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Friday 26 March 2010
Senior Course 116 – Study Period B1 – International Organizations
Following Module A of the academic curriculum, which reviews the fundamental processes and conceptual issues underlying the security environment in the 21st century, Module B examines the current Euro-Atlantic security architecture. Study Period B1 on International Organizations, held during the week from 15 to 19 March 2010, was devoted to an analysis of the international security framework within which NATO operates and to discussion of the key actors who play a role in Euro-Atlantic Security and in the global sphere. This included examination of the Comprehensive Approach to planning and cooperation, which focuses on two key international organizations within the Euro-Atlantic security community: the United Nations and the European Union, with the emphasis on Common Security and Defence Policy, as well as non-state actors such as Non-Governmental Organizations, Multinational Corporations and Private Security Contractors. These entities have slowly evolved and assumed greater significance, and there are important questions to be answered in pursuit of effective cooperation between them in dealing with threats to security.
It was only natural that the academic week should start with a lecture on the United Nations as the stronghold of shared values and commitment to peace, security, freedom and prosperity for all, preventing war among states, upholding order and justice, and other important topics. Dr Mats Berdal, Professor of Security and Development at King's College, London, delivered the first Study Period lecture, concerning the United Nations. Among other issues, he focused on the question of UN reform, the pros and cons of its existence, and its future prospects. Despite its imperfections and the frequent criticisms levelled at it, the UN, combining idealism with realism, is still the most important and most comprehensive International Organization. Clearly, it is indispensable.
Today's European Union (EU), a supranational organization of 27 countries across the European continent, stands as an unprecedented phenomenon in the annals of history. A zone of peace, in the Kantian sense, has been achieved among EU members since its establishment by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. But even as the EU grows in size and prosperity, there appears to be a limit to how closely Europeans want to embrace centralized European integration. Dr Peter Van Ham, Director of the Global Governance Research Programme at the Clingendael Institute, explored all the aspects of the European Union - its past, its priorities and its prospects, as well as the contemporary challenges.
A separate lecture, on European Defence and Security Policy (ESDP) as a major element of the Common Foreign and Security Policy pillar of the European Union, was delivered by Dr Julian Lindley-French, Eisenhower Professor of Defence Strategy at the Netherlands Defence Academy. Among other appointments, he is Head of the Commander's Initiative Group for NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. A member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Atlantic Council of the US in Washington, he is currently Project Leader for the Atlantic Council's Stratcon 2010 project on the NATO Strategic Concept . He focused on the issue of Common Security and Defence Policy and the need to think about security and defence in a truly global context. As NATO's new Strategic Concept and the EU Lisbon Treaty both seek to address today’s challenges, synergy between the Alliance and the EU is crucial.
The Study Period continued with a lecture on the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are playing an increasingly important part throughout the world, tackling issues that individual states alone either cannot address or choose to ignore. They are characterized by their great diversity and consist of a mass of different-sized organizations with various management structures and diverse missions. To introduce us to NGOs and Civil Society, we welcomed Mr Gianni Rufini, Subject Matter Expert (Humanitarian Aid), Mr Konstantinos Moschochoritis, General Director of Médecins Sans Frontières, Rome, and Dr Alain Deletroz, Vice-President ( Europe) of the International Crisis Group. It is a fact that NGOs have become increasingly important global actors. They now compete with states and international organizations and can have an important influence on those who actually formulate policy. But are they the first step towards an “international civil society”, or do they represent a dangerous shift of power towards unelected and unaccountable special-interest groups? How do they fit into NATO's efforts for a Comprehensive Approach to crisis response operations? The panel succeeded in bringing about another thought‑provoking academic day at the NATO Defense College.
Given the great importance of economic globalization and the role of Multinational Corporations and Private Security Contractors as a part of it, it is crucial to evaluate their influence on security and stability and to discuss the significant ways in which those actors shape the zones of conflict. For this topic, Dr William Rosenau, Senior Research Analyst in the Stability and Development Program in Corporation Center for Naval Analyses, Virginia, and Mr Rem Korteweg, Policy Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, joined Senior Course 116. During the Question and Answer session many different problems were examined, among them the impact of enhanced international commerce on the promotion of peace, and the implications of the presence of Private Security Contractors in conflict zones who cooperate with other actors.
The key International Organizations were born in the aftermath of the Second World War and were all designed, in one way or another, to ensure that no such global conflagration occurred again. The contemporary international security environment has changed significantly since then. We are now confronted with complex, sometimes inter-related threats which make common efforts and common action against them fundamental. The need for change and reform is constant, a theme that Senior Course 116 discussed and developed successfully and with great interest.