Common Security 2022: For Our Shared Future


Olof Palme Center, IPB, and Int'l Trade Union Confederation – TRANSCEND Media Service


21 Apr 2022 – In 1982, the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues, led by the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, published the report, Common Security: A Programme for Disarmament. At this time, Cold War tensions and the frightening prospect of nuclear war dominated the international agenda. The report laid bare the horrendous consequences of nuclear conflict, and exposed the fallacy that nuclear deterrence provides security. A nuclear war cannot be won, but would be disastrous for all parties involved. The Commission developed the concept of common security: the idea that cooperation can provide the security that humans crave, where military competition and nuclear deterrence have failed. That ultimately, nations and populations can only feel safe when their counterparts feel safe.


Looking at the news in the morning we are faced with pictures showing the terrible cruelty of war, extreme weather events leaving people homeless, and reports on rising poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The international order, which enables us to prevent wars, stop global warming, fight a pandemic and tackle global challenges, simply does not work well enough. We have to fix it. For our shared future.

In times of acute crisis, there must be those who can look ahead and give a vision of a better future. Forty years ago, the relationship between the superpowers was at rock bottom. The risk of a devastating nuclear war was high. In that situation, an international commission led by Olof Palme presented a report showing that security is something we create together. More and more powerful weapons are not the answer. The concept of common security was established. That way of thinking came to play a role in future negotiations for disarmament and detente.

By taking the concept of Common Security as its starting point, the Common Security 2022 initiative has analysed the world we live in today and some of the great challenges facing humanity. When reading this report, I hope that you will feel an increased optimism about the future. It is possible to make the world better, if we do it together.

The idea for this project came from a conversation in February 2020, between myself and Philip Jennings, Co-President of the International Peace Bureau. Common Security 2022 has worked with limited financial and human resources. But because many have shown an enthusiasm and a willingness to contribute their knowledge, we have created this document together.

The International Trade Union Confederation, the International Peace Bureau and the Olof Palme International Center are three organisations different in nature, but we all share a vision of a more peaceful world. When starting this journey, little did we know of the situation we would find ourselves in when presenting this report. Some may say it is naïve to even talk about peace, disarmament and common security when the world is on the brink of a new world war. But on the contrary. Now, more than ever, we need a stronger discourse for peace.

I would like to extend a deep thank you to all the members of our High-Level Advisory Commission, for the time you have spent attending meetings and providing input to the report. The Commission consists of a highly qualified and hugely experienced group of people from all over the world. The collective knowledge within the Commission is what makes this initiative so unique. I would also like to thank everyone who participated in the Common Security 2022 webinar series. The webinars provided us with valuable expertise and insights that are reflected here in the report. To my fellow Steering Committee members, thank you for your time, dedication, and engagement. But there are two people I would like to give an extra heartfelt thanks to:

Björn Lindh, our coordinator and Clare Santry, our editor. Without the two of you we would never have pulled this off. This initiative does not end with the presentation of this report. Rather, it should be seen as the beginning of work that must continue for a long time to come. Our world is in danger, but together we can build our common security.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Share this article:

DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Comments are closed.