International Symposium on Human Security
"Human Security - Its Role in an Era
of Various Threats to the International Community"
(Summary) *

* This summary in English is the translation of the Japanese summary and the wording is not necessarily the same as what speakers actually used in the symposium.

March 2003

On February 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized an international symposium under the theme of "Human Security - Its role in an era of various threats to the international community" at Akasaka Prince Hotel, in which members of the Commission on Human Security and experts in various fields participated.
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Shinako Tuchiya made opening remarks and a message from the Secretary -General of the United Nations Kofi Annan was read. In closing the symposium, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yoriko Kawaguchi, made a speech stressing the importance of human security and explaining measures that the Japanese Government is going to take.
The significance and outline of the discussions are as follows;

I. Significance

The Commission on Human Security agreed on the Final Report at its fifth meeting held on February 23 and 24. The discussion of the symposium was timely since it was held right after the Commission's meeting. Commissioners introduced the main points of the Report, and commissioners and experts from various field discussed recommendations to the international community, including Japan.

The symposium attracted an audience of about one thousand persons, many of them made such comments as "I deepened my understanding and recognized the importance of human security" and "I was encouraged by Japan's positive efforts." The symposium was successful from the viewpoint of promoting the understanding of participants and gaining their support for the efforts of the Japanese government, which has positioned human security as one of the important perspectives of its foreign policy, toward promoting the concept in the international community.

II. Discussions

Session 1: Human security in conflict

Moderator: Yozo Yokota, Professor, Chuo University
Lead-off: Sadako Ogata, Co-Chair, Commission on Human Security
Bronislaw Geremek, Historian, Former Foreign Minister of Poland
Sonia Picado, President of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights
Surin Pitsuwan, member of Parliament, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand

(1) Sadako Ogata, Co-Chair of the Commission, made a lead-off presentation.

-- With the advance of globalization, it is becoming impossible to protect people through state security alone. It is important to combine the bottom-up approach, meaning the empowerment of people, and the top-down approach, meaning the establishment of judicial and other systems, to realize human security.

-- With regard to conflicts, it is important to have protection and empowerment in three areas - people under a state of conflict, people on the move, and people in the transition from conflict to peace.
-- Global coordination is necessary in cooperation with international organizations and civil society.

(2) Next there were statements by commissioners Bronislaw Geremek, Sonia Picado, and Surin Pitsuwan, in which they cited examples in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, respectively.

  1. Bronislaw Geremek, commissioner

    -- The problem of conflict prevention is directly linked to the problem of disarmament.

    -- Even in conflicts, such principles as humanitarian laws must continuously be applied.

    -- In order to achieve national reconciliation, which is the most difficult problem, it is necessary to have a group consciousness for the elimination of hatred from international and domestic politics.
  2. Sonia Picado, commissioner

    -- As specific examples in Latin American countries, human rights are sometimes violated in the name of state security. In this case, state security means fear. Human security and human rights problems are important.
  3. Surin Pitsuwan, commissioner

    - -As a means of restoring law and order after a conflict, it is important to have cooperation in the international community, to build social systems for health and medical services and others, and to implement confidence-building measures.

    -- It is we ourselves who have the task of promoting human security.

(3) Following these statements, commissioners expressed additional comments and questions from the floor were taken. Lively discussions took place on such issues as whether or not military intervention is permissible for the realization of human security and whether or not it might be difficult for the concept of human security to be accepted in Asian countries because of apprehension of the loss of state sovereignty.

Session 2: Human security and development

Moderator: Hatsuhisa Takashima, Press Secretary, Mnistry of Foreign Affairs
Lead-off: Amartya Sen, Co-Chair, Commission on Human Security
Lincoln Chen Director, Center for Global Equity Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Peter Sutherland, Former Director General of GATT/WTO, Chairman, Goldman Sachs International
Kalman Mizsei, Regional Director, Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

(1) Amartya Sen, Co-Chair of the Commission, made a lead-off presentation.

-- It is necessary to address efforts in the field of health from the perspective of development.

-- It is necessary to consider insecurity linked to education. Also, considering education, it is necessary to focus both on the provision of educational organizations and on contents of education.

-- Rather than looking at the present state of the world in a negative manner, the Commission's report takes the view that there are enormous opportunities.

-- It is necessary for the people of the world to cooperate and make efforts to find solutions, through global communication, to the problems that exist in the world.

-- The report refers to how the problems faced by developing countries should be tackled, such as education, health services, the acquisition of appropriately priced medicine, and the development of drugs for the treatment of diseases.

-- We are living in a world in which the problem of insecurity can be overcome if the opportunity is seized properly. The report suggests what efforts should be made for whatever problem so that the problem of insecurity can be overcome. If other people cannot do something, then people who can do it should do so. That is our responsibility as people living in the same world. It is necessary to tackle problems not only on the individual level but also on the community level, the national level, the multinational level, and the global level.

(2) Next there were statements by commissioners Lincoln Chen and Peter Sutherland, Kalman Mizsei, regional director of the United Nations Development Program, and Bonislaw Geremek, commissioner.

  1. Lincoln Chen, commissioner

    -- Health is the means for protecting the potential for life and achieving human security. It is the goal of human security.

    -- The report looks at the relationship between health and human security in three fields: the problem of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases; threats relating to poverty, such as children's diseases that can be prevented by vaccination and the health of poor women; and the problem of health relating to conflict. As a practical strategy for tackling these health problems, the Commission proposes to mobilize the global community, including civil society, business circles, and other groups.

