APEC Human Security Seminar
Implementation of the Human Security Related Mandate from Leaders and Ministers
Tokyo, Japan, 6 October 2005
Welcoming and Opening Remarks
The APEC Human Security Seminar was opened with remarks by Mr. Yukio Takasu, Japan's Ambassador for Human Security. He reminded us that Japan's initiative for human security goes back to the Asian financial crisis of 1997. Since then, it gradually evolved to become one of the most important pillars of Tokyo's diplomacy. This can be shown by the fact that early on, Japan established the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (1999) and the Commission on Human Security (2000). Amb. Takasu then stressed that genuine prosperity in the APEC region will only be possible when everybody enjoys security. He also made a few suggestions on how to move the agenda forward. He encouraged APEC economies to develop common approaches, based on the human security perspective, to fight HIV/AIDS, avian flu and human trafficking. Projects could be developed and be implemented through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security by relevant international organizations including UN regional commissions such as the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Ms. Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, President of Japan International Cooperation Agency, delivered the keynote speech. She emphasized that in our globalized world, threats affect all of us equally. Human security is thus important because it allows people to better face those threats. Since the early days, she reminded us, the challenge has been to find ways to operationalize this new concept. Ms. Ogata's experience as High Commissioner for Refugees in the 90s made her realize not only how important human security was, but also how its implementation required the collaboration of a wide number or actors from numerous and varied sectors (Amb. Takasu concurred). Ms. Ogata mentioned three agendas for human security: security, peacebuilding and development. She finally encouraged all of us to move beyond a piece-meal, compartmentalized approach.
Mr. Suvidhya Simaskul, Ambassador of Thailand to Japan, explained the objective of the Seminar, which was to chart an integrated approach in implementing the Leaders' mandate on human security. He emphasized that addressing human security challenges is necessary for winning confidence and ensuring economic prosperity. He said Thailand is in a privileged position to be a facilitator for the exchange of ideas on this issue between various fora. As the present Chair of the Human Security Network, Thailand is pursuing a balanced agenda between freedom from want and freedom from fear, with a particular emphasis on people-centered development.
AGENDA 1 - Human Security in the Context of APEC: a Review of the Mandate of the Leaders and Ministers
- Mr. Hiroshi Minami from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Mr. Chutintorn Gongsakdi from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand reviewed the development of human security related activities in APEC. They recall that security was first mentioned in 1993 at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Blake Island, when leaders outlined their "shared vision of achieving stability, security and prosperity for our peoples";
- For delegates' information, Mr. Minami introduced Japan's efforts on human security under UN and other frameworks, including the creation of the UN Human Security Trust Fund (1999) followed by contribution of US$ 256m to 130 projects. Applicants are encouraged to work with other groups and agencies. Cross sectoral projects are favored. Emphasis is put on post conflict regions. Moreover, he pointed out the following tasks. First, the human security concept must be further explored, better understood and widely disseminated. Second, new ways to mainstream it and ensure it is widely applied across international organizations and programs should be explored. Some delegates pointed out that there is a clear distinction between the two concepts of human security within the different frameworks of APEC and UN, and that we should not mix them;
- APEC activities to advance human security have evolved over the years, responding to concerns over the need for social safety nets, emergency preparedness, emerging infectious diseases, energy security and counter-terrorism. At the last two Leaders' and Ministers' meetings, APEC reiterated its commitments towards human security which are considered to be complementary and necessary to meet APEC's goals and vision. Participants also recognized the need for a flexible approach empowering people as well to improve cooperation within the region and with relevant international organizations.
