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COVER STORY: Human Security—The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness

Caption: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at a session on the theme of human security at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, January 28.

Human Security—The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness


Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Sadako Ogata speaks as host of the session on human security at Davos.
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (Davos Conference) was held in the Swiss municipality of Davos from January 26 through January 30. More than 2,500 politicians, businesspeople, nongovernmental organization representatives and other delegates from over 100 countries and regions attended the conference and its sessions on matters such as IT, energy, the environment and employment.

Sadako Ogata, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Mark Malloch Brown, former deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, hosted a session on human security on January 28. It was attended by about thirty leading delegates, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, and Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs International. Direct transnational threats to individuals such as conflicts, terrorism, infectious diseases and environmental destruction continue to intensify. By complementing existing security frameworks targeting nations with activities focusing on each individual, the concept of human security aims to provide people with "freedom from fear," "freedom from want" and "freedom to live in dignity." Japan plays a leading role in disseminating and implementimg the concept of human security in the international community.

Participants in the session made such comments as: "Human security is an important guiding concept for dealing with all of the problems in the international community," and "Businesses and the private sector need to be actively involved with the further promotion of this concept."

Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting alongside leaders including JICA President Sadako Ogata and, to her left, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
In a special address the day after the session on January 29, Prime Minister Naoto Kan spoke of the "new bonds" needed to achieve a "society with the least unhappiness."

"Japan has been emphasizing the concept of 'Human Security,' which is also being discussed here in Davos," Prime Minister Kan said. "It is exactly what the notion of 'creating new bonds' is all about. Because its objective is to reach out to respective individuals and to enable them to live their lives with dignity through their protection and empowerment. Based on this concept, and with a view to contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we are focusing on enhancing health and education."

This month's cover story looks at Japan's international cooperation through the creation of "new bonds" including those related to human security.