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Book Launch: Globalization and Environmental Challenges

Reconceptualizing Security in the 21st Century
14 July 2008

Book Launch: Globalization and Environmental Challenges - ImageOn July 14, 2008, the Institute for Environmental Security, in cooperation with Brussels based think tanks The Centre, The Egmont Institute, and The EastWest Institute hosted the launch of ?Globalization and Environmental Challenges. Reconceptualizing Security in the 21st Century,? the third volume of the Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace. In this book, 91 authors from around the world and from a variety of disciplines reviewed the relationship between security, peace, development, and the environment and offered alternative security futures.

After a short introduction by Simon O?Connor from The Centre, the floor was given to Ambassador Ortwin Hennig who opened the discussion by underscoring the main themes of the book. He noted, as have the authors and editors in this volume, that the security debate has changed fundamentally since the end of the Cold War. Security has become globalized. Borders no longer offer protection, and threats have become diffuse. The concept of security must be adapted to these new realities. As a possible solution, Ambassador Hennig called for the establishment of an ?International Panel on Conflict Prevention and Human Security? and a ?Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention and Human Security? as two key advisory and advocacy mechanisms to raise attention to key policy issues pertaining to stability and peace and the new threats and challenges.

The floor was then handed to Prof. Dr. Ursula Oswald Spring from the University of Mexico and PD Dr. Hans Guenter Brauch, FU Berlin, who explained the evolution of perceptions in recent years and the obvious ?securitisation? of global environmental change since 2000. Having identified inequality as the greatest threat to security, Professor Spring insisted on the necessity to reach ?sustainable processing? as the only way to reduce inequalities effectively. In this regard, ?only a global context, she argued, offers an arena for political action?.

Tom Spencer, from the Institute for Environmental Security, saluted the historical coverage of the book, despite its lenght and suggested a shorter version for next editions. Spencer explained that the link between environment and security started to gain ground in the 90s with a debate on greening weapons. However, the reconceptualisation of environmental security occured at the end of the 90s when the debate was widened to other policy sectors although the military remained central in raising awareness about the dangers associated to climate change.

Prof. Dr. Sven Biscop from EGMONT - Royal Institute for International Relations concluded the 90 minutes long session by thanking all the participants and organisers for their attendance.

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