Security

Vol. L No. 2 2013

Issue 2, 2013 of the UN Chronicle looks at the changing nature of security in an interconnected world. Issues reviewed include urban security; biosecurity; cybercrime; the connection between climate change and global security; and pandemics.

Recent extreme events witnessed around the world are drastically visible reminders of ongoing environmental perturbations on our planet, many of which are linked to global climate change. The last decade has seen an exceptional number of extreme heatwaves with resulting severe consequences.

The rapidly changing global environment affects the nature of the work done by consuls and the conditions under which they work. Among the significant challenges that consuls face globally is the emergence of new security risks that threaten peace, security and development.

Cities throughout the world regardless of location have become fast-lane conduits of money being put into buildings and other infrastructure. Levels of such investments may be inadequate and vastly inappropriate in some cities.

Urban security, understood as the absence of a serious threat with regards to criminality and the subjective perception of protection, today depends on various structural and local factors.Urbanization worldwide has reached more than half of the world’s population and has become one of the first structural aspects that influence cities and their security.

Pandemics are for the most part disease outbreaks that become widespread as a result of the spread of human-to-human infection. Beyond the debilitating, sometimes fatal, consequences for those directly affected, pandemics have a range of negative social, economic and political consequences.

The United Nations Security Council has increasingly highlighted organized crime, particularly drug trafficking, as requiring the coordinated focus of various United Nations bodies and the Secretary-General.

Whenever national cybersecurity policy is discussed, the same stories come up again and again. Whether the examples are called acts of cyberwar, cyberespionage, hacktivism, or cyberterrorism, they all affect national interest, and there is a corresponding call for some sort of national cyberdefence.

Five years is a very long time in cybercrime. In this period, we have witnessed the maturity of the digital underground economy, the emergence of hacktivism and the rise of botnets.

The ubiquitous use of information and communication technologies (ICT) serves both as an enabler of growth and innovation as well as the source of asymmetrical cyberthreats. Around the globe, about 2 million people are connected to the Internet, and the use of the Internet and ICT-enabled services is becoming more and more an indispensible part of our everyday lives.

This article summarizes the results of a qualitative risk assessment project on the biosecurity implications of developments in synthetic biology and nanobiotechnology carried out by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).