Statement by Mr. Yukio Takasu, Director-General of Multilateral Cooperation Department, at the Third Intellectual Dialogue on Building Asia's Tomorrow
Toward Effective Cross-sectorial Partnership to Ensure Human Security in a Globalized World

June 19, 2000 Bangkok

Mr. Chairman,
As a strong advocate of human security in Japan, I am particularly pleased to participate in this intellectual dialogue on building Asia's tomorrow.

Today I would like to discuss two questions: what approach should we take on human security, and how might we best promote partnership among different actors in ensuring human security.

When we discuss effective cross-sectorial partnership, it is essential to establish a common understanding of the concept of human security. This requirement becomes especially acute when we move forward to globalizing such intellectual dialogue.

Reviewing the discussions held during the previous rounds of the intellectual dialogue and listening to the stimulating discussions at the current session, I am gratified that a broader view of human security is generally shared among the circle of participants. The selection of topics for discussion such as economic crisis, social capital and environmental degradation, define the main areas of human security concern among intellectuals in this region. However, this view of human security is not necessarily universally shared.

Human security may be defined as the preservation and protection of the life and dignity of individual human beings. Japan holds the view, as do many other countries, that human security can be ensured only when the individual is confident of a life free of fear and free of want.

On the other hand, some countries seem to focus solely on freedom from fear. In the post-cold war era, in particular, peoples in many parts of the world have been entangled in intra-state conflict situations or living in so-called failed states. In these circumstances, the survival and dignity of individuals are seriously threatened; their security can hardly be ensured without the strong assistance from the international community. Japan wholeheartedly supports and cooperates with international efforts toward that end, in such areas as clearing anti-personnel landmines, controlling small arms, international criminal tribunals, and preventing the conscription of child soldiers. However, the concept of human security defined as freedom from fear has been used by some as justification for humanitarian intervention in the wake of massive human rights violations within a country. Humanitarian intervention can take various forms, ranging from persuasion, good offices, public expression of concern, sanctions, to intervention by use of force. The use of force for humanitarian intervention is an extremely controversial issue and requires careful examination, not only on moral and political but also on legal grounds.

I do not personally associate myself with the sweeping argument that human security concerns transcend national sovereignty and a serious threat to human security warrants intervention by force even without authorization by the Security Council. That this, in my view ill-conceived concept of human security has emerged in some quarters is a factor that should be borne in mind when we discuss measures to broaden cross-sectorial partnership on a global basis.

I believe that freedom from want is no less critical than freedom from fear. In his statement last September at the UNGA, Minister Surin asked, "can we fully enjoy freedom from fear without having freedom from want?" He answered his own question by stating that, "human beings will begin to enjoy genuine security only if they are able to have a chance to make a living, . . . to stand on their own feet, to have equal opportunities to develop their livelihoods and to make their own decisions about their own future."

Japan's understanding of human security is very similar to the comprehensive and inclusive concept originally advocated by UNDP in its 1994 human development report, which gives equal priority to freedom from fear (of violence, violations of human rights, crime, drugs) and freedom from want (including poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation). We are pleased that the UN SG's Report on the Millennium Summit espouses a similarly broad view.

As a concrete contribution to the promotion of human security, and at the initiative of then PM Obuchi, Japan facilitated the establishment of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security in March 1999, to which it has already contributed more than $90 million (9.7 billion Yen).

This Fund is made available to assist UN agencies and bodies (such as ESCAP, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, etc) in implementing worthwhile projects aimed at addressing various human security concerns. It has already assisted many projects in the Asian region, e.g., a community support project by ESCAP, a UNFPA project relating to reproductive health in the Philippines, an FAO project to supply seeds in East Timor, a UNDP medical training project in Tajikistan.

Thus, Japanese approach to human security can be summarized as follows:

First, human security should be understood as a comprehensive and inclusive concept, and that threats to human security differ from country to country and from individual to individual.

Second, our main efforts should be placed on taking concrete actions and implementing projects that address specific human security concerns.

Mr. Chairman,
Having stated Japan's approach to human security, I would now like to discuss how to promote partnership among different actors.

The objective of human security is to ensure that individual human beings have the chance to lead healthy lives with dignity and to develop their potential capabilities to the fullest extent. It is, therefore, primarily the responsibility of the individual to do his or her best to overcome any impediment and to try to fulfill his or her potential to lead a happy life.

It is the responsibility of the government, however, to provide a foundation or environment that will enable individuals without restrictions to fulfill their own responsibilities.

