Asia-Pacific Regional Human Security Conference. Panel 1. Human Security Approach at the Regional and International Levels. Bangkok, 31 May 2016

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1 Asia-Pacific Regional Human Security Conference Panel 1 Human Security Approach at the Regional and International Levels Bangkok, 31 May 2016 Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand for hosting the Asia Pacific Regional Human Security Conference and to congratulate Thailand for its leadership in advancing human security both throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the world, currently as the Chair of the Human Security Network. Let me also commend the organizers for inviting Mr. Buntan to give the keynote address this morning. He laid out the purposes of human security approaches in a very good way. It is a pleasure for me to speak alongside such a distinguished panel, and on behalf of the Advisory Board on Human Security, and its Chair, Ms. Sonia Picado. Ms Picado asked that I convey her regrets for not being with us today. She sends her best wishes for a productive conference, and her hopes for strengthened collaboration between the Advisory Board on Human Security and the Human Security Network. As you will know, the Advisory Board was established by the United Nations to carry forward the recommendations of the UN Commission on Human Security; and to advise the Secretary-General on the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. Ladies and Gentlemen, when we look at the world around us, it is easy to feel that we are meeting in a time of crisis.

2 We see the scourge of conflict, and the resultant disruption to lives and livelihoods. We are witness to the outbreak of pandemics, the devastation of natural disasters, and the impact of climate change. The threat of terrorism grows ever more serious. Millions continue to suffer the indignity of abject poverty. We see that in our interconnected world, none of us can have peace and security without development and human rights. In 1994, the Human Development Report, introduced the concept of human security to the United Nations system; broadly conceived as freedom from fear and freedom from want. In 1999, the Human Security Network, a group of like-minded Member States presently led by Thailand was formed to promote the approach of human security worldwide. It gives me particular pleasure to attend today s conference since I, as Norway s Foreign Minister, was one of the initiators of the Network with the strong support of Thailand. In the wake of the Asian financial crisis at the time, the Government of Japan and the United Nations Secretariat established the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. Subsequently, the 2001 independent Commission on Human Security, led by Sadako Ogata and Amartya Sen, forged a new consensus on the complex security threats facing 2

3 societies. The Commission spoke of giving people the building blocks of survival, livelihood and dignity. In 2005, the World Summit Outcome Document highlighted that all individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential. Then in 2012, the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 66/290 on a common understanding of human security was a significant milestone in establishing consensus on what human security is and in calling for people-centered, comprehensive, contextspecific and prevention-oriented responses to strengthen both the protection and empowerment of all people. Today, drawing on more than 10 years of discussion on human security at the General Assembly, and including three reports of the Secretary-General, the value of the human security approach is increasingly recognised by Governments, regional organizations, civil society and communities. Accordingly, in 2014, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Human Security, Mr. Yukio Takasu, convened an Inter-Agency Working Group at the United Nations, tasked with the development and adoption of a Framework for Cooperation for the system-wide application of human security. The Framework outlines the areas in which the human security approach can contribute in responding to cross-cutting priority areas of the international community and the United Nations system. From a global perspective, the human security approach has had a positive impact in dealing with challenges as diverse as the effects of climate change on vulnerable 3

4 communities, transition and peacebuilding, migration, urban violence, poverty and health. In particular, human Security provides a proven and practical approach for why and how different parts of the international community must come together in a more effective, targeted, and efficient manner. By understanding the causes of vulnerability, the human security approach provides a valuable framework to promote Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, as referred to by Mr. Buntan this morning. Human security draws different actors together, advancing solutions that are integrated and comprehensive. Human security promotes people-centered solutions that are embedded in local realities and are based on local ownership to address the full range of insecurities that communities face. The recent reviews of the UN system at its 70 th anniversary have made it clear that in order to respond to protracted crises and to attain peace and security, development and human rights, an integrated and inclusive approach to development assistance and international cooperation is needed. Human security provides that framework for increasing our effectiveness across all three pillars of the organization s work. The approach recognises that insecurities must be tackled together, comprehensively. All programmes require an integrated United Nations system response; combining 4

