Human Security

The Promoting Human Security in the Policy Menu project seeks to re-draw policy options to explicitly consider human security as an essential component of conflict prevention and mediation in vulnerable states. In the process, it will promote dialogue and collaboration between the traditional “hard” security field and the “softer” participants who are essential to the success of traditionally defined military security approaches. It will broaden the definition of security and promote a re-allocation of security resources to non-traditional yet crucial issue areas and actors, ideally resulting in more effective policy decisions and strategies. In particular, it will identify and increase understanding of under-recognized human security aspects of policy strategies for states at risk, with a particular emphasis on the engagement of civil society actors; the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and resource shortages on migration and ethnic conflict; and the linkage between development and violence.
Traditional security discourse focuses heavily on the “hard” aspects of security in post-conflict and vulnerable states. Yet in states at risk –those that are vulnerable to imminent collapse and those emerging from recent conflict, “hard” security approaches cannot succeed without significant concurrent efforts in the “softer” area of human security. Broadly defined, human security includes freedom from want and fear and encompasses priorities such as economic development, social justice, rule of law, democratic capacity, environmental protection, and disarmament.

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