6th Annual Security Challenges in Latin America Forum
05 Apr 2024

On April 4, 2024, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies partnered with Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and The Wilson Center to host the 6th Annual Security Challenges in Latin America Forum–Environmental Protection: Land Use in the Amazon Basin and Marine Conservation in Washington, DC. The forum addressed environmental protection in the Americas, with a special focus on land use and illegal deforestation, the role of armed forces and law enforcement in protecting the environment, and threats to marine diversity, such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The urgency of the topics drew high-level participation, including an address by the President of Guyana and Perry Center alum, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali; a keynote by the former Environment and Energy Minister of Costa Rica and current Global Environment Facility CEO/Chairperson, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez; and 20 senior-level officials and experts from the USG, NGOs, academia, and private sector. In his opening remarks, Perry Center Director Paul J. Angelo urged, “The amazing beauty and biodiversity found in the landscapes of the Americas are our collective responsibility to protect and maintain.”

In his address, President Ali called for a global valuation of conservation and highlighted the inextricable links between natural and national security. He stressed that protecting, preserving, and maintaining the Amazon Basin and Caribbean ecosystems is a matter of global significance and gravity. He also affirmed that “with each challenge, the human spirit offers tremendous room for innovation and opportunity. A fair, inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous world is possible for the Amazon, the Caribbean, and the global ecosystem. It is within reach.”

SAIS Faculty Co-Lead and Lecturer Dr. Jim Marckwardt’s moderated discussion with Carlos Manuel Rodriguez highlighted strategies to reduce deforestation and IUU fishing. Former minister Rodriguez underscored that climate action and environmental protection are urgent global priorities, delivering a moving call to action closing this year’s forum.

More than 200 people attended the forum in person and the 181 Perry Center alumni and regional partners joined virtually from 24 countries.

Associated Event
6th Annual Security Challenges in Latin American Forum