Reshaping the Security Envelope: Defence policy in a human security context

Tasneem Jamal

Ernie Regehr and Peter Whelan
Working Paper 04-4

It should be a fundamental, if obvious, requirement of international security policies and measures that they directly address the particular ways in which people and communities experience insecurity.

Given that the primary and most immediate experience of insecurity in troubled societies worldwide is through unmet basic needs, political exclusion, denied rights, social and political disintegration, and the criminal and political violence that invariably accompany these conditions of insecurity, the primary means of achieving security must be through the creation of favourable social, political, and economic conditions – that is, through economic development, respect for basic rights, political participation, control over the instruments of violence, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Hence, Canadian spending in support of international peace and security should be taken to include spending on the five Ds of security – development, democracy, disarmament, diplomacy, and defence. While the appropriate balance among these five elements of security should be a prominent focus of the current international policy review, Canada, as an extraordinarily prosperous and secure country, has a responsibility to increase its commitment to international peace and security – meaning that an overall expansion of the five Ds security envelope is called for. Along with an expansion of the security envelope – particularly by moving development assistance spending toward the official goal of .7 per cent of GDP – the development of a comprehensive security policy requires new approaches to defence policy. Here, the Canadian-sponsored International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty issues a relevant challenge: “to find tactics and strategies of military intervention that fill the current gulf between outdated concepts of peacekeeping and full-scale military operations that may have deleterious impacts on civilians.”

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