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By Dialogo August 20, 2010 At the April 2009 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, leaders of the Western Hemisphere underscored that energy and climate change are among the most important issues confronting our future and they reaffirmed their commitment to work together towards a clean energy future. Responding to these shared challenges, U.S. President Barack Obama invited all governments in the Western Hemisphere to join in an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). “We can strengthen the foundation of our prosperity and our security and our environment through a new partnership on energy. We must now come together to find new ways to produce and use energy so that we can create jobs and protect our planet,” President Obama said. Since then, the U.S. Department of Energy, in conjunction with ECPA, has worked with several Latin American countries to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment for economic growth, energy security, poverty relief, and disaster recovery goals. Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico have worked to promote greater understanding of renewable energy and energy efficiency. This past week, civil and military leaders throughout Latin America gathered in Lima, Peru for a roundtable discussion on “Low Carbon Sustainable Economies: Perspectives for South America and Civil-Military Collaboration. The conference, organized in conjunction with the U.S. Southern Command, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Energy, enabled participants to exchange information and ideas on the most pressing issues related to climate change mitigation in South America, as well as identify opportunities for medium to long term civil-military collaboration. Conference attendees were put into panels and asked to discuss topics such as environmental trends in the region and the security concerns related to it, civil-military collaboration opportunities, and military support to civilian authorities (such as climate related disaster response). “Climate change and energy are two key issues that play a significant role in shaping the future security environment,” said Major General Hernan Valdivia of the Peruvian Joint Staff. “While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerator of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.” Other topics discussed included a demonstration of information sharing technology such as the All-Partners Access Network (APAN), country reports from the attendees on the initiatives in their respective countries; as well what opportunities are available for public and private NGO’s in addressing climate change.