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Friday 15 October 2010
Senior Course 117 - Study Period B - International Organizations
Following Module A of the academic curriculum, which reviews the fundamental processes and conceptual issues underlying the 21st century security environment and discusses specific trends in the evolution of the security environment and their significance for NATO, Module B considers the international security framework within which NATO operates.
Study Period B on International Organizations, held during the week from 11 October until 15 October 2010, covered the key actors who play a role in Euro-Atlantic Security Architecture and globally, and examined the "Comprehensive Approach" to planning and cooperation among the actors. It focused not only on two key international organizations in the Euro-Atlantic security community, the United Nations and the European Union, with the emphasis on Common Security and Defence Policy, but also on non-state actors such as Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and Private Security Contractors (PSCs). These entities have evolved slowly, and there are still important questions to be answered in pursuit of effective cooperation among them in dealing with threats to security.
It was only natural that the academic week should start with a lecture on the United Nations: the embodiment of cooperation among States in safeguarding peace, the stronghold of shared values and commitments to security, freedom and prosperity for all, preventing war among states, providing order and justice - the list goes on. This lecture, the first in the Study Period, was delivered by Dr Mats Berdal, Professor of Security and Development at King's College, London. Among other topics, he focused on the issue 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 is still the most important and most comprehensive International Organization and is clearly indispensable. Dr Berdal described the organization as a strange amalgam between idealism and realism that would surely have to be invented if it did not already exist.
Today's European Union (EU), as a supranational organization of 27 sovereign states across the European continent, stands as an unprecedented phenomenon in the annals of history. It is true that 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 Program at the Clingendael Institute, explored all the aspects of the European Union -its past, its priorities and its prospects, as well as contemporary challenges.
he separate lecture, on the European Union's Defence and Security Policy (CSDP) as a major element of the Common Foreign and Security Policy pillar of the European Union, was delivered by Prof. Dr Julian Lindley-French, Professor of Strategic Studies at Leiden University and Head, Commander's Initiative Group (CIG), Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. He focused on the development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) to deal with current realities and future prospects, the EU's role in crisis management and the military component, and EU-NATO cooperation in the framework of a Comprehensive Approach.
The Study Period continued with a lecture on Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations, which 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 comprise a mass of different-sized organizations with various management structures and diverse missions. To introduce us to Civil Society and NGOs, we welcomed Dr Rama Mani, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford's Centre for International Studies, 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. To discuss the topic, Ms Diana Klein, a Project Manager, Peace Building Issues Programme, International Alert, London, and Mr Rem Korteweg, Policy Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, joined Senior Course 117. During the Question and Answer session different aspects were discussed, from the implications of enhanced international commerce on the promotion of peace to the implications of the involvement of MNCs and PSCs in the conflict zones and their cooperation with other actors, and many more.
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 international security environment has changed significantly since then. We now confront complex threats that are sometimes inter-related, making common efforts and common action against them essential. The need for adaptation through reform is constant, a theme that Senior Course 117 discussed and developed successfully and with great interest.