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Human Security is an idea that was first articulated in the 1994 Human Development Report. It places individuals and their needs at the centre of policy-making and provides a philosophical basis for identifying threats to people’s security, including natural disasters, poverty, disease, inequality, and violence, and searching for responses to these threats. Japan is one of the founders of the concept and no other country has made larger combined intellectual, financial, and operational contributions to the idea. The UN Day 2009 symposium at UNU will examine Human Security 15 years after its emergence, elaborate how the concept has evolved and explore the forthcoming challenges.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Dr. Izumi Nakamitsu, director of the Policy, Evaluation and Training Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations.

Five distinguished panellists will then address a range of questions: Where does the concept of Human Security stand 15 years after its emergence? What has gone right — and wrong? What examples best illustrate how focusing on individuals rather than states has achieved effective implementation of operational UN mandates, strengthening peace, development and sustainability? What are the current challenges to Human Security? Are they the same as 15 years ago? Which types of threats have been under-estimated or should be given higher priority? What can we anticipate in the next 15 years, and will the concept of Human Security still be relevant in 2025?

The symposium will not only elaborate the concept of Human Security academically, but will look at functional and operational issues as well. It will provide a forum to discuss ideas for the forthcoming UN Secretary-General’s Report on Human Security in 2010, a platform to disseminate the latest knowledge on the concept, and a means to encourage public engagement with UN activities.


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

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