Security Architecture

General Assembly of the United Nations. Photo: UN Photo/Jennifer S Altman. All rights reserved.

The International Perspective

In recent decades, many interstate and intrastate conflicts have required external intervention to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table. The UN and the UN Security Council are the only institutions authorized by the international community to intervene. The question of when, under what circumstances, and by what means an intervention will be carried out often reveals a problematic interpretation of security.

Changes in the international power structure and in security policy debate has led to changes in the European Union’s concept of security policy. The “Peace Power Europe,” as the EU has viewed itself since its inception, has become a new, global determinant of power and order. The EU Security Strategy reveals a profound change in the EU’s priorities and goals. The EU no longer defines itself exclusively as a civil power, but also as a military power.

The EU security policy represents a paradigm shift from a policy of defense to one of intervention. This, in turn, affects policies of the member states. In Germany the armed forces are currently being restructured to become a rapidly deployable intervention army, the “Quick Reaction Force,” which has been deployed in Afghanistan since July 2008. Here, too, the focus is on “the fight against international terrorism.”

The activities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) can serve as a starting point for an effective peace policy. This organization’s great merit is having prevented war, but this has received little political recognition; on the contrary, in recent years, the OSCE has been increasingly relegated to political obscurity.

Steps and Requirements

Peace and security for all people require sustainable concepts. Wars and violent conflicts can only be successfully prevented if human rights are protected worldwide and if women participate equally in the planning and implementation of peace and security policy. 

The future challenge to peace-oriented policy-making lies in establishing a permanent basis for addressing differences by non-violent means, nationally and internationally. Peace-oriented policy must address three basic dilemma. 

The ban on violence in international law must be reinforced at all levels. This includes reforming the UN, for which, with all its imperfections, there is no alternative. The UN Security Council must be reinforced and democratized as a body for preserving world peace. If a conflict arises, all preventive, political, economic, and diplomatic means must be utilized in full to avoid an escalation of violence. 

To establish security following a violent conflict, the culture of violence must be thoroughly transformed by gender policy and feminist perspectives. 

Our fundamental demand is that a gender perspective be incorporated into all documents and concepts as a central category for sustainable conflict prevention, and that all participants take it seriously. To do so, it is indispensable to use gender specific data, particularly for conflict analysis. Credible and just gender strategies for conflict prevention and a peace-oriented security policy can only be pursued successfully if adequate funding is available.

Peace and Security: Requirements for International Politics

Unlike the peace and security policy of the United Nations, which takes human rights and gender aspects into account, the foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union and almost all of its member states fades out the gender issue to a great extent. Peace and security for all people requires sustainable concepts. This is only possible when human rights are defended worldwide and when women are equally involved in peace- and security-policy strategies and steps.

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