View Full Version : Human Security Report 2005

10-30-2005, 08:35 PM
Human Security Report 2005 (http://www.humansecurityreport.info/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=63[/URL)

The first Human Security Report presents a comprehensive and evidence-based portrait of global security. It identifies and examines major trends in global political violence; asks what factors drive these trends; and examines some of the consequences. It poses major challenges to conventional wisdom.

Over the past dozen years, the global security climate has changed in dramatic, positive, but largely unheralded ways. Civil wars, genocides and international crises have all declined sharply. International wars, now only a small minority of all conflicts, have been in steady decline for a much longer period, as have military coups and the average number of people killed per conflict per year.

The wars that dominated the headlines of the 1990s were real—and brutal—enough. But the global media have largely ignored the 100-odd conflicts that have quietly ended since 1988. During this period, more wars stopped than started. The extent of the change in global security following the end of the Cold War has been remarkable:

° The number of armed conflicts around the world has declined by more than 40% since the early 1990s.

° Between 1991 (the high point for the post–World War II period) and 2004, 28 armed struggles for self-determination started or restarted, while 43 were contained or ended. There were just 25 armed secessionist conflicts under way in 2004, the lowest number since 1976.

° Notwithstanding the horrors of Rwanda, Srebrenica and elsewhere, the number of genocides and politicides have plummeted by 80% since the 1988 high point.

° International crises, often harbingers of war, have declined by more than 70% since 1981.

° The dollar value of major international arms transfers has fallenl by 33% since 1990. Global military expenditure and troop numbers declined
sharply in the 1990s as well.

° The number of refugees dropped by some 45% since 1992, as more and more wars came to an end.

Bill Moore
10-31-2005, 02:21 AM
While I meant the title as somewhat of a joke, the great news you posted is at least in part contributable to the successes of the UN. Even though they are always frustrating to deal with, they have a collective body of knowledge on conflict mitigation that is hard to match. There is something to be said about one of the most diverse think tanks in the world, that being the UN. They are capable of examining an problem from many different angles, not just using our military decision making linear western logic. We all know their weak areas, so no reason to belabor them here, I'm just asking that we keep an open mind to their successes.

I wonder if the advent of global media is another factor that has lessened the prospect of war? It is hard to build up a hostile capability now without being damned by the global media before the hostilties compense too rapidly, thus making the cost of going into conflict too high to bear in many ways for the aggressor.

I think our (the U.S) combatant command structure (thanks to the Gramm-Rudmann Act) worked to a great extent. They effectively used a myriad of engagement tools and the potential threat of military action when necessary to make the nations in their area of responsibility behave. I think they, many times in conjunction with the UN, did much to mitigate many potential conflicts. Even though I agre with some of Dana Priest's critique of this system in her book "The Mission", I still believe the system was/is adequate to stop many conflicts before they start.

I'm interested in hearing this group's thoughts on why the world experienced such a significant downturn in violence. I assume there are many out there that strongly disagree with my three thoughts above, so let's discuss it.

09-04-2007, 06:37 PM
This paper came up in conversation last night, and I was intrigued enough to breeze through the thing, mostly because I was incredulous about its findings. The meat of the study makes a good case that global conflict has declined in the 1990's. However, they make a weak case for why the UN should get the credit.

By their own admission, the correlation with the decline in conflicts and the rise in UN peacekeeping/making/conflict prevention activities is circumstantial. Moreover, they attribute this rise to the end of the Cold War "freeing the UN" to pursue its goals with greater latitude.

This wouldn't be so annoying if the attribution of this decline to the "international activism lead by the UN" wasn't so prominently touted as a principal conclusion of this work, when the line of reasoning spans merely 3 pages.

I have no doubt the UN has a net positive effect, but to claim credit for the post-Cold War decline in conflict is a bit too much.

Ken White
09-04-2007, 07:05 PM
discontent along the ridiculous boundary lines the British and French governments drew on maps as they de-colonized. Both we and the Russians took a break. That's the biggest factor.

A second is the increasing 'Momization' of the world. That's my pet word for the fact that we are becoming, as a species and viewpoint dependent, either (a) more civilized; (b) more namby-pamby; (c) more aware of the costs of violence (d) lazier and more coddled; (e)wealthier in relative terms and thus with more to lose (f) all of the above.

That is not meant to be pejorative, simply an observation of the changes in the world since World War II. * I believe it's an accurate assessment and that (f) is the correct answer. YMMV.

Add to those two the sheer cost of wars today... :wry:

* It should be noted and always remembered that while an aversion to or rejection of violence may be the currently trend, there are those who do not accept that trend and that humans are fickle; todays trend can be tomorrows fond memory. :wry:

05-23-2008, 09:14 PM
Human Security Brief 2007 (http://www.humansecuritybrief.info/HSRP_Brief_2007.pdf), released 21 May 08:

This Brief focuses on three main issues. First, it challenges the expert consensus that the threat of terrorism—especially Islamist terrorism—is increasing. It tracks a remarkable but largely unnoticed decline in the incidence of terrorism around the world, including a sharp decrease in deadly assaults perpetrated by al-Qaeda’s loosely knit Islamist global terror network.

Second, it analyzes the marked decline in the number and deadliness of armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa that has taken place since the end of the 1990s. It attributes this decline—and the parallel but longer-term fall in coups d’état in the region—to a significant increase in international initiatives directed towards stopping ongoing political violence and preventing it from restarting.

Third, it updates the global trend data on armed conflicts, battle-deaths, coups d’état, and human rights abuses that were reported in the Human Security Report 2005 and Human Security Brief 2006. It finds that there has been little net change in recent years in the number of conflicts in which a government is one of the warring parties, but that other forms of political violence, including communal conflicts, have declined.