How do we achieve global cooperation on issues vital to human security?
The 2009 UN climate change conference in Copenhagen showed that, even when faced with a threat that could make our planet uninhabitable, the world community is not able to agree on an adequate response.
It became clear that agreement would demand more change in the way the world is run than several major countries could accept. And so the threat grows.
What will bring the world community together in a realistic appraisal of the challenges we face, and a determination to overcome them? This was the quest of the 350 people from all sections of society who took part in the third Caux Forum for Human Security.
Conversations were shaped around four questions. How do we:
- overcome the mistrust created by the wounds of history?
- work for just governance across the world?
- move our economies and lifestyles towards sustainability?
- create a global economy that benefits everyone?
The Forum provided an opportunity to learn from those working to answer these questions, and to develop new initiatives.
The sense of urgency pervading the deliberations is expressed in the Caux Call to Action 2010.
It took all of human history to grow the seven trillion dollar economy of 1950. We now grow by that amount in a decade. Yet over a billion poor people play no part in this economy.
This is a source of insecurity, as is environmental degradation, the greenhouse effect, bad governance, intercultural tensions and wounded memory. All of these cause conflict around the world. And they have brought us to crisis, financial and environmental.
Crises are abrupt, uprooting, devastating. Yet they can be catalysts for change. If we use them to re-evaluate our ways of living, they offer an opportunity to adopt better ways.
The peace and well-being of our human family depend on the solidarity, empathy and
compassion that each of us is willing to show.
Sharing is key to our collective survival. Together we suffer. Together we mend. Together we hope. Together we stand.
Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun Algeria
Founder and Chair, Caux Forum for Human Security
Former Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Earlier this year, as President of Initiatives of Change International, I was privileged to travel to 14 countries on four continents.
I saw fatherless, motherless families caused by AIDS and violence, children raising children. A sense of helplessness over drugs wars. The pervasiveness of corruption.
I saw shantytowns that break your heart because of their limitless extension.
Yet I found hope in the human spirit, and a resolve to make the seemingly impossible happen.
My grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, said:
'It is we that make society. If one man takes the initiative, others will follow and one can become many; if there is not even one, there is nothing.'
The aim of this Forum is to encourage one another, learn from one another, and support the momentum existing in the world towards healing, justice and peace.
Rajmohan Gandhi India
The Swiss government is proud to support the Caux Forum and Initiatives of Change.
Switzerland is of the opinion that the concept of human security should complement the traditional understanding of security.
Human security is about removing the use or the threat of force and violence from people's daily lives. There is no security and well-being without freedom from fear and want for everyone.
In Switzerland's vision, human security is intrinsically linked to a stable and peaceful environment. In the long term this is secured through sustainable development, social justice, respect for human rights and democracy.
One condition for human security on which this Forum will focus is the healing of memories arising from painful past experiences. We believe that a systematic approach to dealing with the past can help societies work their way back to normality after conflict.
The tasks ahead are daunting. It is my hope that, thanks to the wealth of expertise and experience gathered here, the Caux Forum will allow us to identify creative solutions and effective ways to advance human security.
Ambassador Pierre Helg Switzerland
Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
We are facing monumental crisis: climate change, degraded soils, hunger, poverty, the danger of massive population displacement, increasing conflict.
If we don't do better, things are going to get very ugly indeed. And yet we have the technology, the capital, the communications, the knowledge that could secure a decent life for every human being in our world.
Children die because they don't get enough nourishment – and many of those who survive are less developed than they should be. What is this primitivism? We can do better than that!
The profound injustice, oppression and suffering in the Middle East today is terrible. And it feeds a bitter division between Muslim and Arab people and the West. At a time when we needed unprecedented cooperation to bring in a new international order, this division is growing. We must address it.
Big historical changes always come from movements of people: look at the end of the slave trade, the campaign for universal suffrage, the civil rights movement in the United States, the end of Empire. People all over the world know things need to change. We are in that tantalizing moment when if only everyone could move, we could change it all. But where does the move start from and how do you get the momentum?
There is something profound about the magic of this place, Caux, which has the potential to move people and take things forward. The challenge is enormous, both to us as individuals and to the societies we live in. We have to be ambitious, be radical, join with others, share ideas, gather the forces of generosity, work locally and globally for a transformation of the way we live.
That's a revolution. But it's a beautiful revolution, one of which moral philosophers and
religious leaders have dreamed forever – a world where all have dignity and enough.
Clare Short UK
Former Secretary of State for International Development
It is time for radical change. Initiatives of change are exactly what we need.
We must dare. Every day more than three billion dollars are spent on military and armaments. And every day more than 70,000 people die of hunger. We cannot accept this.
I am hopeful for three reasons. For the first time we have a global conscience, because we know world realities. We know that one billion people have no access to water, for example, or to sanitation. So we can realistically work for the equal dignity of all human beings.
The second is that citizens can make their views known. New communications technology gives us the chance to participate in ways that previously were difficult.
And third, women are reaching positions of decision-making. Our research suggests that in 1996, 5% of decision-makers were women, and it has now doubled. In ten years it will be 20%. The culture of peace needs women.
This can be a time to move from diagnosis to treatment. That is why I am grateful for the Caux Call to Action.
Federico Mayor Spain
President, Culture of Peace Foundation; Director General of UNESCO 1987-99