The fourth Security Jam took place online from 25 to 28 April 2016. Close to 50 VIPs and thousands of security, defence, human rights and development experts from over 131 countries got together for a four-day brainstorm on global security challenges.
The four-day debate, organised by our partner think tank Friends of Europe alongside a coalition of 60 other organisations, resulted in some 2,500 posts detailing ideas and suggestions for improving global security.
As with the previous Security Jam, a priority list of ten recommendations to be made to policymakers has been prepared. Let us know what you think about the recommendations below!
1. Create a global early-warning mechanism
One of the most common proposals was the need for greatly improved early warning mechanisms. Europe has been caught unaware by too many recent challenges: from the Arab Spring, to the Russian annexation of Crimea, to the migrant crisis. Jammers argued that better systems need to be developed to monitor emerging crises, whether they be natural disasters or man-made conflicts.
2. Improve big data analysis for early action
There is a massive amount of data available but a lack of tools for analysis. The Jammers suggested that better tools needed to be developed to turn the sea of information out there into early action, allowing for faster response. They recommended better use of open source data and social media for monitoring and early response, though many cautioned that there are important ethical issues on surveillance and privacy.
3. Develop an integrated concept of security and defence
Jammers argued that replacing the narrow defence (external) and security (internal) concepts with a wider definition of security could facilitate international cooperation against hybrid and non-conventional threats. They recommended providing a clearer definition and measurement of spending and efficient use of resources, arguing that this would encourage specialisation and help avoid duplication, and improve focus on forward planning and prevention.
4. Build trust in the Middle East through cooperation on non-security issues
Participants suggested building trust and reconciliation by focusing on areas of common interest to overcome conflict in the Middle East, such as climate change, food security, and energy security. Many wanted to see the development of non-governmental channels to promote better cooperation and reconciliation.
5. Strengthen women’s role in conflict prevention and resolution
There was support for better enabling women to play a key role at every level of conflict prevention and resolution, from bringing new perspectives in international leadership to spearheading grassroots community initiatives. Participants argued that greater involvement of women as actors of change was the key to ensuring lasting peace and stability.
6. Strengthen internal security cooperation in Europe
Jammers wanted to see greater coordination among security agencies in Europe, viewing this as essential for more efficient countering of transnational threats such as organised crime, trafficking and terrorism. Some argued that a strengthened European agency would raise the EU’s profile, giving it greater international role and greater credibility with citizens.
7. Mainstream climate change into the security debate
Jam participants argued that the impact of climate change needed to be taken into account when discussing future security threats. Pressure on resources, related natural disasters, and changing environments can all lead to conflict, and security planners need to consider this.
8. Incorporate the fight against organised crime and corruption into broader security policy
Organised crime presents a real security risk, fuelling instability, eroding the state and offering opportunities to terrorism. Gun-runners, drugs gangs, and human traffickers all pose security threats, and corruption undermines public faith in political system. Homicide is currently the highest global cause of death rather than war or terrorism.
9. Promote grassroots counter-radicalisation initiatives
Jammes argued that the most effective counter-radicalisation efforts would be based on local, grass-roots initiatives. Civil society and community based initiatives have more legitimacy, more trust, greater effectiveness and sustainability. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, and local initiatives can provide adapted local solutions.
10. Reach out to civil society to build trust between citizens and security forces
Participants suggested that working with grassroots organisations might improve relations between security forces and local communities at home and abroad, reducing the risk of conflict and boosting awareness of local conditions.
Which of these 10 suggestions would help make the world safer? Should policymakers consider these suggestions and take them on board? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions.