The connection between marginalisation and insecurity is now at the forefront of the international security debate. In conjunction with the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS (University of London), we held a workshop on this subject at the beginning of March in London - 'Building a North-South Dialogue on Global Security: Addressing a Marginalised Majority World'.
For the workshop, our Sustainable Security Programme brought together policy-makers, analysts, academics and civil society representatives from both the global North and South. Participants engaged in a creative, policy-focused discussion on the security implications of this growing trend and identified concrete opportunities for addressing marginalisation and its consequences in the short to medium term.
The connection between marginalisation and insecurity is now at the forefront of the international security debate. The U.S. National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends: 2025 predicts that in the years ahead:
Increasing interconnectedness will enable individuals to coalesce around common causes across national boundaries, creating new cohorts of the angry, downtrodden, and disenfranchised.
Similarly, the Chief of the UK Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, has described the Naxalite insurgency that has spread across India as a conflict with
a sense of hopelessness and economic envy at its core.
The effects are no longer merely local. Richards warns that
these are powerful instincts that today can be inflamed and communicated to other similarly dispossessed groups across the world at the touch of a button.
Our workshop, 'Building a North-South Dialogue on Global Security: Addressing a Marginalised Majority World', brought together policy-makers, analysts, academics and civil society representatives to engage in a creative, policy-focused discussion on the security implications of a marginalised majority world and identify concrete opportunities for addressing this trend in the short to medium term.
Participants from both the North and South - including Botswana, Germany, Ghana, Mexico, Norway, India, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UK, Uruguay, USA and Western Sahara - met in London, along with representatives from UK Ministry of Defence, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thai Council for National Security and Embassy of the United States in London.
The participants discussed overarching trends in global security, identifying key actors, audiences and perspectives at state and grass-roots levels in both the North and South. Breakout groups also worked to identify domestic, bilateral and multilateral priorities for security policy change. The workshop finished with a horizon scanning exercise and identifying of possible tools of prevention.
The event sought to address the vacuum for genuine engagement between policy-makers, diplomats, analysts and civil society groups from both the North and the South. It engaged the group to discover potential policy responses to this major trend in global security and how conflict might be prevented at source.
This was the first in a series of events to be held in order to encourage and increase greater North-South dialogue and cooperation. It also helped to foster South-South, as well as North-North links and communication.
Photo: Participants discussing at the workshop. Source: Oxford Research Group