- It was argued that human security advocates both the protection (top-down) and empowerment (bottom-up) of the people. Introducing the concept on the ground can be likened to building a village. The goal is to build not just a house or a road, but a full-fledged community;
- It was pointed out that the APEC activities on human security should complement and support the economic agenda. In order to avoid negative effects against trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, building capacity on human security was stressed;
- In the Seminar, some participants were of the view that the definition of human security should be further explored and developed within APEC; meanwhile others believe that APEC should continue to focus on actions rather than definitions;
- Dr. Robert Lawson from Foreign Affairs Canada noted the links between cities and human security. Cities are a crossroad of cultures and new ideas, but also of poverty and, sometimes, violent crime. Human security is intertwined with health security: in Asian cities, more than 500 000 people die of diseases related to pollution every year. A billion people currently live in city slums and this number will double by 2030;
- The development of rural areas was also identified as a key challenge since the development of agriculture was an important factor in the creation of the Asian miracle;
AGENDA 2 - Human Security Related Activities in APEC
- Mr. Daniel Espiritu from Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines briefed the meeting of the work of Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) established to address this threat of terrorism. He pointed out that economy in the APEC region is among the first casualties of a terrorist attack, as seen by the devastating impact it recently had on the tourism industry in Bali. It was recommended that CTTF should work closely related APEC sub-fora such as Tourism Working Group to examine the impact of terrorist act to local tourism industry. The objective of CTTF is to improve coordination of APEC's counter-terrorism agenda and, more broadly, amongst APEC economies and APEC fora and sub-fora, share best-practices, strengthen capacity-building efforts and recommend specific projects to senior officials;
- Some of the CTTF's priorities: enhance the movement of goods and people through secure trade in the APEC region; stem the financing of terrorism and money laundering; promote, inter alia, cyber-security and health security. To achieve these goals, the Task Force is promoting closer cooperation with ASEAN, the UN, G8, IMF, ADB or the World Bank. Mr. Espiritu also suggested that we should do more to encourage the signing and ratification of international counter-terrorism conventions, including the International Convention for the Suppression of the Fiancing of Terrorism as well as other legal instruments of the same nature;
- Ambassador Herjianto Soeprapto from Department of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia briefed the meeting of the work of newly re-established Task Force on Emergency Preparedness (TFEP). He mentioned that emergency preparedness is another important challenge faced by the APEC region. Our collaboration should find its source not only in the economic sphere, but also in the solidarity, friendship and sense of community of all our members;
- The creation of TFEP was to coordinate efforts in this area. It's activities will include, inter alia, communication and outreach as well as the establishment of an early warning system;
- The TFEP has already identified a number of gaps in the current structure. For example, coordination and communication within the APEC region is insufficient. So are those in existing domestic and regional emergency preparedness frameworks. Sectoral emergency preparedness capacity-building must also be improved.
Informal Meeting on Avian Flu
Mr Shigeru Omi, Regional Director at the WHO for the Eastern Pacific Regional Office on Avian Influenza, explained the challenges faced by APEC economies when it comes to fighting avian flu. To prepare as best as possible, he made four recommendations. First, he encouraged all economies to promptly and efficiently share information. Collaboration with health, agriculture and other organizations should be improved. Second, economies should increase public awareness. Third, initiatives to reduce the risk for transmission to human, such as improved farming practices, should also be explored. Finally, we should find ways to better prepare for possible pandemics by encouraging the development of vaccines and the stockpiling of anti-viral drugs.
The participants found the seminar timely and useful for developing future work by APEC in the area of human security. During the wrap-up session, the importance of the following points were stressed:
- Human security has become a prominent feature of the APEC agenda;
- Ensuring that APEC activities on human security should complement and support the economic agenda;
- Building capacity for development through a human-centered approach;
- Developing a common approach and appropriate joint programs related to the implementation of the human security related mandate from Leaders and Ministers, on issues such as counter-terrorism, social safety net, HIV/AIDS, and natural disaster preparedness from the viewpoint of enhancing human security;
- Enhancing preparedness to new threats. Avian influenza, human trafficking and the impact of terrorism on economies, including tourism industry, were suggested as possible areas for cooperation;
- Working closely and coordinating with relevant international organizations and fora to avoid duplication;
- In the context of the up-coming APEC Ministers and Leaders' meetings in Busan, Korea emphasized that human security should continue to be recognized as a key APEC component.
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