ECMI participated in the International Security Forum, 30 May-1 June 2011, Zurich
ECMI was represented by Senior Research Associate PD Dr. Jan Asmussen.
Dr. Asmussen contributed to the forum by stressing the importance of careful pre-planning and sustainable institutions in state-building. Particularly post-conflict societies that include various national, religious or ethnic minorities need institutions in which minorities and minorities have trust.
Dr. Asmussen is heading ECMI’s conflict and security cluster. The cluster addresses this underlying shift from conflict transformation to sustainable development. Most post-communist countries have transformed into viable democracies with more or less stable economies and viable legislative and administrative institutions. However, this cannot always been asserted with regard to societal transformation, coming to terms with the past and reconciliation between various ethnic or national minorities.
A particular cluster project deals with “State-building vs. state-renovation – Strengthening traditional institutions in state-building. It aims at analyzing existing institutions and their acceptance level on behalf of various ethnicities. It assesses if, and how, the international community can find ways and means to restructure state-building tools and measures by strengthening traditional institutions rather than creating new ones. The international community in many cases did away with traditional institutions and instruments that were in place in so-called “failed states” and that might have had the potential not only to sustain a failed state, but that could sustain reforms better.
This year the International Security Forum (ISF) was titled “Regional and Global Security: Meeting Tomorrow’s Challenges Today.” It aimed at discussing ways to increase communication and cooperation between institutions engaged in research related to international security in Europe, North America, and beyond. The ISF brought together scientists and practitioners engaged in academic, military, and practical aspects of security policy.
The forum discussed new challenges that are related to geo-economic impacts of the 2008/2009 crisis and the changes that are connected to it. A particular focus was given to the impact the Arab spring might have on Western security in general and on international state-building projects in particular. The forum discussed controversially if the Middle East presents a credible prospect for stability or if the old sores of the Arab-Israeli question were likely to persist. Another question was that of Europe’s role in an international security architecture in which the BRIC states (Brazil, China, India and China) might play a more important part.
The most fundamental and most challenging question of all was if the world could find a new blueprint towards collective action in order to resolve global, regional and national challenges, or weather shifting power patterns would lead to further fragmentation. Notions of peace, order and international law may well need to be re-assessed.
The ISF was launched as the Institutes and Security Dialogue in Zurich in 1994 and has since been at the forefront of cooperation among international security professionals around the world. It was organized by the Center for Security Studies (CSS) and the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) in collaboration with other institutes such as the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.
Place and Date: Zurich 30 May – 1 June 2011
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