5 expertise, accelerating delivery, limiting duplication; and maximising the reach of scarce resources. Indeed, while the principles of human security are increasingly reflected in the United Nations approach to global challenges, whether dealing with the SDGs, climate change or migration, the need for greater financial commitment and expansion of the Trust Fund s activities is needed more than ever before. At the regional level, the human security approach has similarly proven its worth. Regional bodies play a critical role in identifying common insecurities, and galvanizing collective action. With knowledge of the political and cultural nuances of their regions, these organizations are crucial partners in advancing human security. In Africa, the importance of human security and the interlinkages between peace, security and development has influenced many African Union policies, including its policy on post-conflict reconstruction and development. In the Pacific sub-region, the human security approach has been applied to the United Nations Development Assistance Framework to capture the local specificities of the 14 Pacific island countries and territories. Through consultations with Government and civil society, using the human security approach has meant a comprehensive yet flexible development assistance framework, tailored to local conditions. Among regional bodies, the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO, for example, has made significant strides in translating human security into action. PAHO has been instrumental in developing technical guidelines on the application of human security and its importance to improvements in health. The UN Trust Fund for Human Security is currently supporting a programme, working in partnership with the ministries of health of countries throughout Central America, to mainstream the human security approach 5

6 into national health plans and to promote the holistic management of health outcomes including social, economic and community dimensions. In the Asia Pacific region, there are also many examples of successful human security programmes supported by the UN Trust Fund, including contributing to reconstruction in Timor-Leste, addressing climate change and resilience building in Mongolia and Vanuatu, and promoting inclusive sustainable development in Bhutan and the Bondoc Peninsula in the Philippines, among others. Today, I look forward to hearing of other Asia Pacific based initiatives to advance the human security approach. Ladies and Gentlemen, Global health threats, climate change, natural disasters, conflicts, violent extremism, humanitarian crises and forced displacement of people not only threaten to reverse much of the development progress made in recent decades, but result in more intractable and protracted crises with significant consequences for those directly impacted, as well as for neighbouring countries and the broader international community. These challenges, which can spread rapidly within and across countries threaten people s lives and put the foundations of nations and the global system under unprecedented stress. The human security approach offers a proven framework to respond to these challenges. By combining the expertise and the commitment of the UN system with regional, national and local partners, the application of human security is both timely and indispensable, leaving no one behind and ensuring that the risks and vulnerabilities 6

7 faced by those most vulnerable are addressed in a proactive, preventive and inclusive manner. Particular to this conference and our opportunity today, the Advisory Board on Human Security is very interested in building stronger connections with the Human Security Network, currently chaired by Thailand and soon to be chaired by Slovenia. We may do this, for example, by sharing experiences and defining priorities through joint events or collaboration on programmes. The upcoming High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants on 19 September in New York, and the subsequent Global Compact, may be one such opportunity. Looking further ahead, given the evident strength of global commitment to the principles of human security, and its reflection in global priorities such as the 2030 Agenda, the humanitarian and development nexus, and the current migration crisis, it is imperative to expand support to the Trust Fund if the international community is truly committed to breaking down silos, working in an integrated manner, and leaving no one behind. If I may say from my own perspective, while there is commitment to the contents of the approach, there is not sufficient commitment to its implementation. This compels us to continue to advocate for the human security approach in addressing the many crises we are confronted with like the Syrian crisis and also in supporting neighbouring countries affected by that crisis, as well as challenges closer to where we meet today, such as the plight of the Rohingyas and the post-earthquake reconstruction in Nepal. 7

8 Let us use today s event to strengthen our commitment to human security through partnerships that include the joint efforts of people, Governments, the UN family, regional organizations, NGOs, civil society and the private sector. The world needs it. Thank you. 8

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