Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt’s Remarks at the Gobi Wolf 2016 Opening Ceremony

AMBASSADOR GALT: Senior Advisor Mr. Dash, Brigadier General Badral, Major General Sukhbat, Brigadier General Sargent, distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman good morning.

It is a great pleasure to be with you this morning on behalf of the United States Embassy to take part in the opening of Gobi Wolf 2016.

I want to especially thank Senior Advisor Dash for the support he and the Government of Mongolia demonstrate by their continued commitment to expanding the close cooperation between our two governments in the area of disaster preparedness and response.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Brigadier General Badral and the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency staff for their efforts to stage this exercise.

I understand the plans for this year’s exercise are comprehensive and forward-leaning in terms of showcasing Mongolian and participating countries’ best practices in disaster preparedness and response.

The U.S. Government is pleased to partner with NEMA on the Gobi Wolf exercise, as well as in other areas and activities that reflect our close collaboration.

I was pleased, for example, to participate in the opening ceremony of the Incident Command System Training conducted by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) this past January.

In addition, OFDA, through a grant to Mercy Corps, is presently working closely with NEMA on the dzud disaster response across Mongolia.

I am particularly pleased that this year’s Gobi Wolf exercise includes partners from across the region and I would like to welcome the many U.S., Japanese, Korean and Nepali civilian and military officials here today and thank you for your efforts in realizing this very important activity.

Finally, I would like to welcome and thank the many heads of agencies and other officials from across the Government of Mongolia for your attendance today and your commitment to preparing your agencies for the unexpected.

Natural disasters are commonplace in Mongolia and indeed everywhere around the world.

We have only to recall the news just this past weekend of the earthquake and tsunami warning in the South Pacific as a reminder of this fact.

The only truly unexpected aspect of earthquakes, forest and steppe fires, dzuds, floods, and drought is not if they will occur, but when and where.

It is thus in the interest of all of us to be ready at all times.

Exercises like Gobi Wolf serve to help gauge the interagency readiness that is so vital to preventing loss of life and easing human suffering during and in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

In disaster circumstances, the international community stands ready and willing to offer additional support, and we are pleased that many non-governmental organizations are participating in this year’s Gobi Wolf exercise as their assistance will also be vital should disaster strike.

We have much to learn from each other and I wish every participant full success in this year’s Gobi Wolf exercise.

I look forward to many future successful Gobi Wolf exercises in the coming years.

And the United States Embassy looks forward to future collaboration with NEMA.

Thank you.