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Turning the Authoritarian Tide

Strategies For Transforming Securitisation

A global debate by the Security Policy Alternatives Network (SPAN) – supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Online event, Wednesday 28th October 2020 - Livestream on this website
14:30-17:00 CET (Paris/Berlin)

A new security paradigm has never been more essential.

Over the past decade, the world has become much more conflicted. Underpinning these trends in conflict and violence is fast-increasing authoritarianism, with nationalist-populist orders dominating several of the wealthiest, most powerful and militarily assertive countries. Inequality is also intensifying, and popular protests have emerged worldwide to demand a role in decision-making, equality, rights and human security – often resulting in increasing levels of violent repression.

COVID-19 is magnifying risks of future instability in a range of profound ways – from destroying livelihoods and worsening food security to intensifying political polarisation. But most worryingly, the pandemic has rapidly accelerated the world’s authoritarian turn.

These trends are doing the most damage in poor and fragile contexts such as the Sahel, where the failures of recent international interventions are at grave risk of repeating themselves.

They also have a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged groups. More than 1 in 3 women is thought to suffer physical or sexual violence in her lifetime, with state militaries bearing a heavy responsibility as perpetrators of sexual violence – reflecting the fact that on the twentieth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, security discourses, ministries and agencies remain overwhelmingly male-dominated all over the world.

Join us as leading policy thinkers, practitioners and policymakers reflect on current trends in peace, security and human rights – both internationally and in the Sahel – and explore the prospects for adopting security policy alternatives.



14:30-15:40 (CET) – Part I: Securitisation, authoritarianism and conflict – turning the tide
(in English with French translation)

•    Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
•    Marc Batac, Initiatives for International Dialogue
•    Elham Saudi, Lawyers for Justice in Libya
•    Nadia Ahidjo (Moderator), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)
•    Peter Knoope, Independent expert and founder of  International Centre for Counterterrorism (ICCT)
•    Benedetta Berti, Head of Policy Planning, Office of the Secretary General, NATO


15:45-17:00 (CET) – Part II: Rethinking security interventions in the Sahel
(in French with English translation)
•   Assitan Diallo, Association des Femmes Africaines pour la Recherche et le Développement (AFARD) Mali
•   Delina Goxho (Moderator), Independent analyst working for the Open Society Foundations
•   Vivian Huijge, Political Adviser to the EU Special  Representative for the Sahel
•   Philippe M. Frowd, Assistant Professor in the School  of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa
•   Bruno Charbonneau, Centre for Security and Crisis Governance (CRITIC) at the Royal Military College of Canada

Closing remarks: Larry Attree, Saferworld



The Security Policy Alternatives Network

What's driving the change?


The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is a co-founding member of The Security Policy Alternatives Network (SPAN), established in the summer of 2019.

The Security Policy Alternatives Network (SPAN) is an emerging group of over 50 organisations comprised of expert voices from countries negatively affected by securitised interventions and policies such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen, together with organisations working on security policy in international policy centres such as Washington, New York, London, Brussels, Paris and Berlin.

The International Security Echo-Chamber

Getting Civil Society Into the Room

Article on justsecurity.org

by Larry Attree, Celia McKeon and Konstantin Bärwaldt July 31, 2019


The Americanisation of European foreign policy

Article on ips-journal.eu

The EU wants to create stability and peace outside Europe – by providing guns, ammunition and training. This strategy will fail By Konstantin Bärwaldt, Lucia Montanaro, Tuuli Räty 10.06.2020


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