C. Human security

In UNDP’s Human Development Report of 1994, human security is defined as protection from both physical force (freedom from fear) and hardship and deprivation (freedom from want). With this definition, the focus of security policy is the individual rather than the state, and the concept of security is expanded by a development component.

In the face of complex geopolitical challenges extending beyond boundaries, states and international organisations have recognised that the threat to human security – in contrast to threats to state security – is a new frame of reference for security policy. In the framework of the human security approach and against the backdrop of fragile or failing states with weakened monopolies on force, security policy concepts need to be orientated towards the survival, security and development of individual human beings. Human security equally applies to threats such as poverty and environmental disasters.

UNDP, the EU and many states have tried to promote a higher profile for development issues on the global security policy agenda as well as to direct more resources towards development projects. Even though basic ideas on human security have entered security policy debates, the concept remains disputed. Critics doubt its practicality and fear the ‘securitisation’ of international politics, as everything could be declared a threat with reference to human security. Currently, two schools of thought exist. One works with a narrower, pragmatic definition (freedom from fear) while the
other represents a broader, holistic definition (freedom from fear and freedom from want).

If applied in international cooperation, human security requires an integrated approach to action that covers multiple sectors. It must be aimed at the protection, security and empowerment of those affected by crisis or conflict. UNDP names seven political fields of application: physical, political, local or communal, health, ecological, economic and nutritional security. As human security is complementary to other existing security concepts, an outright paradigm shift has not taken place. The conceptual vagueness makes political adaptation difficult. Various governments (particularly Canada, Norway and Japan) have included the agenda of human security in their foreign, security and development policies.

In 2004, an advisory group of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy prepared the Barcelona Report (A Human Security Doctrine for Europe). In this report, he called for commitment to both civilian and military means to address human security. In the subsequent Madrid Report (2007), the relevance of human security for European missions was further emphasized, and the following principles were formulated: the primacy of human rights, the legitimacy of political authority, multilateralism, a bottom-up approach, an integrated regional focus as well as a transparent strategy of international actors. Implementation of these principles has turned out to be difficult.