Human Security in the Asia Pacific Region

This Asia-Pacific Human Security initiative has grown out of the annual Caux Forum for Human Security which has taken place each year at in Caux, Switzerland, since 2008.

The Caux Forum brings together 300 people active in conflict resolution, sustainable development and the struggle for good governance. Initiated by Mohamed Sahnoun, formerly a Special Advisor to the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Caux Forum focuses on crucial aspects of human security. It takes a holistic approach weaving together several strands which impact human security but which have usually operated in separate silos. These include:

  • Healing Memory …overcoming the mistrust created by the wounds of history
  • Just Governance …working for integrity, transparency and justice worldwide
  • Living Sustainably …moving towards greener economies and lifestyles
  • Inclusive Economics …creating a global economy that benefits everyone
  • Intercultural Dialogue …deepening conversation across cultures, sectors, continents

The Caux Forum is an initiative of Initiatives of Change, (IofC) an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to build trust across the world’s divides through a change in people, starting with themselves. Many from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region have taken part in the Caux Forums.

The idea for a regional Human Security initiative emerged in conversations taking place during 2011 around the IofC centre in Melbourne, Australia.  We recognise that some of the issues have become politically “hot” in our region in ways that are not always helpful. These include:

  • Climate change, soil degradation and food security
  • Refugees
  • Multiculturalism and inter-cultural dialogue
  • Australia’s relationship with its neighbours, especially Indonesia and the Pacific

The Australia Pacific Human Security initiative was launched in February 2012 in Melbourne with a coming together of individuals and groups concerned with a range of human security issues. Facilitation techniques of World Café and Open Space Technology were used to clarify the range and scope of the issues, and to focus on building support groups for particular projects.   The aim is to do human security in community, to follow the different strands, stories and projects and keep weaving those strands together in ways that are supportive and sustainable, to give a shared space for creative connections and help prevent the burn-out which can come from trying to “do it alone”.

Some of the projects which were either already present or were born during the weekend launch include:

  • Healing the Skin of The Land & Alternative Energies
  • Pacific-Style Dialogue with Corporate Australia
  • Growing Interactions – post-conflict peace work in Sri Lanka and among the Sri-Lankan diaspora
  • Small Is Big – Networked locally owned projects
  • Listening & Building Trust – with various communities, including Aboriginal Australians, South Sudanese, West Papuans

Through the umbrella of our human security initiative we will keep weaving the different these strands and stories together and gradually welcome more and more initiatives into the community.

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