1. The International Community is striving to deal effectively with new phenomena affecting global security: nuclear proliferation, terrorism and criminal activities among others. All these factors are relevant to the definition of a “world risk society” at international level. These challenges are transnational in nature and demand a new approach, based on three assumptions:
a) the need to deal effectively with non-state actors;
b) the need to improve international cooperation and share capabilities to tackle new transnational threats;
c) the need to acknowledge that human, national and international security are linked.
2. In this framework, Italy’s Presidency of the G8 calls for an international Conference whose aim is to provide an opportunity to reflect on how we can effectively address the various factors that concur to destabilize the States from within and create asymmetrical shocks at international level. These factors can be, in turn, conducive to destabilizing activities and networks, such as terrorism and transnational crime, with negative repercussions on global, regional and national stability. Our target should therefore be threefold:
a) come up with a shared analysis on the interconnections between these phenomena;
b) assess all policy instruments available in order to prevent them;
c) strive for better coherence and synergies between policies both at the national and international level in order to provide a more effective response.
3. In this context, the conference will also address terrorism, which remains high on the international agenda. It has multiple dimensions, both global and regional, al Qaeda representing the former and the tragic events in Mumbai being a sad reminder of the latter. Illegal and potentially harmful activities are in many cases connected or instrumental to terrorism. Italy’s Presidency intends to mobilize political, economic and intellectual energies to devise the most effective strategies to address such phenomenon. We start from the assumption that an effective strategy against terror requires a new approach, which is both comprehensive and preventive.
4. The Conference agenda would be articulated in three main sessions.
a) A first panel on the destabilizing implications of trans-national organized crime, with a special emphasis on terrorist groups. We should focus in particular on all those illegal activities (drugs, arms and human trafficking; smuggling; piracy; etc.) that can both contribute to or be fed by the phenomenon of “failed States”. In this respect, we should also bear in mind that strategies to tackle organized crime activities are often similar to strategies to counter terrorist group and we should highlight the need for better cooperation between domestic and international policies (“inter-domestic dimension” of security) in sectors that traditionally belong to the sphere of national sovereignty, including the rule of law (the use of a “responsible sovereignty” is required to this end). Recent phenomena signaling the transfer of criminal activities from mainland to open sea will also be considered.
b) A second panel on social, economic and ideological factors contributing to destabilization (both internal and international), with a specific focus on fragilization of economic systems as a consequence of the financial crisis, economic marginalization and unemployment, development gaps. Mass migrations and social tensions arising from phenomena connected to risks of pandemics, ethnic and religious discrimination, spread of xenophobia and extremism will be also given specific consideration. A special attention will be devoted to the implications of climate change – in particular, desertification and scarcity of water and natural resources - for global security. This section could also focus on what international strategy is needed in order to cope with those situations, taking also into account the effects of the current global crisis, that could lead to an irreversible deterioration of the fundamentals of fragile economic systems.
c) A third panel on political and strategic factors that are dramatically increasing the potential of destabilizing threats, with a specific focus on proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and possible links, in this field, between failed institutions and terrorist groups; the panel will also address the need for additional capabilities for conflict management, peace-keeping, institution building, governance and democracy assistance.
5. In addition to Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Interiors, we are inviting to the Conference representatives of the various international organizations and agencies normally involved in such matters - for example, the Secretariat of the United Nations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Organization for Migration, the International Labor Organization and the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. We also plan to involve in our brainstorming the representatives of the major regional organizations such as the African Union, the Arab League, ASEAN, SCO, and OSA. Finally, we intend to rely on the contribution of a selected number of renowned international experts whose presence at the Conference would confer a significant added value to the discussion.