Bled Strategic Forum: Safeguarding the Future

Bled, festivalna dvorana. Strateski forum Bled 2016 - Odprtje foruma.

This year’s Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) was focused on security, with two days of debate about importance of safety, bold leadership, reform of the EU, and continuation of EU enlargement as some of the means to be leveraged to improve security in the present and the future.

Common visions and seeking common solutions against the backdrop of growing uncertainty in the global arena were two main points highlighted by speakers at the opening, with PM Miro Cerar stressing that unless “we efficiently solve the problems of security and migration, we will not be able to focus our efforts on development issues like economy … and on our future as such”.

Taking on security from an individual perspective, the panel debate “Human Security: You and I Matter” at the Bled Strategic Forum saw the participants establish that a concerted and comprehensive approach at the global is needed to enhance human security, with education on human rights being one of the key elements.

Ambassador Damjan Bergant, Director of ITF Enhancing Human Security, said that  human security was a right in itself, and that human security and human rights are two mutually reinforcing concepts. According to Bergant, the latest challenge is to reach consensus at global level about providing human security. “We have seen the return of state security, put in the forefront, sometimes at the expense of human security,” he said, adding that a solution was to make state and human security coexist and be reinforced.

Sir Fazle Abed, Chairperson of BRAC, called for a comprehensive approach to human security provided by millennium development goals. “Eradication of poverty, protection of the environment and fight against climate change are the measures governments should take to ultimately provide human security”, Sir Abed added.

H. E. Mr Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, admitted that his country was an example of what can happen “when you allow human security to erode”. According to him, Sri Lanka has taken up the challenge of putting the foundation for a new vision for regaining human security by means of reconciliation and the promotion of self-respect and human rights.

Ms Montserrat Feixas Vihé, UNHCR Regional Representative for Central Europe, pointed to the refugee crisis,  saying that while it was essential that the root causes were addressed, it was just as important to mitigate the pain and suffering of refugees. Ms Feixas Vihé stressed that the issue could only be addressed if there was a concerted, global action.

Mr Michel Chikwanine, Student at University of Toronto and Motivational Speaker, meanwhile warned about the issue of child soldiers, as he presented his personal experience from DR Kongo at the age of five. Wondering how one can end the issue of child soldiers, Mr Chikwanine said that fixing the issue of poverty and lack of education was perhaps a solution, in addition to sustainable development goals.

The BSF, a dialogue between leaders from the private and public sectors on key issues which Europe is facing in the 21st century, is known as one of the most prominent high-profile international conferences. This year’s edition has the slogan “Safeguarding the Future”.

The BSF traditionally features segments for youth and business. Both, the Business BSF and Young BSF focused on the digital transformation of communities as well as businesses, with speakers emphasising that new technologies are a big opportunity, in particular for countries such as Slovenia, and a danger in that those who do not jump on board will be left out.

Another topic that featured prominently at the Business BSF was tourism, with the special panel on security in tourism featuring among others Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai, who stressed that tourism created a better world, but with the rise of tourism comes more responsibility.

Bled Strategic Forum