Human Security Compilation Video

GPPAC publication on Human Security

GPPAC publication, "Empowerment and Protection: Stories of Human Security" was launched at an event on October 8th at the Dutch Permanent Mission to the UN, co-hosted with the UN Human Security Unit in New York, featuring presentations by different contributors to the publication. 

Download the publication here

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Abuja Debate on Ebola's threat to Human Security

All blog posts by miekteunissen

The Ebola health crisis is uncovering our lack of Human Security. At the same time, it is worsening the situation by the threat it poses. In Abuja, Nigeria, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) was invited to moderate a debate on the effect Ebola is having on the human security situation. Watch the debate in full below.

The debate highlights the many different ways Ebola threatens people’s safety, dignity and well-being. Ebola shows us how unprepared we were for such a health crisis. More than that, it shows we weren’t prepared for a health emergency that affects humanitarian, social, economic, political and security aspects. When it comes to security, we are often much better prepared to respond to militaristic threats. When it comes to Ebola, the threat is to public health. It is not one contained by borders, and people can’t be protected from it simply by military forces.

One question that came up was Ebola’s potential as a threat to the peace. Michael T. Harvey, of USAID, responded that conflict is frequently the result of a disconnect between government and population. The Ebola outbreak exposes the inadequacies of all our health facilities, and as such the ways in which governments are failing their people. In many places people are reluctant to enter a hospital, if there are facilities at all, because they lack food, water and also the dignity of psychological support. Civic unrest can be the result of such an inadequate government response. This has been seen, for example where crowds “liberated” people from hospitals, or where people protested imposed quarantine of neighbourhoods.

Ebola is affecting travel, tourism, and trade; the price of cocoa is already rising. The economic impact of the Ebola crisis will reverberate for a long time.

Then there is the question of people’s dignity and respect for human rights: we have shown ourselves to be unprepared to answer questions about how to deal with that. How can we go about segregating people without stigmatising them, discriminating against them, exposing them to more risk? How can we stop Ebola from spreading without quarantining whole, often poor, areas? Without closing our borders? How will our response affect freedom of movement? How do we track people who have been in contact with a possible carrier of Ebola, while respecting their privacy?

It should be absolutely clear these are not problems specific only to West Africa. Ebola crosses borders, and countries outside West Africa are facing the exact same questions of fear, indignity and resources.

Ebola shows us how a complex emergency such as this requires a holistic approach. It requires that we listen to people to assess their needs. It requires that we address all issues resulting from the health crisis: people’s health, people’s dignity, people’s fears, people’s needs. In short, a Human Security approach.

The Abuja Debate was organised by the Freidrich Ebert Stiftung and moderated by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding. The institutions represented included ECOWAS, USAid, the International community and civil society.

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New Human Security publication to be launched by GPPAC

All blog posts by m.hellema

On October 8, 2014 a new publication, Empowerment and Protection: Stories of Human Security edited by Kristen Wall, Jenny Aulin and Gabriella Vogelaar, will be launched by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). This publication shares and analyses people’s sense of threats and safety through the lens of human security. Spanning six regions of the world, it presents the accounts of people living in Afghanistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Mexico, and the Philippines. As a people-centred approach to understanding threats to people’s livelihoods, safety and dignity, human security is useful as both an analytical tool and an operational approach for addressing socio-political problems.

The publication will be launched at an event at the Dutch Permanent Mission to the UN co-hosted with the UN Human Security Unit in New York and will feature presentations by the different contributors to the publication. Read more about who they are here.

The online version of the book will be made available soon, for further information, please contact us at

Executive summary

Part 1 of the publication presents and analyses people’s reflections on threats in Afghanistan, Ukraine and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with an emphasis on the state as a provider of security and the ways that individuals and society as a whole cope with threats.

Part 2 demonstrates ways that human security is operationalised through citizen action and multi-stakeholder dialogues in Mexico, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.

In Part 3 describes the approach, considerations and challenges in producing this information.

Part 4 presents a conclusion on cross-cutting themes as well as implications for human security and the field of conflict prevention.

The chapters are based on interviews with community members, leaders and activists in individual and group settings. Their words reveal the potential power of the state is a security provider through the rule of law, but also the ways the state can undermine human security through corruption, abuse of human rights, and failure to provide necessary goods and services. The stories also suggest the potential of civil society organisations to transform the citizen-state relationship and facilitate human security.

Security is not only defined by the state’s protection capabilities and actions, but also by the perspectives of people from diverse social groups who have different interests. The citizen-state relationship emerges as a primary tool and indicator of human security, where context-specific protection and empowerment strategies go hand in hand.

