27 October 2005

UNIS Vienna Discusses United Nations Role in Meeting Global Security Challenges at Conference in Bratislava

VIENNA, 27 October (UN Information Service) -- Prominent members of the international security community are meeting today and tomorrow in Bratislava, Slovakia, at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) flagship conference, organized by the Euro-Atlantic Center, the Slovak Atlantic Commission and NATO, with the support of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna. The conference is taking place under the auspices of Eduard Kukan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia.

Terrorist attacks in recent years bear witness to the fact that globalization brings not only increasing interdependence, but also increasing mutual vulnerability. Under the title "GLOBSEC -- The Role of the Transatlantic Partnership in the Global Security Environment," the global security conference seeks to respond to a changing security situation in the Euro-Atlantic area. Four round tables are focusing on the following topics: Sustaining the Transatlantic Community: Still the Backbone of Global Security?; Shaping the Global Security Environment: Old Institutions for New Missions; Adapting to Asymmetry: NATO's Military Transformation; and Projecting Security: NATO Enlargement and Partnerships.

At the round table on Shaping the Global Security Environment, held today, on the first day of the Conference, UNIS Director Nasra Hassan discussed the role of the United Nations in meeting the security challenges of the 21st century. On the occasion of United Nations Day on 24 October, marking the 60th anniversary of the Organization, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan had stated, "We must recognize that the world today is very different from that of our founders. The United Nations must reflect this new age, and respond to its challenges." With a focus on security-related issues such as peacekeeping, conflict resolution and counter-terrorism, Ms. Hassan provided an overview of the current United Nations activities to implement relevant decisions emanating from the 2005 World Summit in the area of international peace and security, including the establishment of a peace-building mechanism, enhancement of the Organization's mediation and good offices capacity, and the creation of a standing police capacity for peacekeeping operations.

With regard to the United Nations role in the international counter-terrorism effort, Ms. Hassan drew attention to the Secretary-General's global strategy, presented in March 2005 at the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security in Madrid, Spain, encompassing the "five Ds": dissuade disaffected groups from choosing terrorism as a tactic to achieve their goals; deny terrorists the means to carry out their attacks; deter states from supporting terrorists; develop state capacity to prevent terrorism; and defend human rights in the struggle against terrorism. UNIS Vienna distributed information materials on the follow-up to the 2005 World Summit, and on the United Nations peacekeeping, conflict resolution and counter-terrorism activities.

Conference participants were from the international security community and international organizations, including State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, Magdaléna Vášáryová; NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ambassador Martin Erdmann; Director of Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Christoph Heusgen; Director of the French Institute for International Relations, Guillaume Parmentier; Director of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, Nasra Hassan; Head of the Centre for Military and Defence Studies of the Moscow Institute for International Relations, Yurij Fedorov; Director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, Jeff Gedmin; Director of the Governance Research Centre, University of Bristol, Anthony Forster; and Former Assistant Secretary for Arms Control in the US State Department, Avis Bohlen.

In her welcoming remarks to participants, State Secretary Vášáryová emphasized her conviction that there was a need to discuss new security threats and challenges, and their impact on the transatlantic partnership and the world. "Instability, threats and terrorism could easily be transferred from one place to another. Therefore, cooperation and partnership are absolutely necessary," she stated.

The United Nations holds a central role in the building of peace and stability, within the EU security strategy, stated Mr. Heusgen, Director of Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit, European Union. "The EU is prepared to support the UN in its efforts, as exemplified in the EU taking over the police operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, at the request of Kofi Annan, the military operations in Congo. This cooperation is functioning well, however, I see further potential for support to the UN," he added.

Ambassador Erdmann of NATO drew attention to the shift from a geographic understanding of the word "global" to a functional approach. "Security challenges must be seen broadly, instead of being divided into near and far ones. Terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and 'failed states' are challenges that require a comprehensive global response," he pointed out.


For further information contact:

Jan Gallo
Euro-Atlantic Center (EAC)
Telephone: +421 48 415 1689
Mobile: +421 903 907 155
E-mail: gallo@eac.sk
visit the EAC and GLOBSEC homepages:

www.eac.sk  and www.globsec.sk