No sitting on laurels when it comes to security

22 August 2012

 

Asia-Pacific security students have recently had their say about Australia’s role on the United Nations Security Council and how it can help increase global and regional security, writes JOANNE WALLIS.

Australia diplomats and security experts haven’t been shy in coming forward about their rightful place at the table of world peace. In recent months we have heard a lot of talk about why Australia needs and deserves a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Now, Australia’s future generations are also taking stock of the question. In a recent specialist workshop at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, undergraduate scholars from the Asia-Pacific Security program fleshed out how Australia should use a seat on the Council.

After an informed (and fun) debate, the students agreed that Australia should use its seat on the Security Council to achieve four tasks.

Firstly, Australia should advocate for a new focus on post-conflict reconstruction, to break the cycle of conflict and prevent its recurrence and transmission.

Secondly, Australia should initiate debate on an international Code of Conduct for natural resource governance, as ineffective governance of natural resource projects, and inequitable distribution of resource revenues, fuels conflict and curtails development.

Thirdly, Australia should instigate discussion on the recognition and regulation of the under-governed spaces of the sea, cyber- and outer-space, which are emerging to pose new challenges to international security. Fourthly, Australia should call for a revision of the Refugee Convention, to reflect the demands of a changed, and increasingly globalised, world.

With the assistance of myself and an my colleague Dr Andrew Carr, the students drafted their proposals into a submission to the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA), which has been sponsored by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to conduct a consultation on how Australia should use a seat on the Security Council.

The UNAA will compile the submissions it receives during the consultation into a report which will be presented to Foreign Minister Bob Carr by Melissa Parkes MP, the chair of the UNAA Parliamentary Group, at a public event at Parliament House in September. The Asia-Pacific Security students are optimistic that their recommendations will be included in the report, and hopefully, have a positive impact on Australian – and international – security.

The Asia-Pacific Security students involved in drafting the submission were: Carlie Anderson, Michelle Freeman, Simon Harris, Justin James, Taran Morgan, Tiffany Sleep, Jay Vlazlovski and Callum Whitford

Dr Joanne Wallis is a lecturer and convener of the Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Security program in the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

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