Human Development Report

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Human security is an emerging paradigm for understanding global vulnerabilities whose proponents challenge the traditional notion of national security through military security by arguing that the proper referent for security should be at the human rather than national level. Human security reveals a people-centred and multi-disciplinary understanding of security involves a number of research fields, including development studies, international relations, strategic studies, and human rights[clarification needed]. The United Nations Development Programme’s 1994 Human Development Report is considered a milestone publication in the field of human security, with its argument that ensuring “freedom from want” and “freedom from fear” for all persons is the best path to tackle the problem of global insecurity.

Critics of the concept argue that its vagueness undermines its effectiveness, that it has become little more than a vehicle for activists wishing to promote certain causes, and that it does not help the research community understand what security means or help decision makers to formulate good policies. Alternatively, other scholars have argued that the concept of human security should be broadened to encompass military security: ‘In other words, if this thing called ‘human security’ has the concept of ‘the human’ embedded at the heart of it, then let us address the question of the human condition directly. Thus understood, human security would no longer be the vague amorphous add-on to harder edged areas of security such as military security or state security.’

In order for human security to challenge global inequalities, there has to be cooperation between a country’s foreign policy and its approach to global health. However, the interest of the state has continued to overshadow the interest of the people. For instance, Canada’s foreign policy, “three Ds”, has been criticized for emphasizing defense more than development.

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