EWI Second Annual Security Conference: International leaders chart the way forward

Media Coverage | April 16, 2009

Over three hundred delegates attended the Second Annual Worldwide Security Conference organized by the EastWest Institute in cooperation with the World Customs Organization and Microsoft today and yesterday at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. Key representatives from international organizations, the European Union, governments, the private sector and civil society gathered to discuss global security: "Protecting people and infrastructure: achievements, failures and future tasks".

EastWest Institute President and CEO John Edwin Mroz; Secretary-General of the Council of the EU and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana; Chairperson of the WCO Council Pravin Gordhan; WCO Secretary General Michel Danet; Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Vice-President Scott Charney; former EU Commissioner Antonio Vitorino and other representatives discussed new approaches to global security and especially the threat of international terrorism.

"For all of us, the fight against international terrorism is a growth area. And because terrorism is a global phenomenon, we need a global response. This means two things. First, to be effective, we need partnerships, with other key actors and organisations. Second, we need a comprehensive strategy tackling both the manifestations and the underlying causes of terrorism, such as political alienation and radicalization," Javier Solana stated in his keynote speech.

In his introduction EWI’s President and CEO John Edwin Mroz declared: "as a European-American "think and do tank", EWI is committed to strengthening international security and addressing critical challenges of the 21st century. We must broaden effective international cooperation against international terrorism, including Eurasia and the Middle East, and we must deepen the dialogue between governments, international organizations, business and civil society. We have to rethink how we approach borders to protect states and citizens against threats while improving the flow of goods and people."

Welcoming the participants, the WCO Secretary General stated: "the WCO is very proud to host EWI’s Second Annual Worldwide Security Conference. I believe this conference provides all of us with a unique opportunity to address the issue of security in 2005, not only from a Customs perspective but also from a global perspective. I am confident the conference will result in maximized and concrete cooperation to take up the security challenge. I am absolutely convinced that only through concerted action and solidarity can we secure our countries, citizens and economies."

The early morning session, chaired by Pravin Gordhan, focused on defining the perceptions of key security threats and assessing responses to these threats. In his opening remarks, he said "International security concerns have affected Customs administrations across the globe but the international Customs community has risen to the challenge posed by this dilemma and developed its Framework to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade. This is our collective contribution to secure the international trading system and protect the national economic and social development goals of our Governments".

"We need to find a common paradigm to assess the new global risk environment that would enable us to manage the unintended consequences, for example the use of internet. We should also ask ourselves whether we have undertaken sufficient strategic analysis to understand both the threats and their causes to enable us to respond tactically and in a comprehensive manner. Bridging the capacity gap, encouraging institutional cohesion and enhancing international co-ordination are key elements towards a global security solution", he concluded.

"The IT-industry will continue to develop better technologies to make the online world more secure, but we cannot do it alone. To succeed in ensuring a safe Internet for all, we need creative partnerships with governments and NGO’s", said Detlef Eckert, Chief Security Strategist from Microsoft EMEA.

The role of technology, the security of the supply chain and infrastructure as well as the protection of citizens against security threats, including bio-terrorism, without infringing on citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms were at the center of discussions during the first day of the conference.

Participants at the Second Annual Worldwide Security Conference represented governments, businesses and NGOs from the EU, the United States, Russia, Eurasia, the Middle East and other parts of the international community. The conference will continue until lunch and will focus on the optimization of border management, as well as future developments towards an efficient international security strategy. It is part of a long term effort of EWI to address key challenges of the 21st century.


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