Japan Workshop by Matthias Catón @MCaton

Freedom from fear and freedom from want – those two essential components of human security were highlighted in the 1994 Human Development Report of UNDP, the United Nations Development Programme. To feel safe, a human being needs more than just protection from physical violence. Economic needs, food, health, an intact environment and political rights also have to be addressed. Human security focuses on people, not states.

Many of the 58 proposals that were developed as part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative (GRI) aim to do exactly that: improve global cooperation to enhance human security for people around the globe.

On 29 October 2010, we brought together some 40 Japanese experts in Tokyo – mainly academics, government officials and parliamentarians – to discuss how Japan could contribute to improving human security and which of the proposals the country might support.

The workshop was organized with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Global Security Research Institute at Keio University.

Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and current President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency was excited about the prospects: “This is the first time that human security was presented as a global governance concept. I applaud the World Economic Forum for taking this initiative.”

For the Forum, it was the first of a series of thematic workshops and symposia that will help disseminate the many ideas generated through the GRI and move forward the discussion on reform of global cooperation and global governance.

Editor's note: Matthias Catón is Associate Director for the Global Redesign Initiative and a Global Leadership Fellow.

Richard Samans, Klaus Schwab and Mark Malloch-Brown (eds.) 2010: Global Redesign: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World. Cologny/Geneva: World Economic Forum.

If you would like to know more about the Global Redesign Initiative, please write us at: gri@weforum.org