Based on these reflections, this publication recommends the human security approach as a valuable entry point for dealing with the prevention of violent conflict. Specifically, this publication advocates that the UN, governments, and civil society organisations bridge the gaps that separate their respective work, by establishing a common human security learning and practice platform that will facilitate analysis of and planning for human security at the local, national and regional levels. These groups should invest in methodologies that are people-centred, context-specific, and gender-sensitive to be consistent with human security principles.

After analysing threats through the lens of human security, the UN, donors, governments and civil society should develop human security interventions that take into account existing capacity and coping strategies within communities. This requires that governments and civil society invest in building local and national capacities for multi-stakeholder dialogues and citizen-state partnerships. Finally, to breathe life into the human security concept where it most matters, the UN and civil society should support and implement local and national awareness campaigns that promote the articulation of human security needs and the possibilities of protection and empowerment strategies. The perspectives presented here demonstrate the power of the human security approach as both an analytical tool and as a method of engagement to promote individual safety and dignity.

The different contributors and editors of the publication hope this work provides insight into the ways that civil society, governments, and international bodies can work together towards addressing complex societal problems together. It encourages a shift in the human security debate towards the practical implementation of strategies that elicit local and multi-faceted understandings of what it means to feel – and be – secure.

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The UN Human Security Unit newsletter

All blog posts by publicoutreach

The United Nations Human Security Unit (HSU) has published the eleventh issue of the newsletter "Human Security at the United Nations"

This issue focuses on the added value of applying the human security approach to the post-2015 development agenda and will highlight work by Member States and civil society to promote the inclusion of the human security approach in the international development agenda beyond 2015. A project funded by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security in Tajikistan that takes a human security approach to promote inclusive and sustainable development for remote rural communities is also highlighted. In addition, you will also find information on the latest news on human security activities in the United Nations and beyond. 

You can read the newsletter through the UN HSU website here (pdf)

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Introducing our new tools to help you spread the message of Human Security

All blog posts by publicoutreach

Over the past few weeks we have been working on some tools to help you communicate on Human Security. Human Security is a complex issue, and it isn't always easy to get people excited about something so difficult to explain. We will be introducing them in the coming days, so you can use them both on and off-line.


The first one is an infographic (or information graphic), which is a visual representation of information or knowledge, that allows for an easier understanding of complex content. In recent years, infographics have become a popular tool on the internet, to spread information about all sorts of topics.

The infographic we made is a simple, first introduction to what Human Security is all about. It can be used on your website or facebook page, where it could inform people or kick-start discussion.

We have made the same infographic into a printable version, and a PowerPoint presentation that can easily be projected onto a large screen. These two options mean it can easily be used off line, for example if you are organising an event. For instance, if you are asking people to contribute their picture to our photo campaign at an event, it might be nice to present some information for people to learn a little bit about Human Security. Or you could use the print out version at a round table event, for people who don't know much about the topic yet.

And finally, we have a compilation video of testimonies from around the world, a compilation of the many videos found under the video heading on this website. In it, people tell us the different ways people's well-being can be threatened where they live, what they need to be secure and what needs to change for them to be secure. For the International Day of Peace, you could opt to screen this video at your event!

You can download all these options in from the links in the left hand margin of this page.

We hope you like it, and that you will find it useful for communicating about Human Security. If you are using it in some way, please do let us know. We would love to hear in what ways you are using these tools!

Get in touch for any questions, or if you are having trouble downloading.

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The Outcome Document of the Sustainable Development Goals

All blog posts by miekteunissen

Background: what are the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals?

As a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN, with the support of civil society, has been working on suggested language and targets for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals through a format called an Open Working Group. The Open Working Group consists of Member State representatives and has been convening since January 2013 to discuss the new development agenda. The final version of the Goals are expected to be launched at the end of 2015 and are expected to impact the work of not just the UN and Governments, but also of NGOs in all countries as they touch on all aspects of life.

Of course, I would have liked to have seen Human Security mentioned in the new Goals. I believe that for development to really work, we need to put people’s basic needs and safety first. However, the word ‘security’ can sometimes be problematic for states. It traditionally implies state security, which touches on the sovereignty of states. Also, within the UN system most ‘security’ issues fall under the scope of the Security Council, which brings with it a whole other level of politics. For this reason, ‘security’ is a difficult word to get into such a document. But even without using the words ‘Human Security’, the Goals can include lots of ideas inspired by a Human Security approach development by including peace and stability

The Outcome Document

In July 2014, the Working Group released their Outcome Document – based on consultations that took place throughout 2013 and 2014 – outlining the Sustainable Development Goals and targets they propose as the baseline for negotiations. You can read the Outcome Document here. This document will be discussed at the UN General Assembly’s General Debate in September 2015 and lead to a report by the UN’s Secretary General in November 2015. The report will form the baseline for further international negotiations throughout 2015. The UN is planning to coordinate national consultation processes to bring in the voices of civil society and other non-state actors in many regions. Negotiations are expected to end in the fall of 2015 and then we will start to use the new development framework from 2016.

