Climate change, environmental degradation, and health hazards are emerging threats to security: Defence CS says

Defence Cabinet Secretary (CS), Amb. Raychelle Omamo. [File, Standard]

Climatical changes, environmental degradation, and health security hazards have been cited as major security threats emerging in Kenya today.

Speaking in Kwale, the Defence Cabinet Secretary (CS), Amb. Raychelle Omamo said these non-traditional security challenges continue to threaten State and international peace.

“These challenges keep escalating in the globalised world and have now become decisive factors in the security realm acting either as precursors to conflict or threat multipliers,” said Amb. Omamo.

She spoke in Matuga, Kwale County where she officially closed the Third Swift Eagle 2019 joint training exercise at the Kenya School of Government over the weekend.

The training involved troops from Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) and the newly formed Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS).

“We have incorporated the Kenya Coast Guard Service into the exercise in recognition of the complex dynamic and unstable security environment which calls for all hands on the deck,” said CS Omamo.

The CS further said that maritime security challenges, threats arising from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and cybersecurity are some of the major threats mutating in the last decade threatening human security.

“These trainings will no doubt enhance our ability to respond coherently to the prevailing security challenges,” she said.

She urged the security stakeholders involved to ensure their readiness in tackling security challenges as they evolve.

“While conflict, prevention and peacekeeping continue to be the most visible effort in the maintenance of international peace and security, line agencies need to transform and continually adapt their capabilities to provide upstream solutions to these emerging challenges,” she said.

The two-week training was meant to consolidate a mutual trust between the two nations, which was enhanced by the interactions between personnel allowing a diverse and cross-cultural learning experience.

The Chief of Defence Forces General (CDF), General Samson Mwathethe said the collaboration was geared towards addressing common security challenges and learning from each other in a modern-day operating environment.

“It is evident the merging of the two countries has undergone a major transformation. Activities learnt included seminar-based training, development of tactical and operational concepts and outdoor training activities,” said Gen. Mwathethe.

The CDF added that the need to work with JAF was also due to the contemporary trends from terrorism and other increasingly transnational threats.

“We decided to work with Jordanian Armed Forces as we share the same threats. Kenya has for a very long time had an issue of Al Shabab threat alongside refugees, which applies to Jordan,” he said.

The troops also conducted a Community Social Responsibility task in partnership with the Kwale County government, organizing a medical camp for the local community in Matuga.

During the launch of the event Gen. Mwathethe said they chose the coast region to widen on the scope of scenarios to be stimulated and exercised.

The KDF team has been conducting training exercises within the county and part of the exercise was to renovate and donate medical equipment to the Matuga health facility.

The first forum of this kind was conducted in 2016 in Nairobi while the second one was held in Quweira in Jordan.