Sunday, July 17, 2011

The 4th Caux Forum for Human Security ended on Sunday 17 July in the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux above Montreux. 350 Participants from all over the world – Diplomats, scientists, NGO-representatives and grassroots activists – discussed during 7 days about ways to advance human security.

Mohamed Sahnoun and Katherine Marshall at the closing of the Caux Forum for Human Security 2011 (Photo: Christoph Kaufmann)

In his closing speech, Mohamed Sahnoun, the founder-President of the Human Security Forum said: ‘Here at Caux we can make our contribution. People across the world can work together and deal with the root causes of insecurity.’ The clash of civilizations derives from our lack of willingness to understand one another, he suggested. ‘We must find solutions to alleviate poverty. What we need to do now is to have an effective strategy, and use modern tools to spread understanding, to work in ethical ways.’ ‘We must not be hostages to our insecurities,’ he went on. ‘We must learn to forgive when we should forgive. We are part of the same human family.’ But he stressed the need to good governance, and pointed out that this was a universal need: Belgium, for example, has had no government for over a year now, a country that had colonized large parts of the world. He concluded, ‘Caux draws people who care about our planet together.’

Audience at the closing of the Caux Forum for Human Security 2011 (Photo: Christoph Kaufmann)

One of the highlights of the conference was a day devoted to the ‘Arab spring’, and the needed developments to create democratic societies. This was followed by two days of private meetings among some 40 participants from North Africa and the Arab world. The Forum also examined the urgent challenge of erosion and soil degradation that is currently destroying the equivalent of three Switzerlands of productive land every year. Luc Gnacadja, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification was the main speaker on this day. ‘The cost of inaction is far higher than action’ he warned. The special day at the Caux Forum attracted experts and grass root activists as well as farmers. ‘There is hope’ was a theme echoed throughout the day, and carried on for the duration of the conferences.

Clare Short, who served as Secretary of State for International Development in the UK from 1997 to May 2003, also spoke: ‘The OECD rich countries see themselves as the high-point of human civilization and development,’ she said, ‘but at the same time, there are more and more problems of obesity, mental illness and addictions and as societies, we’re in trouble.’ ‘There are answers, and they can rapidly reverse the mess we’re making. We must start to put things right,’ she concluded.

Peter Maurer the Swiss Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs opened the forum. ‘The Swiss government is proud to support continuing efforts that support intercultural dialogue’ and ‘innovative thinking in the field of human security’ he said. ‘The way the past is dealt with at the Forum will inspire confidence to generate new practices in the field of democratic governance,’ he concluded.

The next issue of the Caux Forum for Human Security, which is supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, will take place from 8 to 15 July 2012.

>> Further information about the International Caux Conferences 2011 (Speeches, Videos, Photos...)


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