• Event Report

2016 SECURITY JAM – 10 steps for a safer world

The 2016 Security Jam, organised by Friends of Europe with a coalition of over 50 partners, convened 48 VIPs and close to 2,500 participants from 131 countries for a massive brainstorm on international security challenges. It created what is arguably the most comprehensive global snapshot of security issues which will feature in an in-depth report to be published in June and to be discussed with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and others at the report launch event on June 30 in Brussels.

Friends of Europe together with the American Security Project, CIDOB, Eurasia Group, IRSEM, SIPRI, RUSI, and USAK moderated discussions. With the support of IBM, U.S. EUCOM and the European External Action Service they identified the Jam’s top 10 recommendations:


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1. Create a global early-warning mechanism
Improve international information-sharing to provide timely warning of impending problems, be they natural like diseases, earthquakes or other disasters or political like unrest, violent extremism or war. Improve intelligence of potential threats integrating information from regional players, civil society, and the private sector to provide a more complete picture.

2. Improve big data analysis for early action
There are massive amounts of data available but we lack the means for analysis and for turning information into recommendations while considering ethical issues on surveillance and privacy. To turn early-warning into early action and faster response we must make better use of open source data and social media.

3. Develop an integrated concept of security and defence
Replacing narrow concepts of interior and external security and defence with a wider definition of security could facilitate international cooperation against hybrid and non-conventional threats and improve the focus on forward planning and prevention. This requires a clear definition and measurement of spending and an efficient use of resources encouraging specialisation and avoiding duplication of efforts.

4. Build trust in the Middle East through cooperation on non-security issues
Focusing on areas of common interest such as climate change, food security and energy security can help regional actors in the Middle East build trust to overcome conflict. The development of non-governmental channels can promote cooperation and reconciliation.

5. Strengthen women’s role in conflict prevention and resolution
Enabling women to play a key role at every level adds new perspectives and promotes women’s role as actors of change. Their inclusion in international leadership and in spearheading grassroots community initiatives is key to ensuring lasting peace and stability.

6. Strengthen internal security cooperation in Europe
Greater coordination among security agencies in Europe is essential for more efficient responses to transnational threats – organised crime, trafficking and terrorism. A strengthened pan-European approach would raise the EU’s profile, giving it a stronger international voice and greater credibility with its citizens.

7. Mainstream climate change into the security debate
Climate change is the one threat facing all of humanity, be it in intensifying conflicts, resource competition, population movements or natural disasters. Climate change must therefore feature in all discussions on security.

8. Incorporate the fight against organised crime and corruption into broader security policy
Organised crime presents a significant security risk, fuelling instability, eroding the state and providing fertile ground for terrorism, gun-runners, drugs gangs and human traffickers. Homicide remains the number one cause of deaths worldwide rather than war or terrorism. Corruption undermines public faith in political system.

9. Promote grassroots counter-radicalisation initiatives
Civil society and community-based initiatives have more legitimacy, foster trust and must form part of effective and sustainable approaches. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions and local initiatives can provide adapted local responses to local challenges.

10. Reach out to civil society to build trust between citizens and security forces
Working with grassroots organisations can improve relations between security forces and local communities at home and abroad thereby reducing the risk of conflict and boosting awareness of local conditions.

The 2016 Security Jam is co-organised by Friends of Europe and IBM and supported by the U.S. European Command and the European External Action Service. Their support of the Security Jam does not imply their endorsement of the recommendations.

Senior experts from Friends of Europe, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI, Eurasia Group, the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), the American Security Project (ASP), the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) and the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM) led the discussions.

Live chats, like breakout sessions at a conference, were hosted by the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the European External Action Service (EEAS), Gateway House – Indian Council on Global Relations, the Igarapé Institute, Hedayah, The Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute for Security Studies – ISS Africa, WATHI, WIIS and YPFP.

The Jam coalition includes: Atlantic Treaty Association, Austria Institute for European and Security Policy, Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Center for a New American Security, Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, DCAF – the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, Digital Leadership Institute International, European Leadership Network, European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL), FOResight Coordination for Europe, Global Diplomatic Forum, Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy, Il Caffè Geopolitico, Institute for European and American Studies, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy IFSH at the University of Hamburg, Institute for Security and Development Policy, Iraqi Women and Future Organization, Law and Internet Foundation, Munich Security Conference – MSC, Peace Ambassadors for Iraq, SecurePART, SECURITY EUROPE, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences , University of Kent – BSIS, Webster University Athens, Wikistrat and Youth Atlantic Treaty Association.