So what does the Outcome Document have to say? I will take a very quick look at the things I like about it, and also the things I think could be improved in relation to peace and security.

Some thoughts on the Outcome Document

Right in the introduction, at point 4, they say: ‘People are at the centre of sustainable development’. Although this doesn’t refer to putting people’s needs and safety first, it’s about listening to what people need in their lives—and that is something we can all agree is important!

Taking the Human Security approach, I’ll take a very brief look at how the document does on the Three Pillars of Human Security: Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Indignity.

Freedom from Want is very well represented; with mentions for reducing poverty (goal 1) and improving food security (goal 2) and the way we deal with our resources (such as goal 6 and 7).

Freedom from Indignity is always more difficult to define, but Human Rights I see represented in the education goal (goal 4) and the goal for equality and empowering women (goal 5).

Freedom from Fear, the one perhaps most directly asking for greater safety, is reflected in several goals. To begin with, we can see a part of the fourth goal on education as working towards Freedom from Fear: ‘promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence’. This goal is meant to work on peace education, thereby tackling conflict at the root. I do think it’s a shame it isn’t made a little bit more concrete, for example by mentioning carrying out these ideas in national curricula.

Goal 16 is where we see the clearest mention of peace, which is directly related to a life free from fear:

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

This goal was and continues to be debated quite a bit. Some countries worry about it opening the door for counter-terrorism activities to be funded under Overseas Development Assistance, while others oppose it altogether claiming it touches on internal issues too much. While some of these concerns are legitimate, at the same time it could be argued that without supporting peaceful societies the other development goals are unlikely to succeed. This goal, which focusses entirely on peace, is in my view truly essential to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The wording on the peace goal could, however, be improved. ‘Promoting peace’ isn’t very concrete and doesn’t present a specific outcome to work towards. How will we know when we have successfully ‘promoted peace’?

Overall, I think we can be very proud of the Outcome Document. It could certainly function as a guiding document for a holistic approach to development, which is what we want to achieve by putting Human Security First. Now we must make sure that the peace goal, goal 16, makes it into the final document of Sustainable Development Goals! We’ll keep you up to date as the process continues, here at the Human Security First blog.

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UN Secretary-General publishes report on Human Security

All blog posts by simones

In December 2013, the UN Secretary-General released a report highlighting the significance of human security as a universal framework to respond to a wide range of challenges and opportunities in the twenty-first century. The report is following the General Assembly resolution 66/290, entitled “Follow-up to paragraph 143 on human security of the 2005 World Summit Outcome”, where the General Assembly committed to assisting states in identifying and addressing widespread challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people – in other words, human security. This report therefore gathers human security experiences at the national, regional and international levels, provides a common understanding of human security and offers a set of recommendations for Member States to take into consideration.

The report calls for a people-centered, comprehensive and prevention-oriented response to national challenges that is inclusive of people, empowers them, and recognizes the interlinkages between peace, development and human rights. Examples are provided where human security has been included in policy notes, debates and discussions at the national, regional and international levels and how human security can be an effective tool for project design, strategic planning and policymaking in a range of thematic and institutional settings. This stresses the vast implications and advantages of the human security approach to improving people’s lives.

The report’s recommendations include incorporating human security as a guiding principle in the post-2015 development goals, which is consistent with one of the objectives of the Human Security First campaign. The link between peace and development was reiterated several times in the report, particularly in post-conflict settings. The Secretary-General argues that a human security approach can help to build trust and confidence in the aftermath of conflicts where local partners are able to play a crucial role in addressing root causes of conflict, and that this is key to the sustainability of development projects. For example, paragraph 48, recognizes that;

“In the aftermath of conflicts, when peace is often very fragile and the needs of people are far greater than the capacities available, a peacebuilding architecture that cultivates public participation, strengthens local ownership and governance and minimizes the space in which communities may relapse into conflict is crucial to break the cycle of violence and transition to sustainable peace and development.”

Towards the end of the report, the Secretary-General also recognized key partners currently working on human security and mentioned GPPAC and its Human Security First Campaign. The report comments how “the campaign is a platform for gathering local perspectives on the added value of human security and its importance to the post-2015 development agenda”. By acknowledging the importance of human security to the processes of peacebuilding and development, the vision of the campaign is unmistakably expressed in the report, encouraging states to implement human security at their national levels as well as having it be a guiding principle in the international negotiation process for the post-2015 development agenda. 

Agree with the report? Support our campaign through our Facebook and Twitter account, and help us make human security a reality for people around the world.

Read the report here:

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Let 2014 be the year when peace & security became part of the post-2015 development agenda!

