The emergence of new security threats has led to a reconceptualization of the concept of security. Security in a post-Cold War world is not merely an absence from armed threat or war. The concept has undergone an expansion and has been moving away from traditional, state-centric conceptions of security that focused primarily on the safety of states from military aggression, to one that concentrates on the security of the individuals, their protection and empowerment. The term Human Security was first popularized by the United Nations Development Program in the early 1990s. It emerged in the post-Cold War era as a way to link various humanitarian, economic, and social issues in order to alleviate human suffering and assure security.
The Commission for Human Security defines human security thus: “Human security means protecting fundamental freedoms – freedoms that are the essence of life. It means protecting people from critical (severe) and pervasive (widespread) threats and situations. It means using processes that build on people’s strengths and aspirations. It means creating political, social, environmental, economic, military and cultural systems that together give people the building blocks of survival, livelihood and dignity”. As a people-centered concept, human security places the individual at the ‘centre of analysis.’
Non-Aligned Movement has reaffirmed the commitment to discuss and define human security in the UN General Assembly, in conformity with the principles enshrined in the Charter and taking into consideration the common understanding of the notion of the human security in General Assembly resolution 66/290. The UNGA Resolution 66/290 states that human security is an approach to assist Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people. In accordance with the above UNGA resolution, NAM recognises that human security entails the right of people to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair. 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.
NAM Member States have implemented a range of national initiatives to promote human security. Mongolia is endeavouring to ensure human security of its people through both national action and international cooperation. Mongolia launched in late 2000 the Good Governance for Human Security Program aimed at improving the capacity to formulate and implement policies to ensure human security. This has resulted in securing national commitment by all the branches of the State power to its implementation; institutionalize the program’s implementation mechanism; and lay the groundwork for greater involvement and participation of the civil society, private sector and academia.
In Ecuador, the inclusion of human security in Ecuador’s constitution which is currently being realized through Plan Ecuador, a people-focused, preventive and multidimensional framework, aims to solve the interrelated problems of poverty, exclusion and violence. In Kenya, The Kenya Vision 2030 is the national long-term development blue-print that aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrialising, middle-income country. The Vision comprises of three key pillars: Economic; Social; and Political. The Economic Pillar aims to achieve an average economic growth rate of 10 per cent per annum and sustaining the same until 2030.
The Social Pillar seeks to engender just, cohesive and equitable social development in a clean and secure environment, while the Political Pillar aims to realise an issue-based, people-centred, result-oriented and accountable democratic system.The Movement further recognises that human security calls for people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented responses that strengthen the protection and empowerment of all people and all communities and that human security recognizes the inter-linkages between peace, development and human rights, and equally considers civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor