The Chief of the Human Security Unit: "The added value of Human Security in responding to global and local challenges"

For many people, today’s world is an insecure place, full of threats on many fronts. Natural disasters, violent conflicts, persistent poverty, epidemics and economic downturns impose hardships and undercut prospects for peace and stability as well as sustainable development.

Ms. Mehrnaz Mostafavi is the Chief of the Human Security Unit (HSU) at the United Nations holds this lecture.


Complex crises

Such crises are complex, entailing multiple forms of human insecurity. When they overlap, they can grow exponentially, spilling into all aspects of people’s lives, destroying entire communities and crossing national borders.

Based on lessons learned through more than 200 projects in 90 countries, funded by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS), the human security approach has fostered people-centred and interlinked policies and programmes that have addressed root causes, initiated inclusive responses, and built lasting resilience to a variety of situations world-wide. 

The Human Security approach

The human security approach offers a comprehensive analytical framework that provides the rationale for integrated approaches, and advances integrated planning and programme implementation.  Human security is achieved through protection and empowerment strategies built on four principles: people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented.

Human security, based on its core vision to achieve freedom from fear, want and indignity, can help address challenges stemming from and resulting in persistent conflicts, marginalization and abject poverty. It emphasises the triangular relationship between peace and security, development and human rights. 

The added value of the human security approach has been its emphasis on promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships that combine institutional policies with community-based empowerment activities, strengthening social harmony, improving resilience, preventing crises and promoting a life of dignity for all. 

UN Human Security Unit

The Human Security Unit is the United Nations champion of human security. Established in 2004, the Unit is charged with raising awareness and fostering global action so that through human security initiatives, all people can eventually live free from fear, want and indignity.

The Human Security Unit manages the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). Since its establishment in 1999, the UNTFHS has supported over 220 programmes in more than 90 countries, including regional initiatives.

The Human Security Unit has propelled growing recognition of the value of human security and greatly enhanced its application around the world. A series of practical tools and training modules have backed increasingly sophisticated and high-impact initiatives in complex situations where human security has proven value—among them, post-conflict peacebuilding, climate change threats to vulnerable communities, the multiple insecurities faced by the urban poor, human trafficking and irregular migration.

The Human Security Unit stands behind the mainstreaming of human security across the United Nations, where diverse bodies increasingly use the approach as an analytical lens to assess and act on highly interrelated threats faced by people across and within countries.

The Human Security Unit draws its strategic direction from the Office of the UN Secretary-General. It also benefits from guidance from the Advisory Board on Human Security, an independent body of distinguished international experts known for their breadth of knowledge and deep commitment to human security.

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Published Nov. 23, 2015 11:31 AM