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Looking for Leadership: Sustainable Security in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Ben Zala
1 September 2010

Currently Latin America and the Caribbean is a region that finds itself somewhat out of the global spotlight. The region is not at the heart of the financial crisis but instead is, on the whole, a victim of the collapse of the global economy. At the end of the first decade of the ‘global war on terror’, the region has played a marginal role in the conflict and its flashpoints in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Even in the debates and developments in what has been termed the ‘regionalisation’ of global politics, Europe and Southeast Asia have absorbed the focus with discussion of Latin America and the Caribbean acting more as an afterthought than a key point of analysis. Yet this is unlikely to remain the case for long. In a region where poverty, militarism and environmental limits are coalescing, Latin America and the Caribbean is becoming a testing ground for responding to security challenges that are increasingly global in nature.

To address these issues, security experts, academics, journalists and civil society leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean were brought together by ORG and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre (Noref) in January 2010. The meeting explored the implications of a ‘sustainable security’ framework for the region. The consultation was the fourth in a series of regional meetings held as part of ORG’s Sustainable Security Programme.

The meeting identified the regional drivers of insecurity as:

  • State practices and insecurity 
  • Militarisation
  • Urban-rural divides and socio-economic divisions
  • Environmental and energy insecurity

The blockages to achieving change in the region were identified as:

  • Conceptions of security
  • Historical legacies and economic models
  • Regional institutions and identity

The report includes an integrated analysis of these issues, together with recommendations for policy-makers. 

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