Dr Martin Wall

School of History

School of History

Dr Martin Wall graduated from the School of History in UCC in 2012 with a PhD focusing on Irish and European Economic Community relations in the 1970s. Following roles with the European Commission and the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster where he worked closely with the Irish Naval Service, Martin was awarded a Marie Curie CAROLINE Award to explore civil/military approaches to humanitarian crises in the context of climate change. He will work with the German NGO adelphi for the first two years of the project before returning to the School of History in year three.  

In September 2016 President Barack Obama directed all state agencies to include climate change as an issue in national security documents. He was referring to the force that climate change can be in exacerbating situations in vulnerable locations around the world.  

This project will explain how military resources are being used to deal with emergency humanitarian crises that are increasingly familiar as a result of climate change. It will assess if all factors are accounted for by assessing the cooperation from the perspectives of (i) the state, (ii) human rights based approach and (iii) gender, religion and race.  

The project reflects the changing role of militaries who are now not only expected to perform duties related to the defence of the state against foreign aggressors but also monitoring, policing, fighting against criminal activities, rescue missions and assisting in humanitarian crises. Militaries are deployed to deal with incidents from natural disasters (such as US troops in Haiti after the 2016 hurricane) and migration (such as the deployment of European Union (EU) naval resources in the Mediterranean). 

The consequences for civil-military relations in this is that the line of competency is increasingly blurred. The decision of Medecins Sans Frontieres to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2004 citing efforts by the military to use humanitarian aid to build support for political and military aims suggests that this is not always regarded as a positive outcome. The questions are, can political aims be separated from aid and how can militaries adapt their training to take into account issues of gender, religion and race when responding to emergency humanitarian events? 

This is not a phenomenon that is purely of scholarly interest. With the likelihood of this type of conflict becoming more frequent, policy makers need to understand how current models using a whole of government approach can be improved.  

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