11th EADI General Conference in Bonn, 21 - 24 September 2005

April 25, 2005.  

Insecurity and Development


- Regional Issues and Policies for an Interdependent World

Bonn, 21 - 24 September 2005



History did not end with the end of the Cold War. New threats are looming, both within the nation states and beyond. Civil wars, ethnic conflicts, international terrorism and transnational organised crime have become more relevant threats to security than the risk of war between countries. And the perception of security risks has widened in reaction to major environmental disasters - Seveso, Chernobyl, Bhopal - or potential risks arising from man-made climate change through the burning of fossil fuels and large-scale deforestation. Finally, pandemic diseases like HIV/AIDS or SARS, which may seem to be a major threat to human security only in poor countries with inadequate health systems, can become a global threat through international travel and tourism.


Globalisation is seen by many as a threat to human security. New technologies have reduced the costs of international transport and communication. In order to improve economic efficiency and living standards, more and more countries have opened their borders to international trade in goods and services, capital movements and, to a lesser extent, migration. However, the more open countries become, the more they are exposed to risks from outside. An economic crisis in one region can become a threat to the world economy through speculative capital movements on integrated global financial markets. The new technologies of international communication and international financial markets can be used by terrorist and criminal networks to organise their activities and keep their financial resources away from the control mechanisms of nation states. The economic fallout of a major terrorist attack like September 11, 2001, slows down the world economy and affects poor countries no less than rich ones. The outbreak of an epidemic disease like SARS in a developing country can have similar systemic repercussions. Thus, even though rich and poor countries have different perceptions of what the most important security threats are, in a globalising world today's major threat to one side can become a threat to all by tomorrow.


Economic globalisation in itself produces insecurity in both developed and developing countries. More and more people in both developed and developing countries see their jobs threatened by international competition and foreign investors. Although economic theory promises international convergence of prices and wages as a result of trade liberalisation, many countries are poorer today than in 1990. Therefore, economic globalisation requires not only rules and regulations for fair competition and credible institutions to enforce these rules, but also some international redistribution of the gains from international trade and foreign investment to those countries which are not yet able to exploit their comparative advantages and benefit from opening up to the world economy. This is the rationale of development co-operation.


Poverty and the increasing gap between and within rich and poor countries can be seen as the root cause of the interrelated threats to human security. Poverty is highly correlated with infectious diseases, environmental degradation and civil war, which make poor people even poorer. This vicious circle can be broken only through co-ordinated international efforts to alleviate poverty and strengthen the capacity of poor countries to solve their problems and prevent the spreading of threats to collective security from their territories. A narrow focus on combating the new threat of international terrorism through military operations and security measures alone will not solve the problems but make them even worse if it is not complemented by more effective development co-operation.


New holistic concepts of security include political, economic, social, cultural and ecological aspects. At the same time, there is a widening of the concept of development, leaving behind the narrow focus on economic growth of developing countries to include political freedom and participation, poverty alleviation and the provision of essential services to people in developing countries. How far do the wider concepts of security and development converge? Or do they require different sets of policies and measures? What are the implications for development strategies and development co-operation if the goal is not only economic growth and welfare, but also increasing human security for every human being in the world?


These questions cannot be answered by a single discipline alone. Interdisciplinary approaches are required to find new answers and develop appropriate strategies. EADI, the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes in the various disciplines of social sciences, focuses on such approaches. The 11th EADI General Conference in Bonn, 21-24 September 2005, hosted by the German Development Institute (GDI), will provide a forum in which to take stock of the state of the art regarding the issues related to (in)security and development.


Conceptual analysis will be complemented by approaches related to a particular discipline or geographical region. The conceptual approach will include a systematic analysis of the link between (in)security and development in its different forms. A multidisciplinary approach will allow us to reflect on the conference theme from different angles, including migration issues, social and environmental justice, natural resources and the local perception of human security, among other things. Another focus will be on regional perceptions of security issues and development perspectives. Regional panels will provide an opportunity to compare European perceptions of insecurity and development with perceptions in other world regions.


Finally, lessons will be drawn for designing policies and implementing adequate strategies at local, national, regional and global levels. What is the role of local communities and municipalities in conflict prevention and development? What are the responsibilities of governments and international institutions concerning regional and global security? What role should the EU and other regional groupings play to enhance global security and human development worldwide? As a European Association of Development Institutes, EADI has a special interest in campaigning for a stronger role of the European Union in development policy, for better co-ordination of bilateral development assistance of EU member states and for coherence of all their policies vis-à-vis developing countries in view of worldwide poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Only a common European development policy could tilt the balance towards multilateralism against the opposite tendency of unilateralism in security and development policies.


More information at eadi.org/gc2005/



Günther Manske

Dr. Günther Manske