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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.