The end of the cold war witnessed the emergence of new expectations and new challenges in international relations. To the traditional concept of security, in which account was taken essentially of the military aspect, was added a non-military threat. Moreover, the scope of security-related action was broadened, moving beyond the institutional and interstate level to the local, community and individual level.
Since the mid-1990s the international community has been endeavouring to include the concept of human security on its political agenda. Indeed, since the publication in 1994 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of the first Human Development Report, several organizations and institutions have analysed the report and based projects or programmes on it. UNESCO undertook various activities under the transdisciplinary project for the promotion of a culture of peace (1996-2001). The recent report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the “In larger freedom” reform and the debates at the Millennium Summit in New York in September 2005 placed human security at the heart of United Nations concerns.
Africa, a continent plagued both by unrest owing to various causes and by poverty, is the testing ground on which the concept of human security must be developed and applied, especially in West and Central Africa, the regions most affected by conflict in recent years.
The object of my study was to demonstrate that the concept of human security is an effective way of resolving conflicts definitively and globally in West and Central Africa and that it can also ensure peace and sustainable development in those regions.
The first part, entitled “The concept of human security and conflict resolution in West and Central Africa”, consisted of a review of the different theories and approaches relating to the notion of human security, followed by an analysis of the causes and consequences of conflicts in the two regions where violence, complexity and seriousness called for an effective and appropriate response.
In the second part, entitled “Human security as an effective approach to conflict resolution in West and Central Africa”, I analysed peace-prevention mechanisms and systems applicable to the two subregions and then described the tools needed to ensure the effectiveness of the human security approach in resolving conflicts in West and Central Africa. The pluridisciplinary method greatly contributed to this reasoning process.
12 March 2007