The question of security is complex. Which areas are involved and how can we strengthen human security? Mr. Robin Marsh, Secretary General of UPF UK, moderated the session.
Professor Akiko Yamanaka, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, emphasized how political dynamics have changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Now there is a scramble for natural resources, tornadoes, nuclear accidents, financial crisis. The Middle East problem is getting worse. The nature of security has changed since the end of the Cold War. Security is increasingly complex and multifaceted, including environmental and social dimensions and their interlinkage. Even the USA, the sole super power, cannot function without cooperation with other states. She introduced the concept of preventative diplomacy, using non violent means of resolving international conflicts. She quoted Aristotle's statement that “It is more difficult to organize peace than to win a war.”
Ms. Kerstin Schultz, Researcher from the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research in Stockholm, spoke on the increasing number of civilian casualties in conflicts. In World War I, there were 10% civilian casualties, in World War II 45-50%, in some recent conflicts more than 90% of the victims were civilians. It is essential in peacebuilding to restore civil society. Unemployed young men are easy to recruit for warfare. In some countries it is dangerous to socialize outside your own ethnic group. Poverty eradication should be given preference over military spending. Also, women must receive more attention. UN Resolution 1325 highlights the situation of women in armed conflicts. Women in Africa organize themselves across ethnic borders. One was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. For the text of her presentation, click here.
Ms. Carolyn Handschin, President of Women's Federation for World Peace in Europe, said that the emphasis of human security must be inclusive. In a culture of peace, we cannot just focus on the externals; we have to embrace the citizens in our culture of peace. A good concept is: If I have something, someone elssajide also should have it. We often speak of the society and the individuals, but the family is a bridge that can build peace in the world and peace in the individual. It is a system that minimizes the need for an intricate legal systems and enforcement.
Ms. Isabel Hillestad, from the Institute of Family Policy in Oslo, spoke about the family situation in Europe. The birthrate has fallen in Europe, and today those who are over 65 outnumber those who are under 14, a situation that could eventually lead to the bankruptcy of the welfare state. The family is a basic condition for peace. There is a destabilizing of the family in Europe, with an aging population, a critically low birthrate, and escalating number of abortions. The family is the antidote to individualism. We need a culture that is favorable to the family and motherhood.