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Human Security for All

The evolution of threats, especially during the last decade, has considerably altered our understanding of insecurities. Since the end of the Cold War, we have witnessed the lives of millions of people being threatened not only by international war and internal conflicts but also by chronic and persistent poverty, climate-related disasters, organised crime, human trafficking, health pandemics, and sudden economic and financial downturns.


These old and new challenges seriously threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world. While national security remains pivotal to peace and stability, the impact of today’s complex and multidimensional challenges reveal our shared vulnerabilities to a growing risk of threats that are widespread and cross-cutting. Whether caused by internal or external factors, today’s threats heighten the recognition that insecurities can spread rapidly within and across nations, and give rise to more intractable crises that not only challenge individuals but often spill-over into broader national, regional and international security threats.


At the same time, the opportunities for removing insecurities are larger now than ever before. The unprecedented combination of resources and technology means that we have the tools, the knowledge and the resources to make measurable progress towards the achievement of human security. To harness these opportunities, decision makers and practitioners must recognize that the guarantee of security requires a new framework where the survival, livelihood and dignity of people form the basis for achieving peace, development and human progress at every level – local, national, regional and international. 


What is Human Security?

As stated in paragraph 143 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome (A/RES/60/1), entitled ‘Human Security’, the Heads of State and Government stressed “the right of all people to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair”, and recognized that “all individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential”.


Human security aims at ensuring the survival, livelihood and dignity of people in response to current and emerging threats – threats that are widespread and cross cutting. Such threats are not limited to those living in absolute poverty or conflict. Today, people throughout the world, in developing and developed countries alike, live under varied conditions of insecurity. These threats seriously challenge both Governments and people.


Accordingly, human security underscores the universality and interdependence of a set of freedoms that are fundamental to human life: freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom to live in dignity. As a result, human security acknowledges the interlinkages between security, development and human rights and considers these to be the building blocks of human and, therefore, national security.


Furthermore, since the causes and manifestations of human insecurity vary considerably across countries and communities, human security strengthens the development of solutions that are embedded in local realities and are based on national ownership. As such, human security enhances the capacities of Governments and people to develop their potential and to live in dignity, free from poverty and despair.

For more information on the human security approach, please click here.