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Call for Papers
Pacific Regional Security Symposium

This is a general call for expressions of interest to present papers in a regional symposium on Re-thinking Regional Security: Research and Policy Nexus, on 25-26 November 2015 at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

This is a collaborative project between the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies (University of Canterbury), State Society and Governance in Melanesia Program (Australian National University), UNDP Pacific Centre and the International Political Science Association.

The 400 word abstract should be framed in terms of any of the specific themes outlined below. Abstracts should be sent to Kirsty Ameriks (, Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury by July 31 2015 and a draft paper by October 20 2015. The abstract should include your title, full name and institutional affiliation.

Conference fees NZ$100 and NZ$50 for students.

Conference Overview
Ongoing changes in the global security climate, Pacific regional geo-politics, emergence of new contending forces in national and local politics, anxiety about sea-level rise, increase in socio-economic inequality, concerns about food security and socio-cultural transformation continue to shape the security dynamics of the Pacific region in multiple ways. Pacific communities have shown resilience and innovation in responding to and adapting to these forces at the local, national and regional levels. But how do we strengthen these response mechanisms? This question becomes more pertinent today given the desire by Pacific communities to seek new opportunities in sustainable development and to be part of the rapidly changing world as reflected in initiatives such as the SAMOA Pathways, Pacific Island Development Forum and Framework for Pacific Regionalism, amongst others. The adaptation capacity of different countries differ and one of the major challenges is to provide research-based information on these security challenges that can contribute to evidence based policy making processes in the region. A proposed approach is to explore partnerships between the research and policy communities to deal with both “old” and new security issues.

The proposed two-day symposium will provide a forum where researchers, experts, policy makers and key community representatives from around the region will engage in critical examination of a range of “hard”, human, and environmental security issues in the Pacific, identifying links between them and providing possible approaches and mechanisms for addressing them. One of the central tenets of the symposium is to identify means by which the relationship between research and policy thinking on security can be strengthened and institutionalized through proactive and sustainable collaboration. In the Pacific, the research and policy communities are often separate and sometimes suspicious and even contemptuous of each other and this has in some ways undermined the capacity for evidence-based policy making.

A range of papers on contemporary regional security issues will be presented and discussions will revolve around how to address these issues as well as how some significant findings of the papers can be framed in policy terms to help regional organizations, states, local governments, civil society organizations, private sector and community groups in dealing with political, social and economic security concerns.

Broad aim
The symposium aims to engage a diverse group of regional stakeholders on important matters of regional security to strengthen the link between research and policy making in an increasingly complex Pacific.

Specific objectives

  • To identify specific regional and country level security issues, their links, causes and impacts on Pacific communities in a fast changing global and regional environment;
  • To identify some of the response mechanisms in Pacific communities which have made them resilient in the face of security threats and risks;
  • To examine how research on the issues identified above could be used as basis for policy thinking, making and implementation;
  • To produce a security policy monogram at the end of the conference as guide for international organizations, regional organizations, states and civil society organizations on security policy making in the Pacific;
  • To produce an edited volume consisting of the symposium papers.

Themes for the symposiums
The term regional security here refers specifically to political, social, environmental and economic issues which pose a threat to individuals, communities, states as well as the Pacific region collectively. The three broad themes for the conference are hard security, human security and environmental security.

Strategic security
Geo strategic shifts, the role of disciplined forces, defence relations, defence cooperation with donors (Aust, NZ, UK, USA etc), security of EEZs, border disputes and patrol, diplomacy and ‘soft’ security and role of regional organizations and agencies.
Human security
Ethnic relations and social cohesion, human security framework for Pacific, regional gender and security initiatives, gender and violence, migration, external economic factors, social order, poverty, food security and land security, governance, youth, development.

Environmental security
Climate change, extractive industries including forestry and mining, and the response to natural disasters


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