A lack of concern about the most dangerous weapons on earth - nuclear weapons - is a major issue in the Asian zone and throughout the world, according to the Emeritus President of the International Crisis Group and Co-Chair of the International Commission for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Gareth Evans.
"There is a degree of complacency by decision-makers," he said. "This is a global policy issue that we ought to be most concerned about. We're talking about the most dangerous weapons on earth."
Mr Evans told delegates at the In The Zone conference at The University of Western Australia that the Commission was working hard to re-energise a high level of global debate about how to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world, focusing on disarmament and proliferation issues.
Mr Evans was part of a conference panel discussing emerging security issues in a new world order.
UK MP and the British Prime Minister's Special Envoy to Sri Lanka, Des Browne, said a coherent regional infrastructure within the Asian region was required to ensure sustainability of peace in post-conflict situations.
He gave as an example Sri Lanka's battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamal Eelam (LTTE) in the north east of the country in May, where it was reported that up to 20,000 civilians died and many were subsequently incarcerated .
"A coherent regional infrastructure could have seen humanitarian interests prevail," Mr Browne said.
Mr Browne said security issues such as terrorism did not respect territorial boundaries and nations need to work together, networking skills throughout the world, to mitigate risk.
The session also included as panellists Australia's US Ambassador-Designate Kim Beazley, Winthrop Professor in Political Science and International Relations at The University of Western Australia; Dr Richard Smith, Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy and Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Senior Editor of The Hindustan Times in India.
Speakers agreed that the complex security environment in the zone in the future would require clear definition and management, and appropriate fora for the discussion of these issues.
IN THE ZONE is a major public policy conference initiated by The University of Western Australia positioning Western Australia as a thought leader within the time zone it shares with 60 per cent of the world's population and the nations which promise the greatest economic growth for the 21st century.
2009 marks the inaugural IN THE ZONE Conference. This will become a biennial event and a strategic meeting point for the Australian and wider regional community to engage in dialogue about the zone we inhabit and to deepen the policy, trade and investment relationships.
Information about In the Zone, including the conference program: http://www.zone.uwa.edu.au/
NB: MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES MUST REGISTER TO COVER THE CONFERENCE. GO TO: http://www.zone.uwa.edu.au/news/media_registration