‘There is an urgent need to bring together the human and ecological issues we face in order to rethink what security means for people and planet.'
Quakers are supporting an Alternative Security Review that aims to encompass a broader and more ecological perspective.
The review was launched by the Rethinking Security network, of which Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network, and Northern Friends Peace Board (NFPB) are members.
Philip Austin, coordinator of NFPB, urged Friends to get involved and said that the review is in response to ‘the elitist and exclusionary process by which the UK government develops its security policy’. He said: ‘There is an urgent need to bring together the human and ecological issues we face in order to rethink what security means for people and planet. The Alternative Security Review is a civil society-led review that will do just that.’
Working with Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, and civil society groups, the three-year project will include the voices of those who are usually excluded from discussions of national interests and security.
Philip Austin told the Friend that he hopes the Quaker engagement will develop as the project progresses. ‘Jo Frew, the Rethinking Security outreach coordinator, will be speaking to our members at our meeting on 27 November and we’re talking with Woodbrooke about an online course early next year.’
Speakers at the launch on 18 November responded to the outcome of COP26. Quaker Anya Nanning Ramamurthy spoke on behalf of the UK Student Climate Network, as well as Natalie Bennett from the Green Party, Richard Reeve from Rethinking Security, and the Labour MP Clive Lewis.
Event chair Natalie Samarasinghe, CEO of the United Nations Association UK, said the review shows ‘precisely why governments must listen to diverse perspectives from the people they serve to ensure their strategies disrupt the dangerous global trajectory, place human security at their core and make our world safer, fairer and more sustainable. We desperately need an inclusive conversation on our future’.
The review has been developed in response to the government’s integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign Policy in March.
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