A changing approach to security
Remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the conference on Human Security hosted by NATO
Thank you, Clare.
And welcome to all of you joining from around the world.
Human security matters to NATO.
It is at the heart of who we are and what we do:
An Alliance working together to protect our people and our values – freedom, equality, human rights.
In 2019, NATO Leaders decided to step up our work on human security.
To address even more actively the impact a conflict or crisis has on women, men and children.
In terms of how we plan and act to help improve their security.
That is why we are actively working to reduce potential harm to civilians in conflict zones.
In Afghanistan and Iraq, we train our own forces and local forces to raise their awareness on the protection of civilians.
And in Kosovo, we help protect cultural property.
Taking a human security approach is the way to achieve lasting peace and security.
We know that when communities have suffered from human trafficking,
from conflict-related sexual violence,
or from the destruction of cultural property,
an end to conflict is harder to achieve.
And peace is more fragile.
These crimes leave scars for generations.
They hinder the path to a stable future.
To better tackle them, NATO has policies and guidance in place.
And we train our soldiers to recognise and report such crimes.
We also set standards of behaviour that we use in operations and training.
These standards protect us and those who use them from committing violence.
They keep civilians safer.
And they embody our values.
We will continually update our standards so that we can better recognise the full range of threats and risks to populations,
to better prepare to respond,
and gain the trust of the communities we serve.
As we further step up our work,
we will continue to engage with our partners, with international organisations and civil society.
Earlier this month, we also engaged with students from across the Alliance.
They competed in NATO’s first policy hackathon and shared great ideas, including on human security and how to protect civilians in modern-day conflicts.
Because as the nature of conflict changes,
so must our approach to security.
They told us, for example, why we need to consider human security as we develop our new military capabilities,
and what impact conflict in megacities could have on people.
Their contributions and perspectives are essential.
So are yours.
They enrich the conversation and our thinking on human security going forward.
This digital dialogue is an opportunity to help advance NATO’s work on this crucial issue.
So that we are best prepared for the challenges of today and tomorrow.
And can continue to keep our people safe.
Thank you and I wish you a very good conference.