A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

Avaaz

The problem with being a security officer is that you spend much of your time dealing with the dark side of human nature. War, conflict, crime, accidents, violence, deceit, and trauma are all part of the daily grind. Every now and then its good to raise ones head out of the muck and mire and look for something positive. For me Avaaz.org is one of those things.

"...we keep them alive, until they are massacred."

The Carnegie Council has an interesting presentation by Jan Egeland, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, in which he introduces his book, "A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report From the Frontlines of Humanity". Its all good but a couple of quotes really caught my attention.

Jan Egeland on the need for more than just humanitarian aid:

"...in the old days, they said, "Send the Marines." Now it's, "Send the humanitarians. They will keep them alive, and we can maybe forget about it." Well, we keep them alive, until they are massacred."



Jan on humanitarian security in a post UN Bahgdad bombing world:

"...it is a watershed when we go from just preparing ourselves to survive in crossfire with militias, with child soldiers, with drunken soldiers, with mines, and so on—we have lots of procedures to survive in such circumstances, but we do not know how to survive when a well-financed, ruthless organization plans for one month to kill you."




You can watch a video excerpt of the presentation below.



If you have good bandwidth you can watch the full video presentation...
or you can listen to the audio archive...
or if your connection is very slow take a look at the transcript.

The Security Implications of Global Climate Change

"The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change" is must reading for NGOs and others doing long term security assessments. It examines the security implications of three climate change scenarios. The consequences of even the most moderate scenario are alarming:

* Large-scale human migration due to resource scarcity, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and other factors, particularly in the developing countries in the earth's low latitudinal band.
* Intensifying intra- and inter-state competition for food, water, and other resources, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
* Increased frequency and severity of disease outbreaks.
* Heightened risk of state failure and regional conflagration.
* Significant shifts in the geostrategic roles of every major fuel type.
* Increased U.S. border stress due to the severe effects of climate change in parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.
* Increased uncertainty over how China's political leadership will respond to growing domestic and international pressure to become a "responsible stakeholder" in the global environment.
* Strain on the capacity of the United States -- and in particular the U.S. military -- to act as a "first responder" to international disasters and humanitarian crises due to their increased frequency, complexity, and danger.
* Growing demand for international institutions to play new and expanded roles in the management of refugee crises and in providing forums for the negotiation of climate agreements.


The chart on page 104 summarizes the potential impacts succinctly. It would serve as a very good starting point for any longer term planning discussions by NGOs and other stakeholders.

The report is the result of a joint Center for Strategic and International Studies and Center for New American Security project.

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