential dislocation to delta regions in
Bangladesh, China, Egypt and Nigeria, whilst on the other hand a drying out of continental
interiors will lead to migration and tension too. Therefore, if the consequences of climate
change increase, there will be new and more acute humanitarian crises that can lead to
regional instability, especially more conflicts not only between nations and states, but also
within states and regions, and between the different tribes.
55. The retreat of glacial ice in the arctic zone may be the cause for confrontation in the
scramble for new resources. Consequently, Peace Support Operations and humanitarian
operations will become significant measures to respond to the consequences of climate
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE SANDF
56. Operations conducted by the SANDF must therefore take cognisance of the following
a) Relief operations will be multinational and therefore will require more cooperation in
command, control, and communications and even in other areas such as doctrine,
training, equipping of forces and supply of information. This will place a burden on
the availability of communications infrastructure as well as the cooperation of the
local population in the area.
b) Any landward operation, such as a peace support operation, under local conditions
with limited infrastructure, socio-economic complexities and long logistic routes will
face challenges such as availability of portable water, food and human security.
c) Support in urban operations will take place in growing urban populations and conflict
may occur in densely populated areas. Globalisation will manifest itself in an even
greater movement of people, information, goods and capital across Africa,
undermining the state and national identity. In Africa this has a profound effect due
to weak economical infrastructures to handle the mass migration of people in the
long term. An increase of people will also place stress on existing infrastructure.
d) Humanitarian support will be needed to alleviate the impact of natural disasters,
poverty, conflict, disease and lack of infrastructure that will inevitably accompany any
e) The health status of SANDF members must be monitored long after the members
have returned home, because of the change in infectious zones of the different
diseases. The SANDF must take cognisance of the total health environment,
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including emerging and re-emerging diseases, drugs, drug resistant pathogens and
their effects, the ability of health infrastructure/resources/skills to facilitate health
service delivery and possible effects on the planning, funding and conduct of
operations. Preventative procedures should be in place because of the possible
change in disease zones.
f) Climate change will remain a contentious issue and will demand flexibility not only
from government institutions, but also from defence forces to be able to operate in
complex, rural, rugged and urban areas, mostly with a poor infrastructure that can
change quickly after any natural disasters. The ability to react rapidly with light and
mobile forces over vast distances will remain paramount. Reliable long-distance
transport, by land, air and sea, is essential in order to deploy and sustain forces in
light of the challenges.
THE UNITED NATIONS TRAINING SYSTEM FOR DISASTER RELIEF OPERATIONS
57. The General Assembly Resolution 46/182 created the UN Department of Humanitarian
Affairs (DHA), which was renamed in 2002 into Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) to mobilise and coordinate the collective efforts of the international
community to meet in a coherent and timely manner the needs of those exposed to human
suffering and material destruction in disasters and emergencies.
58. For these missions OCHA has a wide array of tools, as the United Nations Disaster
Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) stand by teams, Military Civil Defence Assets
(MCDA), OSOCC, Situation Reports, Appeals, Channelling of funds, Emergency Grants,
Warehouse, Assistance Environmental Emergencies etc.
59. The UNDAC system operates on request by the affected country in all kinds of
emergencies, floods, earthquakes, forest fires, hurricanes, mud slides, environmental
problems, but also to complex emergencies (refugee problems like in Chad).
60. To reach more interoperability in these issues, countries need to conduct more
international trainings, and also prepare military members more on humanitarian operations.
61. In conclusion, climate change has come to be realised globally as no longer solely an
environmental issue, rather it has become a human security issue encompassing political,
economic, social and security issue. Its impact has an enormous consequence on human
62. The significance and challenges of Climate change has led to the establishment of the
UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. South Africa being a signatory to both legislations
recognises the challenges of climate change; therefore, it has also developed its own
national policies to address climate change. The department of Environmental Affairs is a
lead department in this matter. The department of Defence therefore, need to be well
informed about progress of the climate change negotiations and internal new policies
developed to address climate change because it would be expected to play a significantly
supportive role in addressing the consequences and aftermath of such events.
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