These words spoken by Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group and Member of the UN Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) illustrate the exact paradigm shift we must undertake.
Although the threat of war is real, the security issues raised by cataclysmic natural disasters are no less a threat to security. Where we need to focus is not after the disaster occurs, although of course humanitarian aid does need to occur immediately after; rather, we need to examine what we can do to reduce the vulnerability of these high risk areas so when disaster does occur devastation and loss can be minimized, both to people and to the infrastructure of the individual nation. "Today's threats to our security are all interconnected. We can no longer afford to see problems such as terrorism, or civil wars, or extreme poverty, in isolation. Our strategies must be comprehensive. Our institutions must overcome their narrow preoccupations and learn to work across the whole range of issues, in a concerted fashion."2
The stability of the world is dependent on a number of factors, each inter-related. At one point, in the not so distant past, what appeared to be the greatest security risk to us all was war and violence. These barriers are coming down; the Soviet Union is no more. No longer is there a 'battle' for supremacy needed amongst the super powers. The spread of Communism and its perceived encroachment on democratic states is no longer a relevant issue. With the void left in its wake the world is left to finally tackle the issues we face collectively as united nations not individual entities. As such, what affects one, affects us all.
The case for collective security today rests on three basic pillars. Todays
threats recognize no national boundaries, are connected, and must be addressed
at the global and regional as well as the national levels. No State, no matter how powerful, can by its own efforts alone make itself invulnerable to today's threats.
And it cannot be assumed that every State will always be able, or willing, to meet
its responsibility to protect its own peoples and not to harm its neighbours.3
The world is getting much smaller and as such countries must rely more and more on each other. Once perceived to be totally separate and independent of each other, boundaries are becoming much more free flowing, not in terms