Human Security: Policy Principles

Issues related to human security are global in their occurrence but local in their impacts. Many are long-term in scope, are associated with significant uncertainty, may have large economic stakes, and require complex institutional management to mitigate the threats to human security.

Some of the key principles that will go a long way to enhance human security are related to transparency and accountability of the concerned public/private institutions and organizations. Along with these is the delivery of appropriate and timely information at the right level so that appropriate decisions regarding security can be taken.

Human security is concerned with more than just human safety and requires a number of principles and policies to be put in place. These should encourage and maintain inclusive dialogue with myriad stakeholders, particularly at the local level. Reinforcing local capacities for this purpose goes hand-in-hand with recognizing women as important stakeholders and peacemakers. Working with affected groups (whether by disasters, violence or other forms of upheaval) requires acting in timely and flexible ways and thinking long-term; and using creative, incentive-driven approaches for constructive engagement.

Incorporating local ownership of ideas and programmes, coordination of activities and actions, policy coherence, and good governance go a long way in developing cohesive and far-reaching policies and programmes for human security issues that have strong support from the affected groups. Specifically, support for peace building and reconstruction, promoting social coherence through civil society development and multicultural tolerance and building assets that provide security against disasters and economic shocks go a long way in reinforcing and enhancing security and well-being among the affected populations.

Seven key principles associated with human security outlined by Kayode Fayemi, of the Centre for Democracy & Development include:

  1. There is a need for conceptual clarity through a comprehensive approach to security sector reform in policy and development circles;
  2. There is a need to adopt a regional approach to security sector reform;
  3. Policy instruments must recognise the need to reconcile economic and social development and enhance the input of non-state actors - in policy formulation to enhance social capital rather than entrench the leverage of IFIs and donor agencies on States;
  4. Recognition of legitimate security needs of nation-states must be factored into the human security approach to poverty reduction;
  5. Policy instruments must problematise the link between globalisation and conflict, rather than assume that it is always going to be positive in the promotion of pro-poor growth;
  6. Policy instruments must locate the security agenda within the democracy and development framework and reflect the link between politics and economics, and between security and opportunities;
  7. There is the need for democratic control, not just civilian control of military and security establishments in democratising polities;
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