Toward an African Security Lexicon. My View from 2002

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Contribution to the background of a conference which focused on the Security of West aArica

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Toward an African Security Lexicon. My View from 2002

  1. 1. tj ~emoire on proposed Seminar on African Security Concepts and New Practice the sensibilities it may arouse and to avoid unnecessary aggro. To tamper the happy (provisional title!) moral language of the Human Security family of nations, we must balance the understandings of " coalitions of the willing" with old negotiation of diplomatic agreement Finally, we see the conference as part of a process. An important key in our entire collaboration with the Liu Centre in particular and the development of ourBackground knowledge and action programmes in Human Security in general.This note sets out the preliminary views of African Security Dialogue and Research(IDYW.,a:frigm,s~.QJJ:itY-1:g ASDR) on the proposed seminar scheduled for the end of ..Q Strategic StanceJanuary 2002 in Abuja, Nigeria, to be organized jointly by ASDR and the Liu Centre forthe Study of Global Issues. In broad outline, the idea of the seminar is to stage a In order to achieve the practical purposes sketched above, and also to provide a grid forknowledge-based, information -sharing and action oriented seminar to coincide with an possible themes at the Abuja seminar, we need a careful strategic stance. This wouldimportant ECOW AS meeting; to help disseminate the report of the International shape the public presentation and negotiation of the seminar process as well. TheCommission on Intervention and State Sovereignty following elements may be considered in the development of such a stance.(hJjp.:lLW.~R,g£: ill!y-,~.gJJiigi.s.SI.~S.~gh!) which is expected to have been presented by ... gthen; and to help in the process of developing an Africa-centric perspective on the The first element maybe to "dilute" the impact of the expected, understandable ICISSbroadening parameters of security in the present world condition, for instance, push for rolling back state sovereignty and fuming up the bases for intervention. Ourimportantly, in the idea of Human Security. This is a working brieffor our own internal stratagem can b e to posit that the erosion of state sovereignty has been going on for aconsultations continue and we are also consulting with related, third parties. The purpose long time and that in certain respects recognition of this given can offer Africa someis to provide a rough basis for intellectual and other negotiation of this exciting prospect advantages. We may start from a simple presentation of Stephen Krasners arresting argument that the historical reality of state sovereignty has been greatly exaggerated.It would be recalled that the idea of the Abuja seminar was an important result of the Even imp erial, western countries have suffered significant erosion of sovereignty. i Wemeeting in Vancouver on Thursday, October, 4, 2001. I had proposed, under the research may assure that the structures of African politics ensures that in significant ways statesproject The New Regionalism and Security in West Africa: A Comparative Perspective, are often resilient and are able to press sovereignty against their citizens, subjects andone of three lines of collaborative research proposed, that: captives even in conditions of general adversity. ii"The niche that we intend to develop is to connect the peacemaking apparatus and At a practical policy level we may say that there have been important examples ofprocesses ofECOW AS to the outcomes of the International Commission on Intervention military intervention in the recent African experience. We may gloss theand State Sovereignty and to deploy a comparative posture on ECOW AS in relation to ECOWAS/ECOMOG experience as a good example of homemade intervention. We mayother African and extra-continental intergovernmental integration organizations." invoke the important, fast-developing New Partnership for Africas Development (NEP AD, formerly the New African Initiative) and the founding documents of theThe most important collaborative effort we presented to the Liu Centre was for a African Union as very clearly establishing the norm of intervention in pursuit of humanconference in Accra on African Concepts of Security. The idea was to work up ideas of rights across borders as a cardinal African norm.the parameters of security, especially in non traditional contexts, which may be implicitin existing African official and other stances and also to present extant perspectives on In line with the populist streak of our times, we can suggest that in the post September 11the changing meaning of security in scholarship and statecraft to the consultation. We world condition and the war against individuals, the connections between individual,have had advanced discussions with other partners, the most important being the Nordic state and international security appear very strong.African Institute (http://www.naiuu.se/indexeng.html). on