All blog posts by simones

With 2014 finally having arrived and the deadline steadily approaching, it is time to face the reality of the post-2015 development agenda. Peace and security issues are not dealt with in the current Millennium Development goals (MDGs). As a student of Conflict Studies and Human Rights, I believe strongly that this exemplifies a large flaw and gap in these worldwide ambitions. Without addressing conflicts and the issues related to re-developing conflict regions, basic development schemes are prone to failure.

Having worked in Sri Lanka and Nepal and travelled through South East Asia, I have witnessed the implications of warfare on countries, and how this detrimentally affects any successful completion of a development programme. People are unable to express themselves without fear for their lives. This limits the ability for people to engage freely in activities and events concerning their livelihoods. It is safe to say that without peace, there is little chance that people’s livelihoods can improve, poverty can be eradicated, education can be spread and food security can be guaranteed.

The need for including the issues of peace and security in the MDGs is evident. Let us now hope that the internationally community sees the urgency of this inclusion and successfully advocates for this in New York in the coming year. By incorporating such a goal, more emphasis can be placed on conflict resolution in order for developmental practices to take place, thus in the long run positively benefitting the developing world. 

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My thoughts on the Human Security Campaign...

All blog posts by simones

The Human Security First Campaign by IKV Pax Christi and the Global Partnership for the Protection of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is vital to me as it advocates for the inclusion of human security for achieving sustainable peace for development in the post-2015 development agenda. This is why I joined the Human Security First campaign as an intern at GPPAC four weeks ago and decided to present my view on this campaign and the notion human security. So what is this campaign about, and can we as individuals influence this agenda?

The current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have failed to incorporate several essential peace-building and conflict prevention elements which are necessary for achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty in the future. Countries suffering from decades of conflict and violence are unable to take the necessary steps for the eradication of poverty when significant groups in the population are continuously at threat of extreme violence. For many countries, ending conflict and ensuring peace is first and foremost a criterion for being able to proceed with providing for human security and initiating development programmes, therefore it is crucial that this element is incorporated in the post-2015 agenda.

Human security incorporates the vast activities related to protecting citizens from violence and fear in order to improve livelihoods and stimulate sustainable (re)development measures. An element of human security involves the promotion of peace and conflict prevention awareness. When reaching a peaceful environment, the other aspects of human security can be achieved. Human security is easier to ensure through early prevention than through intervention. The concept has been stated by many officials in the field as the best concept ever developed but never implemented.

Human security is about all individuals at all times, and the campaign highlights this element through various initiatives. From peace builders to peacekeepers, development practitioners to conflict mediators, churches to schools, academia to media, individuals to local communities, you and me; each can influence and ensure that human security is respected worldwide. The Human Security First campaign attempts to reach significant impact in the post-2015 development agenda by incorporating voices of the local society through a photo petition, various international stories of human security and online webinars of experts in the field. In this sense the campaign becomes an interaction between the civil society and experts in the field. Through this approach, the campaign distinguishes itself from other initiatives.

This campaign manages to creatively promote the dialogue for including human security as a requirement for conflict prevention and sustainable development in the post-2015 agenda. By incorporating human security in the various goals which are to be developed by the UN, these can then be used throughout developmental processes and increase chances of successfully achieving these goals can be increased. With various lobbying activities, and allowing the public to express their support for the campaign, it has come to my attention that this campaign CAN influence the discussions in New York and manage to bring a change in the agenda. Therefore I express my support for this campaign and hope that many will follow in my footsteps to instigate CHANGE in the post-2015 development agenda. 

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Document Library

Post-2015 Development Agenda

·  The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development
  Agenda (in English), read here

· The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development
  Agenda (other languages), read here

· UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda – Realizing the
  Future We Want for All, read here

. Advancing Regional Recommendations on the Post-2015 Agenda: A Consultation with
  Civil Society, read here

. Policy Brief: Peacebuilding, Statebuilding and Resilience-Linking Lessons from the New
  Deal to the Post-2015 debates, read here


Human Security

· The Human Security Approach in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding - A Civil
  Society Position Paper (April 2013) by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of
  Armed Conflict (GPPAC), the Civil Society Network for Human Security and IKV
   Pax Christi, read here

· Defining Human Security by 3P Security, read here

· The Human Security framework and National Human Development reports, read here.

· Can Human Security Drive Global Governance? Read here.

· Human  Security Approach, read here.

· Human Security in Theory and Practice, read here.


Relevant Campaigns

· – what comes after the MDGs? 

· Beyond 2015 – campaigning for a global development framework after the MDGs.

Videos on Human Security:

      - What is Human Security? (from 3P Human Security) Watch here 
      - The launch of a joint project with WANEP, the Human Security Collective and
        GPPAC on human security in Bamako, Mali. Watch here

Documents and Resources

Resources and Documents

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