LOCATION: Westin Lobby
The security challenges the world is facing today are radically different than those in the past. How well can our existing institutions, especially the UN, adapt to these new realities and serve as an effective instrument towards accomplishing global security? This was the central question surrounding this year’s seventh plenary event: UN-specific: Aging Institutions, Modern Solutions.
This panel included a range of perspectives from leaders of some of the world’s foremost multilateral institutions and civil society organizations. Marc-André Blanchard, Canada’s Permanent Representative to the UN, spoke about how the UN continues to be the most important multilateral institution in the world. Despite facing challenges in leadership and organizational structure, it is constantly finding new ways to adapt and has had recent successes, including Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement. Veronique Roger-Lacan, the French Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Ms. Rose Goettemoller, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, both spoke to the continued effectiveness of the Western Alliance for collective defense, and the shared benefit of Europe taking greater responsibility for its own security. A consistent message from all speakers was that interconnectedness of the modern world requires states to remain engaged globally and committed to multilateralism.
“I believe that the issue of corruption needs to be addressed within the context of being loyal to the values of democratic and human rights.”
“We need to work differently within the UN. The Western bloc needs to be more open to partnerships around the world.”
“So much of what we are facing as a defense alliance is not outright kinetic threats towards our alliance, but the gray zone.”
“There has been lots of controversy around the idea of a European army…Europeans taking responsibility for their security is not an act of aggression.”
“You no longer need states to contact people from around the world.”
This year’s Halifax International Security Forum paid respect to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, but in its final plenary session, Present Tense: Our World in Ten, the attention shifted to the future. How will the issues discussed throughout this year’s Forum play out over the next decade? Will democratic states be able to defend their values and institutions from growing threats like great power politics and cyber-warfare? This diverse set of panelists spoke confidently and optimistically about the resilience of democracies to withstand this challenge.
Former Ambassador to NATO, R. Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School spoke about the need for democratic states to preserve their collective self-confidence, and their values and institutions, in the face of rising authoritarianism from China and Russia. Mr. Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman of Open Russia, urged participants to challenge the perception of President Vladimir Putin’s invincibility within Russia, citing examples from Russian history that demonstrate the country’s capacity for and inclination towards leadership change. Pastor Esther Ibanga, Executive Director of Women Without Walls Initiative and General (Ret) Amos Yadlin, Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies, provided sobering outlooks on Africa and the Middle East respectively, but both pointed to the passion and potential of the coming generation to serve as a catalyst for positive change in these regions in the future. The plenary provided participants with important questions to reflect upon as they leave Halifax, and a path towards achieving the goals set out at this year’s Forum of ensuring the strength and prosperity of liberal values and democracy.
“We are seeing consistent repetition of ethnic and religious violence destroying the whole of Africa and stunting our growth and potential. I always feel that Africa is better than that.”
“How do we organize the world to defend against the major global challenges? We are going to create coalitions…and right now, that is a fitful process if the largest global economy, the United States, is looking inwards.”
“Those people who say that Putin’s regime is stable, entrenched and will be there for a long time, would benefit from looking at the history of Russia.”
“When every bodybag is seen everywhere, on social media, the price of war is very high.”
“There seems to be a loss of commonality.”
LOCATION: Atlantic Ballroom
“Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, the Turkish minister, Hulusi Akar, said that an 18-strong “kill team” from Saudi Arabia carried out the murder of Khashoggi and could have smuggled his body parts out of the country thanks to their diplomatic status.”
“Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford reiterated yesterday that reconciliation is the only way forward in Afghanistan and that political, economic, religious and military pressure must be maintained on the group. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff emphasized to Yalda Hakim, a foreign correspondent of BBC World News, that there is no military solution in Afghanistan and that the struggle in that country will require all aspects of government. The chairman was participating in a Halifax Chat as part of the 10th annual International Security Forum here.”
“A top official in Afghanistan’s government says the Taliban – Islamic extremists who have waged a deadly war in that country – should take part in peace talks when the opportunity arises. Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of Afghanistan who is governing in tandem with President Ashraf Ghani, visited Halifax this weekend for the annual Halifax International Security Forum.”
“What was a ‘Great Wall of Sand’ just three years ago is now a ‘Great Wall of SAMs’ (surface-to-air missiles) in the South China Sea,” Adm. Phil Davidson told the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia. Davidson said the islands and the armaments on them give Beijing “the potential to exert national control over international waters and airspace through which over $3 trillion in goods travel every year, along with commercial air traffic.”
“Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said Russia lost the war in Ukraine since it lost Ukrainians in the context of any effective cooperation. Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, he said Putin had allowed a full reshuffle of the Ukrainian society, according to the Ukrainian National News (UNN) outlet.”
“The State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Róbert Ondrejcsák visited Canada on 14-18 November, where he had a series of bilateral negotiations. He also participated in the 10th International Halifax International Security Forum. TASR informed the former minister of international relations of the Slovak Republic and the participant of the forum Pavol Demeš.”