Bergen Symposium expected to open new avenues on human security research
The idea was first put forward by UNOSAT experts in 2010 and, simply put, it is about shedding a light through research on the areas of overlap between three main domains of international affairs: human rights, climate change, and development.
Each of these three important areas of international action and policy is the focus of separate communities, academic research, donorship and even militant engagement. But on the ground these are not distinct realities. Rather, they are interconnected, with common areas of overlap and interplay. UNITAR has the intention to research the dynamics in these overlap areas and apply its combination of research and applications skills to identify new ways to look at these important issues in an interrelated manner.
The Bergen Symposium, due to take place in Norway on 16 and 17 October 2012, is part of this visionary challenge. The meeting is a prime opportunity to discuss the state of the art and launch the debate between academia, international experts and UN players. It is also a tribute to the long term cooperation between the City of Bergen and UNITAR, dedicated to raising awareness and attention to this important dimension that is becoming rapidly known as the “interplay dimension”.
The City of Bergen and UNITAR gathered their efforts and co-organized an event whose agenda indicates clearly the momentum gained by this topic. High-level representatives of both national and international key players will offer their views and expert and practitioners will have an opportunity to discuss in plenary and parallel sessions. Three keynote speakers will illustrate the linkages between human rights and development, between climate change and human rights, and between development and climate change, the interaction that has stimulated most research so far. Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration, confirmed also at the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, calls for creating an enabling framework and procedural rights for civil society to access information, participate in decision-making, and access the legal system.
One important aspect of advancing sustainable development is to ensure that knowledge, scientific and otherwise, is placed in the public domain and effectively used in policy making. Putting the interaction between development, human rights and climate change at the centre of a sustained research initiative is one of the engagements international experts re going to suggest at the Bergen Symposium to generate more fundamental knowledge and direct future action.
UNITAR tradition is one based on results and dialogue with beneficiaries; in this spirit the Bergen Symposium is not an end in itself, but the kick-off phase of a research and application endeavour in which more than one of the Institute’s Programmes have important roles to play, be it the geospatial applications of UNOSAT, the local development training offer of the Local Development Programme or the in-country projects of the Environmental Governance Programme.
A technical project is under discussion, whose activities focus on specific areas with high potential for demonstrating how to combine technical solutions and social sciences in the interplay zone between development, human rights, and climate change, for example territorial planning for disaster risk reduction using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Other cross-cutting factors that are important include health, food, international law and human security.
Event information and registration (http://www.unitar.org/event/international-symposium-bergen)
Event poster (PDF, 192KB)
Photos 1: city of Bergen (source: Bergen Tourist Office)
Photo 2 & 3: UN Photo
Photo 4: UN News Centre