The Toda Peace Institute workshop ‘Arms Control and World Order’ brings together 20 researchers, academics and policy makers from around the world to discuss the prospects, if any, for cooperative security policies, arms control and disarmament in a turbulent world where big powers compete for position and influence in the face of an unpredictable future.
The trends are ominous: there is no longer consensus on the basic premises of global governance; international norms are increasingly questioned; multilateralism and the institutions upholding it are under pressure; arms-control and disarmament agreements are unraveling; big-power relations are strained by arms modernization and expansion; zero-sum thinking is gaining ground and negotiated solutions for the common benefit have become a rare commodity.
Starting from the concept of world order and where we are heading, the workshop reviews historical experiences with big power constellations that have inspired and informed cooperative, win-win solutions: the concert of Europe; the détente of the 1970s; and the conditions that facilitated CSBMs and arms control in the second half of the 1980s. It goes on to discuss the challenges that new technologies present for cooperative security.
Mind-sets are of the essence, permeating the discussion. They have to change for cooperative security to unfold, for today, we are witnessing a replay of the classical security dilemma. The Palme Commission introduced the generic term of common security: security is something you have to seek together with your adversary.
Cooperative security is an operational follow-up with emphasis on the significance of institution-building. Psychological changes without formal institutional underpinnings are likely to fail. The workshop will therefore wind-up with a discussion of the role of regional and multilateral institutions and some analysis on the ways in which mind sets can be changed and how this will generate riper conditions for arms control and disarmament regimes.
The workshop will be held in association with Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS) at the University of Otago, and will be hosted by the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non- Proliferation (VCDNP).
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