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DR. AMITAV ACHARYA UNESCO CHAIR IN TRANSNATIONAL CHALLENGES AND GOVERNANCE.

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Presentation on theme: "DR. AMITAV ACHARYA UNESCO CHAIR IN TRANSNATIONAL CHALLENGES AND GOVERNANCE."— Presentation transcript:

1 DR. AMITAV ACHARYA UNESCO CHAIR IN TRANSNATIONAL CHALLENGES AND GOVERNANCE

2 Human Security and Development Cooperation A Presentation to the Conference on “Enhancing Development Effectiveness through New Partnerships” National Research Institute of Higher Economics (HSE) Moscow, April 20, 2011

3 This Presentation is part of a Research Project of TRANSCEND TRANSCEND is “A Global Partnership in Research and Action on Transnational Challenges, Multilateralism, and Governance”. Website:

4 Outline What is human security: definition and contestations Findings from recent research Implications for development cooperation This presentation is based on the author’s address to the UN General Assembly “Informal Thematic Debate on Human Security”, held at the General Assesmbly in New York on 14 April All views in this presentation are the author’s own and does not represent the views of UNESCO or the UN.

5 UN General Assembly Debate 14 April 2011

6 General Assembly GA/11072 IN WORLD OF UNPREDICTABLE THREATS, EXPANDED CONCEPT OF SECURITY NEEDED TO ENCOMPASS BROAD RANGE OF CONDITIONS ENDANGERING SURVIVAL, DIGNITY, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD Deputy Secretary-General: UN Already Bringing Vision of ‘Human Security’ to Life; Panels Address: Approach to Defining Human Security; Application and Added Value Extracts: From natural disasters and entrenched poverty to outbreaks of conflict and the spread of disease, the dramatic events of recent weeks had underscored the vulnerability of developed and developing countries alike, she said. Since the 2005 World Summit, where leaders agreed that human security concerned both “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”, States had offered valuable insights and, notably, last year, the Assembly had adopted a resolution recognizing the need to continue discussions and agree on a definition. 14 April 2011

7 Today’s thematic debate followed those held in May 2008, May 2010, and July 2010, and aimed to contribute to discussions on a notion of human security, as outlined in resolution 64/291 (2010), which called for continued consideration of the topic. With that in mind, the first of two interactive panels — on “A possible approach for defining human security” — heard a lively debate on the idea that human security represented a point of convergence for the United Nations’ most important goals of peace, security and human development. The panel featured presentations by: Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and Founder of the Centre for Human Security; Frene Ginwala, former Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, and Member of the Commission on Human Security; Jennifer Leaning, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard School of Public Health; and Amitav Acharya, Professor of International Relations and Chair of the ASEAN Studies Center at American University. Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, moderated the discussion. (Full Text of Report at -

8 Definition of Human Security 1994 UNDP Human Development Report Six Elements: Economic security Food security Health security Environmental security Personal security Community security Political security

9 Three Elements of Human Security Freedom From Fear Freedom from Want Freedom to Live in Dignity

10 Rationale for the Study Debates over how to define human security, featuring elements like “freedom from fear”, “freedom from want”, and “freedom to live life with dignity”, have been ongoing for quite some time But it has been limited to the academic and policy- making/practitioner community. Common people, the true referent objects of human security, have not taken part in the debate. It is time for us to bring people into the debate over the definition of human security. This was the key purpose of a Study: Human Security: From Concept to Practice (New York: World Scientific, 2011), edited by Amitav Acharya, Subrat K. Singhdeo and M. Rajaretnam.

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13 Key Findings of the Study Poor people fear most. States and state policies are also a source on human insecurity. Political and socio-economic factors behind conflict are closely linked. People want dialogue.

14 1: Poor people fear most In Northeast India, we found that 76.1 per cent of the people who have an annual income of 1000 rupees or less felt they were “compelled to live in anxiety?”, compared to 60.4 per cent of the people who had an income level of 10,000 rupees or more. The clear implication is that poverty and human insecurity are inextricably linked.

