Symposium on Human Security
Its History and Future
-- Toward the Achievement of the MDGs --

Summary and Evaluation

July 15, 2010

1. Summary

On 15th July, 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the United Nations and the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies of Waseda University co-organized "Symposium on Human Security - its history and future-toward the achievement of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)" at the Okuma Auditorium of Waseda University.

2. Purpose

This symposium was held with the aim of;

  1. (1) reviewing the history of human security and discussing the significance of the concept in today's globalized world and the way of its application in the future.
  2. (2) reflecting upon the roles of regional and international organizations, multilateral development banks, their member states including Japan, global discussion fora as well as academic institutions, which have actively promoted human security, toward the UN High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly, which will focus on the MDGs (MDGs Summit).

3. Evaluation

  • There were approximately 1000 attendants including the diplomatic corps, students, researchers and members of NGOs, which indicated a high level of public interest toward human security.
  • It was fruitful in further promoting the concept of human security. A summary conclusion (English/Japanese) was adopted, where the panelists agreed on the usefulness of the concept and on further promoting the concept through their respective organizations, appreciated the role of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, and welcomed propulsive actions by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • This symposium effectively disseminated current situations of human security and efforts made by Japan, international organizations and international fora to promote human security.
  • Domestic momentum toward the achievement of the MDGs was enhanced before the MDGs Summit.

4. Essence of Each Section

(1) Opening Remarks

  • Ms. Chinami Nishimura, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs expressed Japan's determination to continue its efforts to promote human security, which is essential in the achievement of the MDGs.
  • In his videotaped message, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, stated the significance of this symposium as a discussion forum toward the MDGs Summit. He appreciated the contribution by the UN member states, especially Japan to promote human security through support to the UN Trust Fund for Human Security and the Advisory Board on Human Security.
  • Mr. Katsuichi Uchida, Vice President of Waseda University, explained that the role of university in promoting human security is to clarify its theoretical tasks and to develop human resources for the realization of the concept. In this regard, he introduced the Global COE Program of Waseda University as its effort in developing internationally-oriented human resources.

(2) Session 1

Under the theme of "Significance of Human Security in today's world", speeches were given by experts who are engaged in human security in various fields.

  • Mme. Sadako Ogata, President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), touched upon the history of human security, explained its significance and expressed her expectations for the further development of the concept, which enhances global governance.
  • Mr. Kishore Mandhyan, Deputy Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, introduced the report of the UN Secretary-General on human security, which was published in April this year. He explained how the report defined the concept and made clear the distinction with the "Responsibility to Protect".
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Vice Chairman of the WEF, referred to the new movement in the discussion of WEF to understand the concept as an overarching concept of global governance, noted the necessity to develop safety nets in this globalizing world and pointed out the significance of the MDGs and the importance of human security in achieving the MDGs.
  • Ms. Hilde Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, noted that human security is enjoyed only by certain groups and called for further assistance toward the realization of the concept for the future of children who suffer from instability and the lack of basic services such as those in Somalia and in the Central African Republic.
  • Dr. Yasushi Katsuma, professor of Waseda University, illustrated the structures of arguments on human security and introduced approaches in Japanese academic institutions, drawing attention to the progress in research on the concept in academic institutions.

(3) Session 2

Under the theme of "Realization of Human Security -The Way Forward", discussion was held with Mr. Noriyuki Wakisaka, Editorial Writer of Asahi Shimbun as moderator and the following experts as panelists; Mme. Ogata, Mr. Mandhyan, The Rt. Hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, Ms. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, professor of the New School Graduate Program in international affairs, Dr. Johan Cels, Representative to Japan of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Mr. Rakesh Nangia, Director of Strategy and Operations, Human Development Network of World Bank, and Mr. Shinsuke Sugiyama, Ambassador, Director-General for Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan.

  • Ms. Fukuda-Parr gave a presentation and noted the necessity to change policy priorities in order to tackle new threats in accordance with human security, and with what is truly required.
  • Mr. Sugiyama, Director-General for Global Issues, then introduced messages from Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ms. Sonia Picado, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN and Dr. Frene Ginwala, Member of the Commission on Human Security.
  • The discussion began with Mme. Ogata, who drew attention to the need to see today's inter-related world from a global perspective through the concept of human security. Mr. Nangia, with his focus on "freedom from want", and Dr. Cels, with his on "freedom from fear", both described close relation between human security and the principle of their respective organizations. Mr. Sugiyama expressed Japan's firm determination to continue its efforts on human security and argued that the mere dissemination of the concept is insufficient and that we need action including implementing concrete projects.

(4) Q and A

  • A question was raised on what the beneficiaries of globalization can do for the poor who are left behind. The Rt. Hon. Lord Malloch-Brown replied that in order to make the most of the large donations by private-sector entities, much more organized global approach is needed and that the WEF is expanding its activities to bring systematic responses by all the actors.
  • There was a question on what we can do in terms of human security when we reached the limit of material resources as the consequence of population growth. In response, Mr. Mandhyan explained that the world does not have enough resources to satisfy wants of all mankind, but there are enough resources to meet people's basic needs that are upheld in the MDGs and must be fulfilled by all means.
  • At the end of the symposium, Mr. Sugiyama stated the significance of the symposium in that importance of human security was reaffirmed and panelists representing their respective organizations gave their words on cooperating toward the realization of the concept. He concluded the symposium by calling for the adoption of the summary conclusion summarizing the achievements of the symposium, which was accepted by all the panelists, marked a successful ending to the symposium.

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