Throughout 2020, the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform hosted or engaged in multiple conversations with partner organizations and members of the peacebuilding community on the topic of “rethinking security,” including in a dedicated event at Geneva Peace Week on 2 November. Individuals from around the world submitted their creative ideas and responses on the concept of rethinking security, arranged online.

Throughout the discussions, one notion was often repeated: The current visions of security that pervade many sectors and shape respective responses are not aligned with the contemporary threats and challenges that people face.

The concept of human security predates its coinage as a phrase. Despite the militarized understanding of security that often predominates, there are communities who have long lived according to more people-centred understandings of security. The components of security are both multiple and indivisible, inviting the question of whether national and international ‘hard’ security paradigms have been overemphasized at the cost of community and individual wellbeing, needs and rights. Sadly, global military spending is rising despite no weapon or army being able to protect us from the bushfires, health crises, and other threats that strain our human and planetary survival.

To this end, the Platform draws on its format, function, and existing relationships to draw different kinds of Geneva actors to the table, to work with experts to outline discussions, and to provide open facilitation to support group cohesion. It is currently faciliating a private roundtable series to unpack conceptions and practices related to “securitization” throughout the peacebuilding community in Geneva. The objective of this series is to discuss the negative impact of “securitizing” decisions, mandates, and projects in a diverse range of fields represented by Geneva-based actors and organisations. It aims to stimulate reflection and foster dialogue between but not limited to members of the Geneva human rights, peacebuilding and security community, together with external experts.

To learn more and join the conversation, please contact Annika Erickson-Pearson at annika[@]

Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Foundation