Nevertheless, in this age of intensified globalization, it is increasingly difficult for governments to respond to the needs of socially vulnerable people who have not been able to take full advantage of the benefits of globalization. And no single government can on its own cope with multifaceted global challenges.

This brings me to the complementary role of non-state actors, that is, members of civil society who are close at hand and familiar with the specific requirements of their fellow citizens. They are better equipped to interact directly with individuals to address their specific concerns. The democratization process in many parts of world has also contributed to opening up opportunities for civil society to play an important role in addressing people's concerns and aspirations. Professor Tae-kyu Park, in his very interesting presentation, discussed the positive evolution of civil society in Korea after the economic crisis of 1997-1998 as a credible political and social force and an indispensable partner in decision-making. Similarly, Doctor Mochammad Maksum told us that since the political reformation in Indonesia the civil society has played a more prominent role, politically and socially promoting human security among the poor and most vulnerable members of society.

Increasingly, as its performance is judged by the extent to which it seriously and effectively deals with human security concerns, any government must inevitably extend its hand of partnership to non-state actors including intellectuals, academics, think tanks, community leaders, trade unions, non-governmental organizations, and members of the business community. Such partnerships can take many different forms at the local, district, national as well as at the regional and international levels, but with the common aim of promoting an environment conducive to individual empowerment and development.

The case studies presented at the current session yield interesting insights into those factors that determine the success or failure of a cross-sectorial partnership. The case studies of Thailand's social investment fund and that in Indonesia has made successful advances in meeting the needs of individual human security concern by engaging the active participation of various sectors of civil society.

The core principles for successful partnership such as better governance, community participation, the empowerment of individuals, new partnerships for development and greater public awareness are all relevant in promoting cross-sectorial partnerships for human security.

On the other hand, the case study on the environment and regional cooperation in Asia describes a rather disappointing state of affairs that actual interstate cooperation is severely limited where environmental issues are not receiving high national priorities. There are, however, many cooperative projects under way in Asia to tackle environmental issues of which the authors of the report may not be aware. Nevertheless, the report has value in pointing out that without the political will and commitment of respective governments, there is a severe limit as to what non-state actors can do. I agree, therefore, that it is necessary to urge intellectuals and experts to use their influence to strengthen regional cooperation on the environment. As a way of calling political and popular attention to the importance of environmental cooperation it may be useful to urge governments in the region to host a major environmental conference, a "Rio plus 10" in 2002 in Asia.

Mr. Chairman,
These case studies and the discussions this morning teach us that in order to effectively promote cross-sectorial partnership among different actors, we should be clear as to their respective roles; political leaders, policy makers, intellectuals and opinion leaders, NGOs, business communities, trade unions, etc.

The comparison of the respective roles of various state and non-state actors underscores the importance of the role of the intellectuals and policymakers particularly in the light of the evolving concept of human security I mentioned earlier. It is the task of intellectuals and opinion leaders to review and analyse major global trends from a broad historical perspective and to present directions which policy makers should follow in formulating policy measures. They are also called upon to raise public understanding of human security concerns. The role of international organizations and institutions also cannot be overemphasized.

Here, in an attempt to build upon the progress so far made in this dialogue process, I would like to offer three suggestions for future course of action.

First, that non-state sector members in this intellectual dialogue, in particular, intellectuals be invited to engage more actively with political leaders and policymakers in the respective countries in order to place human security concerns high in the national agenda and to deepen regional cooperation on specific human security issues which is to be selected. I am personally interested in education, human resource managements. Regional organizations such as ESCAP, ADB, ASEAN may be invited to participate in such process.

Second, that strong and additional support should be given, upon request, to promote and strengthen still fragile NGOs in this region.

Third, that a global intellectual network on human security be created. We should try to broaden our discussion to include other parts of the world.

In my discussion, I have emphasized the importance of bringing non state sectors into the effort to meet many human security concerns. In so doing, however, it has not been my intention to suggest that the role of government will diminish in a human-centered world. The defense of territory and the protection of human life and dignity will always be the essential responsibility of government. Indeed, efforts by non-state actors will be futile unless they have the support of government. Ultimately, human security will be promoted more effectively in an environment where good governance prevails, and where the government in power keeps human security concerns at the center of its national policy.

Mr. Chairman,
In conclusion, I believe that the outcome of our deliberations during the current session will be of particular relevance to the political process in such fora as the upcoming Kyushu/Okinawa Summit in July where many human security concern will be highlightened and the UN Millennium Summit in September. To bridge the two, Japan will play to host international symposium in Tokyo in July.

Japan, for its part, will do its utmost to promote and mainstream human security in this increasingly globalized world.

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