this Africa-centric conference.The proposed Abuja meeting can be seen, from the point of view of ASDRs original Finally, a stick argument It can be argued that the potential erosion of state sovereigntyproposal, as a cross between the two ideas sketched above. There are many important is simply the price that has to be paid for international development assistance today.aspects of the new proposal for Abuja, It is obvious that the seminar would now be at a NEP AD clearly implies this, generally in its framework of a norm-based compact andmuch higher profile, in respect of official participation especially. This implies that we specifically in the idea of African countries peer review of development strategies. The •have to carefully craft the "multi track" aspect, especially as it concerns participation related, enlarged conceptions of security can be shown to carry the potential of providingbeyond state officials, of the consultation. The report ofICISS is likely to be the bases for firm Southern international development assistance claims, even to thecontroversial, most especially in Africa. While we accept the great importance of making extent of firming up rights-based approaches to development on the policy agenda.the report as widely known as possible, we also appreciate the need to be careful about Human Security, for example, has been exploited as a basis for a firm claim for Human
  2. 2. Development." The fact that Austria, the next chair of the Human Security Network, hasiI1Cticatedthat it would concentrate on the links between Human Rights and Human • Security and Vulnerability: Focus on Development and Environmental Stress.Security, can be worked to good advantage here. Continue connecting Human Security with Human Development. Link to forthcoming UN Summit on Sustainable Development. • Youth and Information Empowerment - youth forum and press training session to be organized alongside and/or before seminar. Substance would reflect themes of main conference. New media to be deployed as far as possible - Abuja may be a challenge! Media training and general communication functions to beThemes undertaken by MFW A.Informed by the orientations detailed above, I propose seven themes for the Abuja Amos Anyimaduseminar. These themes also capture the areas of competence and interests pointed up bythe discussions with Liu researchers in Vancouver. In what follows I simply outline the i Stephen Krasner, Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.broad analytic charges. After firm lines of action have been negotiated we can present Tbe argument is summarized and frames a symposium in Stephen D Krasner, "Sovereignty", Foreign Policy, 122, 200 I.detailed organizational profiles of presenters, budgets, etc. In terms of general ii As I have argued in Governing without Politics: A Study of State Sovereignty and Economic Decline inmethodology, in keeping with the knowledge intensive demands of the broadening of Ghana, Ph.D. Thesis, flinders University, 1990.security concerns, the key, overarching principle would be to maintain a sharp knowledge iu Usefully captured in Nicole Ball, Human Security & Human Development Linkages andThefocus. Secondly, we can adopt the ICISS method of making the main organizations Opportunities Report of a conference organized by the Programme for Strategic and International Studies,involved - in this case ECOW AS, ASDR, Liu and perhaps a representative oflCISS - Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva March 8-9,200 I, http://www .humansecuritynetwork.org/report _ may200 1_3-e.asplead off with general presentations on background and expectation. Different discussionformats must be adopted for the themes in order, in particular, to maximize the impact ofthe different categories ofparticipants.The seven themes proposed are: • Deepening Multilateral Security Cooperation: ECOWAS and Traditional Security - Recognize ECOW AS long engagement with traditional security cooperation issues. Interpretation in terms of standards of intervention - is Serra Leone qualitatively different from Liberia? Costs and Benefits of near powers intervening in backyard. • Broadening Multilateral Security: ECOWAS and Non Traditional Security- Point up ECOW AS increasing involvement in non traditional issues. Interesting issue of border crossing herdsmen and food security. Human trafficking. Good corporate citizenship. • ECOW AS Security Fundamentals in Comparative Perspective. Are there discernible norms emerging from prescribed norms and practice? • The United Nations, the new Collective Security and Sovereignty. Strategically, the UN secretariat must be made to carry the individual sovereignty argument, especially if, as I suspect would be the case, ICISS does not go well beyond Kofi Annans bold statement. • Security and Vulnerability: Focus on Children, War and Crime. Begin extending Human Security concerns beyond vulnerability caused by violence and direct threat of violence. Connect to UN General Assembly Summit on children and • related processes.

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