By Jennifer Leaning, Sam Arie and Elizabeth Stites. Praxis: the Fletcher Journal of International Development 2004; 19: 5-30.
HUMAN SECURITY emerged in the 1990s as a conceptual response to two changing dimensions of the international order, referred to as globalization and the end of the Cold War. These political and economic transformations have increased the risk of internal conflict and shifted the locus of ‘insecurity’ from the nation state and its allies to the individual and community. This shift, defined and explicated in the 1994 UN Human Development Report, has led to the recognition that to protect and promote human development in the future, donors will first have to address the issue of human security– the question of security in people’s daily lives.
Interest in further explicating the meaning and relevance of the concept of human security has led to the analysis offered in this paper, whereby it is suggested that human security be seen as centered on the fulfillment of basic, psychosocial needs (home, community and sense of the future) and as reliant on access to minimum survival supports. In developing this working definition of human security, with the intent of later testing the applications suggested here with more rigorous and systematic study, it is believed that the insights gained could strengthen and focus international response to crisis and transition, with particular reference to Africa.