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Meeting Tomorrow’s Security Challenges

Theme International Security Forum (ISF)

Theme of the International Security Forum (ISF) 2011, courtesy of Tim Wendel, ISN

Can the world find a new blueprint for collective action to resolve global, regional and national challenges, or will shifting power patterns lead to further fragmentation? This challenging question is at the core of the upcoming International Security Forum (ISF) 2011.

The biannual conference’s topic is “Regional and Global Security: Meeting Tomorrow’s Challenges Today”. During the three days, speakers and participants will discuss the implications of the economic and geopolitical shifts for the international security agenda on the global and regional level.

  • On the first day, the sessions will look at the future handling of nuclear weapons, at migration and security, and at challenges and opportunities associated with public-private cooperation in security governance.
  • The 24 panel sessions on the second day will explore five different themes: 9/11 Plus Ten, Regional Security: Local Dynamics – Global Impact, Present and Future of Conflict, Human Security, and State Failure / State Building.
  • The last day examines the impact and effectiveness of international sanctions, the lessons to be learned from Afghanistan, and the future direction of the European Union. » More

ISN Insights: Look Back, Week Ahead

The new ISN Insights week starts today, photo: Caro's Lines/flickr

Last week ISN Insights examined:

This week we’ll be looking at: Japanese defense policy, Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections and the status of the opposition there, past weekend’s NATO summit, bailout capitalism and Asian power politics in this Friday’s ISN Podcast.

Make sure to check back each day for the newest ISN Insights package. And if you’re an active Twitter or Facebook user, look us up and become a follower!

Facing up to Fiji

Bread and circus for the people of Fiji? photo: Mark Heard/flickr

As seems to be the case with most countries that have experienced coups, once the initial furor over the regime change has died down and change is not readily forthcoming, the international media quiets down. Whether this is because a public scolding is not seen as the best way to induce progress towards more democratic rule, or simply because there is nothing headline-grabbing to cover, it is a widely repeated pattern.

The Republic of the Fiji Islands is no exception, with coverage having dwindled following the 2006 coup. This is a shame, as the (interim) government of Commander ‘Frank’ Bainimarama has recently instituted some very interesting policies.

Perhaps inspired by Juvenal’s idea of “bread and circuses”, the 2010 Price Control Order was implemented on 6 Novemver by the Commerce Commission. The Order required that the price of 24 “essential” basic foodstuffs – such as baby food, milk, garlic and edible oils – be reduced by 10-20 percent to a government-set maximum. ‘High-end’ products – such as olive oil – were notably exempt. In updating the 1970 Price Control Order, criticized for its complexity and opacity – so far, so good. However, the circus soon followed. » More

Thoughts on Peacekeeping

Helmet and Flack Jackets of MONUC Peacekeepers, courtesy of United Nations Photo/flickr

As anger in Haiti intensifies, with some residents blaming Nepali peacekeepers for having brought cholera to the island, a closer look at the composition of UN peacekeeping missions seems in order.

In October 2010 the UN had approximately 100,000 police officers, military experts and troops operating around the world in more than 17 UN peacekeeping missions. These operations cost the UN, in the 2005-2006 period, more than $5 billion, more than triple the UN’s core operating budget.

If we look at who the main contributors are, somewhat surprisingly, almost 30 percent of UN troops come from three countries that can be found in one of the most unstable parts of the world: Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. How is it possible that a country like Pakistan, that ranks 10th on the Failed States Index of 2010, is also the second most active country in terms of UN peacekeeping? The answer, of course, is money. Poorer countries earn valuable financial resources by contributing to UN missions. But shouldn’t these soldiers be at home, trying to stabilize their own countries and can they, if ‘thrown together” in a single mission operate together effectively despite deep-rooted animosities ‘at home’?

Advocates of UN peacekeeping missions, and the biggest financial contributors to the UN itself, namely EU countries and the US, are among the countries that contribute the least with troops. Except for Spain, France and Italy, no other European country contributes more than 1,000 troops. Even countries like Yemen and Zimbabwe contribute more troops to peacekeeping missions than the US. The question naturally arises: Why do western countries not put their money (and their manpower) where their mouth is by sending well trained, well equipped troops to trouble spots around the world, where they, by international consensus, are needed the most? » More

New ISN Partner: Jungle Drum

Jungle Drum

The ISN is happy to announce that Jungle Drum has joined our network as a partner.

Jungle Drum is a not-for-profit information technology provider and communications consultant. It aims to provide IT solutions that boost international cooperation to effectively tackle global challenges. Jungle Drum’s broader vision is to provide the world society connected online spaces for intensified information exchange and cooperation, which can be linked across disciplinary and organizational borders.

The ISN and Jungle Drum will work together on, an innovative database that lets users easily browse UN resolutions and conventions by topic.

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