15 2: States and state policies are also a source on human insecurity One cause of fear is operations by the military or security forces. For example, when asked whether they feared the militants or the military (security forces) more, 38.5 per cent of respondents in the North East India cases said they were equally afraid of both, a higher percentage than those who said they were more afraid of the militants and those who said they feared the security forces more. Another factor that came out clearly is bad governance, including government corruption. These findings go to the heart of a very important question about human security, which is security for the people, rather than security for states.

16 3: Political and socio-economic factors behind conflict are closely linked Conflict is caused by a variety of sources. The three most important sources of popular dissatisfaction contributing to conflict (hence sources of threats to human security) that came out in both North East India and Orissa are: corruption in government, unemployment, and poverty and lack of basic amenities.

17 4: People want dialogue More than two-thirds of the people – including people who sympathize with the insurgents- interviewed said they prefer dialogue to extreme solutions such as outright suppression or outright secession. They prefer governments to talk to insurgents, rather than strengthen military operations, or grant independence to them. Moreover, we people want the dialogue to be inclusive, involving the representatives of the larger civil society. This finding is significant for the UN’s efforts to find effective solutions to the problem of internal conflicts leading to state break-ups. The key demand of groups fighting governments may not be to break away, but to have their human security respected and fulfilled. Responding to internal conflicts with this understanding mind will go a long way in addressing the challenge of state failure today.

18 Acharya, “Human Security”, in The Globalization of World Politics (Oxford 2010) Underdevelopment Indirect impact: Economic disruption, disease, ecological damage Armed conflicts and violence Heightened vulnerability to civil war, terrorism, and ecological stress Protecting people in conflict zones Reduced economic disruption, disease outbreak, ecological damage Increased possibility of conflict resolution Improved prospects for human development Conflict and Underdevelopment: The Vicious Interaction Protection and Development: The Virtuous Interaction

19 Conflict and Underdevelopment: The Vicious Interaction Underdevelopment Indirect impact: Economic disruption, disease, ecological damage Armed conflicts and violence Heightened vulnerability to civil war, terrorism, and ecological stress

20 Protection and Development: The Virtuous Interaction Protecting people in conflict zones Reduced economic disruption, disease outbreak, ecological damage Increased possibility of conflict resolution Improved prospects for human development

21 Human Security Policy Tools Human Security Governance Index and Ranking: Human Security Mapping in Conflict Zones: Human Security Impact Assessment (HSIA):

22 Human Security Governance Index and Ranking Human Development Reports (UNDP): countries and states/provinces within countries, Our innovation-extend it to regions and districts (within states/provinces) to allow for more micro- studies and of the local context in which human security assessments and policies must be carried out. We include governance, not just threats, in our measurement, since bad governance is a fundamental cause of human insecurity and good governance is key to ensuring the realization of human security.

23 Human Security Mapping in Conflict Zones People who live in the constant shadow of conflict may have more specific and acute perceptions of human security challenges and needs than people who live in relative peace and order. Hence, a methodology for relating to people in conflict zones and analyzing their concerns and attitudes is vital. Our project presents such a template.

24 Human Security Impact Assessment (HSIA) Environmental impact assessments exist, but not adequate. Extend it and cover the entire gamut of human security concerns. Some projects intended for promoting development, such as large infrastructure projects undertaken by donor agencies, multilateral institutions like the World Bank, national/provincial governments, and corporations, no matter how well-intentioned, may end up aggravating insecurity and conflict in the area. HSIA enables governments, foreign donors, multilateral institutions and corporations, to better anticipate the impact of their projects not just on development and environment, but also on security as a whole, from a broader perspective. And by necessity, such assessments have to be localized and micro- analytic. Our project has provided the template and methodology for such a HSIA, which can be easily adapted to all parts of the world.

25 Conclusion Human security is an integral part of any development effort Development agencies and donors should be more aware of the human security implications of their programs They should make full use of the tools of human security policy such as the Human Security Governance Index, Human Security Mapping and Human Security Impact Assessment to make their programs more effective and less disruptive.


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