My sister-in-law works for a group that supports orphanages in Cairo. She and her colleagues take care of children left behind by circumstances beyond their control. They feed these children, clothe them and teach them to read.
At the International Atomic Energy Agency, my colleagues and I work to keep nuclear materials out of the reach of extremist groups. We inspect nuclear facilities all over the world, to be sure that peaceful nuclear activities are not being used as a cloak for weapons programmes.
My sister-in-law and I are working towards the same goal, through different paths: the security of the human family.
But why has this security so far eluded us?
I believe it is because our security strategies have not yet caught up with the risks we are facing. The globalization that has swept away the barriers to the movement of goods, ideas and people has also swept with it barriers that confined and localized security threats.
A recent United Nations High-Level Panel identified five categories of threats that we face:
1. Poverty, Infectious Disease, and Environmental Degradation;
2. Armed Conflict ?both within and among states;
3. Organized Crime;
4. Terrorism; and
5. Weapons of Mass Destruction.
These are all 'threats without borders' ?where traditional notions of national security have become obsolete. We cannot respond to these threats by building more walls, developing bigger weapons, or dispatching more troops. Quite to the contrary. By their very nature, these security threats require primarily multinational cooperation.
But what is more important is that these are not separate or distinct threats. When we scratch the surface, we find them closely connected and interrelated.
We are 1,000 people here today in this august hall. Imagine for a moment that we represent the world's population. These 200 people on my left would be the wealthy of the world, who consume 80 per cent of the available resources. And these 400 people on my right would be living on an income of less than $2 per day.
This underprivileged group of people on my right is no less intelligent or less worthy than their fellow human beings on the other side of the aisle. They were simply born into this fate.
In the real world, this imbalance in living conditions inevitably leads to inequality of opportunity, and in many cases loss of hope. And what is worse, all too often the plight of the poor is compounded by and results in human rights abuses, a lack of good governance, and a deep sense of injustice. This combination naturally creates a most fertile breeding ground for civil wars, organized crime, and extremism in its different forms.
In regions where conflicts have been left to fester for decades, countries continue to look for ways to offset their insecurities or project their 'power'. In some cases, they may be tempted to seek their own weapons of mass destruction, like others who have preceded them.
* * * * * * *
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Fifteen years ago, when the Cold War ended, many of us hoped for a new world order to emerge. A world order rooted in human solidarity ?a world order that would be equi , inclusive and effective.
But today we are nowhere near that goal. We may have torn down the walls between East and West, but we have yet to build the bridges between North and South ?the rich and the poor.
Consider our development aid record. Last year, the nations of the world spent over $1 trillion on armaments. But we contributed less than 10 per cent of that amount ?a mere $80 billion ?as official development assistance to the developing parts of the world, where 850 million people suffer from hunger.
My friend James Morris heads the World Food Programme, whose task it is to feed the hungry. He recently told me, "If I could have just 1 per cent of the money spent on global armaments, no one in this world would go to bed hungry."
It should not be a surprise then that poverty continues to breed conflict. Of the 13 million deaths due to armed conflict in the last ten years, 9 million occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, where the poorest of the poor live.
Consider also our approach to the sanctity and value of human life. In the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, we all grieved deeply, and expres
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