Rethinking Global Security: An African Perspective?
The concept of global security has greatly evolved from what we knew it to be for a long time in the past. The old bi-polar international system that regulated r elations between states has drastically restructured itself against the changing threats, needs and requirements of states, but has nevertheless remained an in- adequate barrier for international peace and security. Today, the main threats to international peace and security are rooted in situations within states rather than between states, as is especially prevalent in the African context. Environmental degradation, social conflict and social strife, poverty, HIV/AIDS, etc are all pro- jections of bad governance that have become more of a security concern than the traditional military antagonism that pitted nations against each other. The expanded definition of security inadvertently created tension between on the one hand, security structures and institutions that had largely remained static; and on the other hand, the dynamic evolution of international processes with a bearing on security. The need for such structures and institutions to reinvent themselves became both evident and compelling and thus a rethinking was re- quired not only in identifying new threats to security, but also in the reformula- tion of new security strategies, military doctrines, and programs of action. This was the backdrop to the conceptualization of the Conference on Rethinking Glo- bal Security from an African Perspective held in February 2006 under the aus- pices of the Foundation. The conference, that is the precursor to this publication, had the foregoing assumption that Africa was absent in the global security setting agenda, and that it required to infuse its lenses to the debate, in essence, “colouring it African”. However, three days of deliberation shed light to the fact that Africa has indeed contributed to the expanded definition of global security especially in the area of human and development security. The conference was a milestone event that gathered a microcosm of the integrative global, regional and national efforts needed to address the ever growing challenges of global security. It brought to- gether representation from a wide range of the expanded fields of security, certi- fying the requirement that any attempt at rethinking security phenomena today must appropriately begin with the actors, who must similarly recognize the inter- disciplinary and evolutionary nature of security. The conference and this subsequent publication are in line with the Founda- tion’s work which takes due cognisance of the fact that foreign, security, and development policies have become increasingly intertwined. These activities simi- larly form part of the continuing partnership between the Heinrich Böll Founda- AFRICAN THINKERS AND THE GLOBAL SECURITY AGENDA vi RETHINKING GLOBAL SECURITY : AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE ? tion and the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies of the University of Nairobi, building on earlier work by the two institutions, and in particular their collaboration on African Regional Security Issues in the Age of Globalisation (2004) that sought to examine how the processes of globalisation have affected the African regional security agenda. While that work was inward looking in that it examined security from within-Africa (and specifically from within the IGAD region) perspectives, this conference took a larger view by examining the r ole of Africa from the wider perspective of global security and the other forces and perspectives that are shaping it. Thus, our initiatives, as well as those in collaboration with partners such as the WorldWatch Institute and the University of Nairobi among others, are fast charting the way in facilitating discourse, as in this case, on the multifaceted nature of global security. Last but not least, it is heartening to realize that this book is a manifestation of multi-directional input, reflecting the combined efforts of a number of individu- als and organizations. The Heinrich Böll Foundation would like to acknowledge the contribution of the University of Nairobi’s Institute of Diplomacy and Inter- national Studies, represented by its Director, Prof. Makumi Mwagiru for the con- ceptual input in the formulation of the antecedent conference, and the co-editing of its emergent publication in collaboration with Prof. Okello Oculi who simi- larly receives our warmest regards. Our thanks also go to all the resource per- sons who contributed to the academic papers that form the content discussion of this publication, but also to those resource persons who contributed to the publi- cation after the conference, as well as Dr. Cheryl Hendricks for her foreword to the book. Our gratitude also goes to all participants from the civil society, academia, student and government constituencies who not only attended, but contributed to the success of the Conference on Rethinking Global Security through inspirational contributions and deliberations. Special recognition to our Foundation’s co-president, Ralf Fücks and Antonie Nord, Head of Africa De- partment for enhancing the quality of discourse and outcome. Last but not least, the achievements as set out above would not have been possible without the support, reviews and contributions of the staff of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, in particular Wanjiku Wakogi to whom my final gratitude is bestowed.