    -- Now is an era of mutual interdependence. The Commission expresses its hope that health and human security become a global agenda.
  2. Peter Sutherland, commissioner

    -- From the perspective of multilateralism and human security, an organization is necessary that makes decisions based on the principle of promoting development toward the future of humankind. When tackling such major issues as health and poverty, it is desirable that efforts should be made not through a one-nation framework but through a structure of multilateralism.

  3. -- Even though the issue of intellectual property rights is difficult, it should be seen as a forward-looking step toward trade liberalization. Also, agricultural products and textiles should be taken up to provide developing countries with an opportunity for the development.

  4. Kalman Mizsei, regional director, UNDP

    -- Regarding the issue of how the international mechanism should work on the realization of human security from the perspective of the development, the problem is how the international community should be involved in sovereign states for the realization of human security and, in the long term, how the international community should overcome ethnic discrimination within sovereign states.

    -- The report does not overemphasize free distribution, and it is necessary to eliminate excess free distribution. As UN organizations and international organizations tend to be too dependent on free distribution, it is important to see how to avoid dependency trap.
  5. Bonislaw Geremek, commissioner

    -- Education is important for human security, and enabling all people to receive basic education is a priority issue. Regarding educational content, it is important to have education on respect for human rights, mutual respect, and, as a preventive policy, on hatred.

(3) In the question-and-answer session, lively discussions took place on such issues as the handling of the water problem in the report, religion, educational methods concerning ethnic diversity, and activities that Japanese nongovernmental organizations should engage in for the realization of human security.

Session 3: Theory and practice (Presentation)

Moderator: Tadashi Yamamoto, President of Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)
Lead-off: Sonia Picado, President of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights
Surin Pitsuwan, member of Parliament, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
Panelists: Keizo Takemi, Member of House of Councillors, Former State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Kalman Mizsei, Regional Director, Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Kaoru Ishikawa, Director-General, Multilateral Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(1) Commissioners Surin Pitsuwan and Sonia Picado made lead-off presentations.

  1. Surin Pitsuwan, commissioner

    -- As a result of globalization, the equation of cooperative relations has changed, and civil society, such as NGOs, has come to participate as a player. Even though it has been pointed out that NGOs are not chosen legitimate representatives, they are reliable partners and important members. Grass-roots activities consist of an important element of human security.

  2. Sonia Picado, commissioner

    -- Although efficiency is stressed in development assistance, the perspective of equity is also necessary. In particular, the education of women and health programs are important to deal with the problem of women, who are forced to take on an enormous burden.

(2) Next there were statements by Keizo Takemi, member of House of Councillors, Kaoru Ishikawa, Director-General of the Multilateral Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Kalman Mizsei, regional director of the UNDP.

  1. Keizo Takemi, member of House of Councillors

    -- The final report of the Human Security Commission is a concrete intellectual contribution to the international community, and it has great significance in forming the concept that will serve as the framework for the implementation of Japan's official development assistance.

    -- Based on the idea of human security, the vertical-structured administration of ODA should be abolished, and the localization of ODA aimed at cooperation with networks closer to beneficiaries should be promoted.
  2. Kaoru Ishikawa, Director-General, Multilateral Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    -- Mobilizing the concept of human security into action is important. In publicizing and proposing the idea of human security to the world, it is extremely important to send message through the accumulation of concrete actions with cooperation among national governments, UN organizations, and civil society.
  3. Kalman Mizsei, regional director, UNDP

    -- [Introducing specific examples of UNDP projects in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States that have received support from the Trust Fund for Human Security] There are many benefits to be gained by pursuing a linkage between the human security concept and the UN Millennium Development Goals.

(3) In the question-and-answer session, there were discussions on two concepts, the traditional state security and the human security. In particular, there were lively discussions on how to approach terrorism from the perspective of human security, what efforts are necessary to enhance the specialties of NGOs and to build relations of trust, and if any indices exist to measure of human security.

Concluding Session (Presentation)

Co-Chair Ogata summarized the main points of the discussions in the symposium as follows:

(1) As the international environment changes and state sovereignty becomes weaker, human security is a new concept that takes account of the mutual dependence among actors in the international community.

(2) Rather than being a substitute for state security, human security is a concept that places human beings at the core and offers "you and I" security. It is also individual, social, and community security. The gender perspective should be emphasized in community-level security, and for this purpose, there is a need for top down protection and bottom up empowerment.

(3) Respect for political, economic, and social human rights forms the core of the human security concept.

(4) Preventing conflicts, preventing the deterioration of living standards, and preventing poverty are the main elements.

(5) Reflecting various experiences around the world, we should position the idea of human security as a policy goal. In this process, support for refugees and displaced persons, for people threatened by such problems as illegal drug trafficking and infectious diseases, and for the transition from conflict to peace will be important.

(6) State sovereignty alone is no longer the answer to the problems facing the international community. The participation of many players is necessary to transmit and spread the idea of human security. As well as governments, the contributions of NGOs and the business sector are important.

(7) Multilateralism is still weak, but multilateral cooperation is essential to put the human security concept into action.

(8) By promoting human security through Japan's initiative, it is expected that Japan's ODA will be qualitatively improved. The vertical-structured administration should be abolished, and assistance work should be carried out with closest link to the filed.

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