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ITF article published in Slogopis journal

23.11.2016

Below we present our article, written by Ambassador Damjan Bergant, ITF Director, on the topic of Human security in the context of humanitarian aid and development cooperation. It was published by Sloga, a platform of non-governmental organisations from the field of international development cooperation, global education and humanitarian aid. In addition to advocating and raising awareness regarding wealth distribution, global solidarity, education, human rights and responsibility, it monitors and is actively engaged in the design and implementation of Slovenian as well as European policies from the field.

Human security in the context of humanitarian aid and development cooperation

In times, when the global community is confronted with numerous transnational and unpredictable security risks, environmental and other threats, more efforts and means being channelled towards enhancing human security is of crucial importance.

ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF), originally known as International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, has successfully operated in the field of mine action for the past 18 years as well as, more recently, in the broader sense of human security. New and long-lasting armed conflicts, new types of arms and the emergence of unconventional military actors, who are in more than one aspect neglecting the core principles of international humanitarian law as well as the civilian population, have greatly affected the activities of ITF. The consequential humanitarian challenges are increasing in complexity and are as such demanding an increase in the complexity of the responses. The very complexity on one hand and flexibility on the other are in the light of current challenges key advantages of human security. The latter, standing  as a comprehensive and multisector approach to implementing humanitarian and development aid as well as peacebuilding, essentially places the individual as a member of the local, regional, national and also global community in the limelight.

The ITF practice in the field of enhancing human security is guided by the belief that a simultaneous and effective action on different levels and in different areas can only be established on the basis of coordinated initiatives and cooperation with different actors.

ITF, supported by its donors, builds its activities on solid and genuine partnerships, which are established with individuals, local communities, states, similar organisations and other actors. It endeavours that local communities, who are most familiar with the available capacities as well as capabilities and actual humanitarian and other needs, are actively included in all stages of individual projects and programmes. During the preparation of projects, ITF closely cooperates with national authorities and operates exclusively in partnership with them since they are responsible for solving different challenges, such as post-armed conflict, in the long-term.

Mine action and clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW), which has been the principal activity of ITF since its very inception, especially in the region of South-east Europe and lately in Lebanon, ensures conditions both for humanitarian aid distribution as well as the safe return of internally displaced people or refuges to their homes. In doing so, coordination and consultation with organisations already present in the field        are indispensable elements of action. On the other hand, mine action allows ITF and its partners to ensure a basic level of security for future development projects, the use of arable land, the implementation of infrastructure projects and similar activities that lead to long-term recovery of the community.

In cooperation with local communities ITF supports active and equal participation of individuals in the social environment through mine victims assistance programmes. On the other hand, by capacity building in this area, such as ITF action in Gaza Strip, it ensures that local, national and regional communities are themselves capable to provide support to the victims and their families to the maximum possible extent. Programmes providing psychosocial assistance and educational support to refugee children carried out by the ITF in a refugee camp in Lebanon are the next important link that enables children ripped from their home environments not to grow up to be the “lost generation” of untapped potential but will be capable to actively participate in the development of their communities after the end of the conflict.

In addition, ITF recently started to concentrate on the preventive aspects of enhancing human security, namely through a programme of early warning and response to security, environmental, health and other threats in the region of West Africa. With that, it additionally strengthened its activities in the field of enhancing human security.

ITF’s method of operation has been confirmed both by the new Sustainable Development Goals and by the conclusions and commitments of the World Humanitarian Summit. Even though the consolidated results of the World Humanitarian Summit have not been publicised, it is clear that in the upcoming period it will be essential for all involved stakeholders to materialise several thousand political commitments that have been made. Without an effective and rapid implementation it will be increasingly difficult for the global community to combat humanitarian, security and other challenges.

ITF appreciates very much that its work has the support of the Republic of Slovenia, which was also highlighted by the Prime Minister of Republic of Slovenia during his appearances at the World Humanitarian Summit. The firm support by the Republic of Slovenia is the groundwork for cooperation in the future actions towards solving humanitarian and development challenges for both ITF and other Slovenian humanitarian and development organisations.

The original article is available in Slovenian at: http://www.sloga-platform.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SLOGA_casopis_23st_SPLET.pdf.