Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) organized a second workshop on 19 July focusing on three main principal subjects within the context of civil-military coordination (CMcoord) guidelines and concepts including briefing on civil-military roles and responsibilities (CIMIC), membership in INSARAG and UNDAC network, and potential cooperation with foreign military assets when deployed in case of disaster to assist Iran. A number of key senior officials and military officers from TDMMO (Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization), NDMO (National Disaster Management Organization), Army, PDO (Passive Defense Organization), Basij, IRGC attended the workshop whose main responsibilities were coordination of military assets and support for civilian activities in time natural disasters in Iran. The event was opened by Major General Mansourian, Deputy for Operations and led by Mr. Barmaki, the Head of OCHA throughout the day.
The subject of communication, coordination, and management of foreign military assets in case of disaster and role of UN and the Government of Iran were at the center of the discussion. As Iranian military is one of the key players in disaster management, OCHA firstly called for more communication and unification between them and all Iran’s disaster-related organization such as, NDMO and Red Crescent. Secondly, he introduced various UN advanced international tools and systems (UNITAR SAT, GDAC) that could help Iran strengthen its internal and external capacity in field of disaster management. Moreover, few examples and cases were shown to familiarize the participants with the way in which these mechanisms work.
A significant time was spent on briefing and explaining about military structures, particularly the CIMIC unit in various military systems such as the U.S, Canada and NATO. One of the participants raised the point that Iran used to also have an active civil-military organization before the revolution but it was replaced by Basij popular movement known as “Army and people Pillar” after revolution. The last part of the workshop was devoted to some made-up scenarios designed by OCHA as a way to create a real-life situation for participants and more importantly to test their communication, coordination, and decision-making skills within the context of civil-military coordination during the time of a natural and manmade disasters.
At the end of the workshop session, OCHA and PDO expressed their willingness to look into possibilities of collaboration with international community as a way to exchange best practices and lesson learned in field of natural and manmade disaster. For instance, it was raised that Japan could also be a beneficial partner as Iran can learn about their experience and knowledge of the way in which they managed and coordinated nuclear crisis resulting from Fukushima’s earthquake.
Story by: Younes Zangiabadi