US-Sri Lanka Partnership: 2023 Indo-Pacific Environmental Security Forum
The 12th annual Indo-Pacific Environmental Security Forum (IPESF), the first ever hosted by the Sri Lanka Navy and sponsored by the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), brought together environmental security stakeholders from across the Asia-Pacific region, from August 14-17. The Forum, with participation from 28 countries, fostered cooperative problem-solving under the theme “Environmental Resilience through Cooperation” a US Embassy Colombo press release said yesterday.
It said: The event highlighted the commitment of the United States and Sri Lanka to fostering resilient communities, preserving natural resources, and fortifying the foundations of a secure Indo-Pacific region, while addressing climate security, resource sustainability, multilateral cooperation, and environmental security transformation.
United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, shared in her opening remarks on Monday: “Our vision of the world is one where all countries, big and small, have opportunities for success and stability. Whether you’re sitting in Fiji or Australia or Mongolia or Sri Lanka, we are all vulnerable. We are seeing this year record-setting weather extremes hitting countries around the world, where everyone is feeling that impact. Recent droughts here in Sri Lanka are impacting food security. It is imperative that we come together to share knowledge and find creative ways to address these common challenges.”
Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera said: “No matter the advances we make and achieve through technology and innovation, it’s more than evident that nature is always ahead with her unique surprises, and man needs to be more circumspect. Hence, as cognitive beings we need to pursue a path of rationale behaviour forging a relationship that would ensure the sustainment of our civilization and the environment alike.”
Throughout the four-day event, participants engaged in presentations, panel discussions, and interactive group activities, fostering an environment of knowledge sharing and best practice dissemination covering subjects such as climate change, land security, maritime and water security, and urbanization’s security effects. By embracing a holistic approach to environmental security, the IPESF facilitated the development of actionable plans to address pressing environmental challenges. Project development and workgroup development workshops were instrumental in generating strategies to enhance environmental resilience and security across the region.
The Indo-Pacific Environmental Security Forum (IPESF), launched in 2010 by USINDOPACOM, is an annual event focused on fostering regional cooperation, knowledge sharing, and collaborative action to address environmental challenges that impact national and regional security. Hosted by different nations across the Indo-Pacific, the forum brings together experts, policymakers, military officials, and stakeholders to develop actionable plans for environmental resilience and security. The 2024 Indo-Pacific Environmental Security Forum will be held in Vanuatu.